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Appeal to newly elected women MPs

APPEAL

To the political parties participating in the 2012 elections of the National Assembly of RA, to the party leaders and the women included in the proportional representation lists.

 

We,

member NGOs of the Civil Society Cooperation Network,

appeal to the:

“Prosperous Armenia” party,

where women constitute 21.8% of the  electoral list;

“Heritage” party,

where women constitute 24.6% of the electoral list;

“Armenian National Congress” alliance,

where women constitute 20.3% of the electoral list;

Armenian Revolutionary Federation” party,

where women constitute 31.7% of the electoral list;

“Democratic Party of Armenia”,

where women constitute 24.4% of the electoral list;

“Communist Party of Armenia”,

where women constitute 21.1% of the electoral list;

“Republican Party of Armenia”,

where women constitute 21.3% of the electoral list;

“United Armenians” party,

where women constitute 37.9% of the electoral list; and

“Rule of Law” party,

where women constitute 20.2% of the electoral list.

We wish success to all the parties in a fair election race and hope that the women included in the electoral lists will be able to make their contribution in the honest battle for electoral votes.

 

At the same time we express hope, that the winning parties proceeding to the parliament will maintain the representation of women within their factions as stipulated in the electoral lists and defined by the Electoral Code of RA, thus ensuring no less than a 20% representation of women in the National Assembly.

 

The demand for increased representation of women in the National Assembly is not an end in itself.

 

  • World experience of parliamentarism shows that the adoption of various social laws is confronted by additional difficulties if women constitute less than 10% in the country’s legislative bodies.

 

  • Influencing the decision-making culture, changing the rules of the political game and making politics more humane becomes possible when women constitute no less than 25-30% of the parliament.
  • Analyses by the Inter-Parliamentary Union state that the greater the number of women in parliaments, the greater the emphasis on Children’s Rights issues.
  • In addition, all those mechanisms that are created to protect women’s rights have a positive impact on the situation of children.

 

According to recent data by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the average representation of women in unicameral parliaments is 19.7%.

One in  five members of parliament is a woman.

 

The highest index of women’s representation in parliaments is in the Northern European countries: 42%. In the OSCE countries the average index is 22.6%. The lowest percentage of women’s participation in parliaments is in the Arab countries: 11.3%.

 

Of the 59 countries that held elections in 2011 only 17 had quotas. In the latter countries women gained 27% of the parliamentary seats while in countries not applying quotas, that number was 16%.

 

Although, during the previous elections of the National Assembly of RA, the Electoral Code had stipulated a 15% quota on the minimum representation of women in proportional lists, and in party lists women constituted an average of 22.6%, however in consequence:

 

Representation of women in the 4th convocation of the

National Assembly of RA was a mere 8.3%.

 

And this in the case when 85.5% of participants in a 2008 national sociological survey deemed that women in the National Assembly should be not less than 30-50%. Sociological research carried out in 2010 observed a positive trend on this issue in public opinion.

 

According to the current quota in Armenia, which by the way was adopted as a result of cooperation between women’s rights NGOs and political parties, women’s representation in the proportional electoral lists should not be less than 20%; or as formulated in the Electoral Code “the number of representatives of each gender should not exceed 80%.”

 

The public has the right to expect that due to this quota women’s representation in the National Assembly should at least double.

 

This year, while a 20% gender quota is stipulated in the Electoral Code, the average of women in party lists presented to the Central Electoral Commission is almost the same 22.8%. Taking into account the undesirable practice of a number of female politicians during previous elections, when they waived their mandates giving different excuses, we are appealing to women included in the 2012 proportional representation lists:

 

Honourable female politicians,

do not give up your mandates as voters have faith in you, by voting in your favour.

 

We appeal to party leaders and members:

 

In order to fulfill the requirement of the law be guided by the principle of justice in gender equality, thus allowing the next woman on the electoral list to replace the woman who has waived her mandate.

 

 It is also unacceptable for the public when the waiving of mandates is due to party persuasion or request. For this reason we are appealing to the leadership of the parties:

 

Do not suggest to women included in the party’s pre-electoral lists that they give up their mandates, because the public wants to see the politicians they actually voted for in the National Assembly.

 

Let us support each other in establishing a courteous society and developing a modern system of political governance in Armenia.

 We are appealing to voters and organizations of RA.

Join us by signing this petition.

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