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New Lebanese cabinet: One woman minister and a women affairs portfolio

19-12-2016

Notwithstanding the various demands by civil and women organisations in Lebanon demanding the participation of women in political life with a minimum 30% quota, and despite intensive visits to political parties to this end, the birth of the government yesterday came contrary to all expectations. One woman, Inaya Izzidine, member of Amal Movement Political Bureau, was appointed as minister of State for Administrative Development among the 30-minister cabinet. Surprisingly, a minister from the “future” bloc, was named as minister for the newly established women’s affairs portfolio, a fact which further shows the withdrawal of political parties from supporting and nominating women to decision making positions (c.f. previous news below). Also, and within the context of repeated pledges, the new prime minister, Saad Hariri, made clear that his government has a specific task to prepare and implement the upcoming parliamentary elections and therefore, will be busy devising a new electoral law which will definitely press for women’s quota. On naming a man for the women’s affairs ministry, Hariri admittedly said: “We might have been careless,” but confirmed that the adoption of the quota shall be key demand for the forthcoming elections. “Should we wait for political parties to decide on the right women for ministers, this will not take us anywhere,” Hariri warned. Meanwhile, House Speaker, Nabih Berri, during his meeting with Women in Parliament coalition last Friday, described women’s quota as unavoidable, promising to involve the coalition in meetings of parliamentary committees studying the elections law. Berri said he supports the one third women share, which is 33%, adding that personally he would love to see 50% of parliamentary seats occupied by women. (As Safir, An Nahar, Al Mustaqbal, December 17 and 19, 2016)
 
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