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Political system & personal status laws impede women’s political participation in Lebanon


The representative of the National Commission for Lebanese Women (NCLW), Dr. Fadia Kiwan, stressed that one should not accept any excuse, argument or political maneuver that blocks the adoption of a minimum quota for women of 30% in parliamentary elections, in addition to any other special preferential arrangement that can boost women’s chances of winning equally with men candidates. Kiwan was speaking at the National Conference held yesterday under the title, ‘Special Transitional Measures promoting the Representation of Women through Electoral Legislations’, which was organized by the Parliament’s Secretariat, in collaboration with UNDP, NCLW and the Alliance of Lebanese Women in Parliament. In this respect, UN special coordinator in Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag pressed for the adoption of a women’s quota, noting that the parliamentary representation of women in the country (3%) is the worst in the MENA region; compared to 31% in Algeria for example. For his part, the Lebanese Interior Minister, Nuhad Mashnook said that the new electoral law should include a women quota of not less than 15% and that this rate should increase progressively. Yasin Jaber, representing Speaker Nabih Berri, explained that the complex political system in Lebanon and the existence of various personal status laws work to subjugate women to the sectarian-governed patriarchal authority. Jaber concluded by calling for the endorsement and adoption of the quota law in order to raise the political representation of women and as the only practical means to achieve this. (As Safir, An Nahar Al Mustaqbal, December 2, 2015)


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