A Letter to the President of the Republic to Suggest Conducting the Coming Legislative Elections using Zippered Proportional Lists to Ensure Fair Representation of Women

الرئيس عدلي منصور - المصدر: وكالة أسوشيتد برس

Joint Statement

5 Feb 2014

Justice Adly Mansour, President of the Republic,

The undersigned feminist and human rights organizations have followed up the constitutional amendments to the Constitution of 2012 to which the people has agreed on the 18th of January 2014. These amendments guaranteed appropriate representation of women in legislative councils in the second of paragraph of article 11 which stipulates that "the State shall take the necessary measures to ensure the appropriate representation of women in representative bodies."

We already have previous experience with the quota system. The two versions of the quota system were applied in Egypt: representative quota and nominative quota. In the legislative elections of 2010, 64 seats were assigned for women out of the 518 seats of the parliament. In the legislative elections of 2011, the law stipulated a nominative quota according to which each party list has to include at least one female candidate.

The problem of weak participation of women in the political process and decision making positions is one of the greatest challenges for the presence of women in the public space. The representation of women in decision making positions is a means for the empowerment and support of women's participation in public life in their country regardless of their different class, and political, social and cultural background. In order to deal with such problem, the undersigned feminist and human rights organizations present the following proposal:

1. Holding the coming parliamentary elections using closed electoral list.

2. The list is to be formed by one party, a coalition of parties, or a group of independent persons in order to compete in elections.

3. Each electoral list has to be formed so that candidates belonging to the two sexes are equal provided that the two sexes are consecutively arranged on the list. Thus, candidates' number one and two may not belong to the same sex, and the same for candidates' no. three and four, etc.

4. This form of zippered lists will end up in the parliament including women in at least one sixth of the seats in case two thirds of seats were elected by proportional lists. This is actually the least acceptable representation of women as it is still unfair especially in a parliament elected following the 25th of January 2011 revolution and its new wave on the 30th of June 2013.

We hope that more seats are to be elected using proportional lists reaching 50% in order to make it possible for more women to reach the parliament, and to guarantee more equitable representation of less-empowered categories like religious and racial minorities. We assert that this system is the most conducive for the establishment of a more democratic and more inclusive system for all categories and more supportive of political parties which are starting to take their first steps in the political space in Egypt.

1. The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement.
2. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.
3. El-Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture.
4. Center for Appropriate Communication Techniques for Development.
5. New Woman Foundation.
6. Woman and Memory Foundation.
7. Egyptian Foundation for the Development of Family.
8. Center for Egyptian Women Legal Assistance.
9. Nazra for Feminist Studies.