Turkey’s main opposition CHP proposes 33 percent gender quota in all elections

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has proposed imposing a 33 percent gender quota in all elections in Turkey, in a bid to increase women’s representation.

In the legislative proposal submitted on Dec. 6 to the Parliament Speaker’s Office by CHP Group Deputy Chairs Engin Altay, Özgür Özel and Engin Özkoç, the CHP proposed a 33 percent gender quota for lawmakers, as well as members of municipal and provincial assemblies.

The party said amendments are necessary in the Election Law in order to reserve at least one third of spots in candidate lists for women.

If approved, the change would also encompass village heads and local administrations.

In the justification of the proposal, the CHP stated that the ratio of female MPs in Turkey lags “even behind Arab countries.”

“According to an Oct. 1 dated list prepared by Inter-Parliamentary Union, of which the parliaments of 178 countries are members, Turkey ranks 133rd among 189 countries in terms of the representation of women in parliament. Turkey is behind Arab countries that have a ratio of 18.1 percent with 14.9 percent,” the proposal read.

It added that Turkey ranks 168th in the list for the number of female ministers.

“When the average of all countries in the world is taken into account, the average representation ratio of women in parliaments is 23.4 percent,” it also read.

Saying that “current conditions” prevent women from gaining more representation, the CHP stressed that “positive discrimination” is necessary.

“Current conditions prevent women from getting more representation in national and local assemblies. Positive discrimination on this issue would ensure women joining political life more and having more of a say in the country’s governance,” it added.

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