ADPD says quota system only favours Labour and Nationalist women candidates

ADPD slams what it describes as a ‘historic perversion’ of the quota system that will only favour women candidates who contest with the Labour and Nationalist parties

ADPD says the proposed gender corrective mechanism will only work to serve women contesting on the Labour and Nationalist tickets
ADPD says the proposed gender corrective mechanism will only work to serve women contesting on the Labour and Nationalist tickets

Proposed legal changes to ensure more women are elected to parliament have been criticised by ADPD because they only favour candidates of the major parties.

Using strong language, ADPD said the proposed changes are “a historic perversion” of the quota system that will serve Labour and Nationalist women candidates over the rest.

“Despite the Prime Minister’s and some other’s claim that the bill amending the electoral system currently being discussed in parliament is ‘historic’, it is in fact yet another case of collusion between PL and PN so that they continue to avoid a real reform of the electoral system and instead get a top-up bonus of six unelected MPs each,” ADPD spokesperson Sandra Gauci said.

Parliament yesterday started discussing a gender corrective mechanism that will award up to 12 additional seats to women if only two parties are elected to parliament.

She insisted that top-ups and bloating parliament through extra seats are not quotas, accusing the two major parties of perverting the concept of quotas and representation.

“The bill is discriminatory because it is a top-up mechanism which is only set into motion if PL or PN candidates are elected to parliament. Discrimination based on party affiliation is purposefully written into the bill. Some women are more equal than others for Rosianne Cutajar, Bernard Grech, Robert Abela and Claudette Buttigieg. It is ironic that the concepts of ‘equality’ and ‘quota’ are perverted so much to fit into the PL and PN scheme of things,” she said.

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ADPD Secretary General Ralph Cassar said that a proper representative electoral system, which incorporates gender representation is achieved by a system in which all votes have equal value. He accused the parties of colluding to skew the system in their favour.

“The current system applies the concept of proportionality only to PL and PN. In fact, top-up systems are already in place, increasing the size of parliament over and above the five MPs per electoral district. This top-up 'corrective mechanism', similar to the proposed new gender top-up, applies only to PL and PN,” Cassar said.

He said that the problem of under representation can only be corrected if a national quota system is introduced through which all votes carry equal weight.

ADPD is suggesting that a party obtaining 2.5% or more votes nationally should be guaranteed representation in parliament.

“Gender balance, for all genders, in our electoral system is possible if the electoral system reflects different opinions as represented by different parties. A fair system, which does not discriminate between candidates of different parties, including women and non-binary persons, would be a party list system,” Cassar said.