14 January 2013

Egypt: Party Pushes for Better Female Representation in Parliament

An Egyptian political party "Misr" announced on Monday that it holds on to its initial stance of women's status in the electoral list for the proposed amendments in the elections law.

The party's official spokesman, Walid Abdel Moneim, called on all parties to adhere to Article 3 of the proposed amendments to the elections law which establish affirmative action for women.

Abdel Moneim said that the party may withdraw from the national dialogue if the legislative committee of the Shura Council (upper house of the parliament) refuses Article 3 which stipulates the affirmative action, reported the Middle East News Agency.

"We unanimously approved this article in the national dialogue, including representatives of the religious parties," Abdel Moneim said in a statement.

He added that despite the religious parties' approval of the article in the national dialogue; they rejected it in the Shura Council discussions, considering it as a negative indicator.

"What is the point of the national dialogue if no one commits to what we have agreed upon," he asked.

The national dialogue had presented a draft bill to the Shura Council in order to legislate it.

Egypt's National Council for Women had already declared its rejection of the new elections law on grounds that it does not reflect a serious intention for better female representation in parliament, adding that it does not match the aspirations of post-revolution Egypt.

Meanwhile, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) noted that "there were no women in the constitutional drafting committee, a government reshuffle reduced the number of women ministers from 3 to 2 and a quota for women's representation in parliament was abolished."

"Following the 2011 elections, the proportion of women in the lower house diminished from 12% to 2%," The FIDH added in a report on women of the Arab Spring.

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