Sisters’ Arab Forum calls for quota system [Archives:2006/961/Local News]

July 3 2006

SANA'A, July 4 ) In a statement distributed last Monday, the Sisters' Arab Forum (SAF), a human rights organization, called upon all feminist groups, NGOs, writers, and intellectuals to request that the Parliament Council to adopt a quota system and allocate a fixed number of chairs to women in the upcoming elections.

Meanwhile, the Parliament Council agreed to amend an article in the Elections Law, adding two members to the existing seven-member Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER). In a statement described as urgent, the Forum called for pressure to be put on the Parliament Council to adopt a quota system of not less than 30 percent of seats for women. It also called for amending the electoral system, allowing more representatives for women and other marginalized groups.

The Forum emphasized the importance of having a quota system within the lists of the committees formed to run the upcoming elections. It also expressed its hope that parliament members, whether linked to partisan blocks or independent, will respond to these demands, particularly when the Parliament Council has amended Elections Law No. 41 of 1992 in accord with the latest agreement between the General People's Congress (GPC) and the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP).

Although a feminist coalition)comprising feminist elements of the GPC, the Reform party (Islah), and the Socialist and Nasserite Unionist parties)was formed in an attempt to amend the Election Law and allocate a quota of seats to women, promises made by the parties to apportion a certain percentage of posts for women in the local elections have grown fainter.

When GPC promises came to nothing at its seventh conference held at the end of 2005, the opposition justified its setback by suggesting that such an amendment can be made only if the GPC wishes to.