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Six of the PACE delegations have violated the requirement of gender proportionality

During the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which began in Strasbourg on January 27th, the composition of nine delegations was challenged on various grounds, with six being justification for gender inequality.


According to the rules of the Assembly, women in delegations must be represented in the same proportion as in national parliaments. The mandates of delegates from Switzerland, Sweden, Portugal, Poland, Macedonia, San Marino were not approved on this basis; the matter was referred to the Rules of Procedure and Equality and Non-Discrimination Committees. Delegates may be in the auditorium but may not vote on matters pertaining to them.


It is noteworthy that Sweden is on the black list despite constantly leading positions by gender equality indicators. The problem is that 46% of the MPs are women, and the proportion in the delegation is slightly violated, 5 of the 12 members are women or 41.6%.


During the PACE winter session, a new President of the Assembly was elected. The only candidate was Rick Dems from Belgium. It should be recalled that he replaced Lillian Maury Paske in that position. Most recently elected PACE President was in 2018 on June 25. In total, only four out of 33 PACE presidents were women.


Newly elected Rick Dems is PACE’s 33rd president and third from Belgium. In his opening remarks, the newly elected President called on the Assembly to focus on values, not national interests. “Interests divide and values unite,” he said.


The newly elected President has outlined the PACE priorities for the coming years of his presidency: human rights, the environment, increasing the efficiency of the work of the Assembly structures, and so on.


“One of the priorities will be gender equality and the Istanbul Convention,” he said.


He highlighted the results of the Assembly’s policy to influence the daily lives of 830 million citizens. Rick Dems has expressed a desire to visit all 47 PACE member states, to present the work of the Assembly in the national parliaments more widely.


On the first day of the PACE session, Vice Presidents were also elected. The seats reserved for Russia and Belgium are still vacant. Among the 18 Vice-Presidents there are six women – representatives of Liechtenstein, Latvia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and France. Vice-presidents automatically become members of the Bureau of the Assembly.


The 20 Vice-Presidents are elected each year at the beginning of the session and remain in office until the opening of the next session. However, if one of the Vice-Presidents’ delegation changes during the session, he or she shall not continue in office.


It should be noted that the session will continue until January 31st.

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