PN proposes four changes to gender corrective mechanism Bill: find out what they are

The PN is suggesting that the gender corrective mechanism Bill apply also if more than two parties are elected to parliament

PN MP Hermann Schiavone presented four key amendments to the gender corrective mechanism Bill being discussed in parliament
PN MP Hermann Schiavone presented four key amendments to the gender corrective mechanism Bill being discussed in parliament

The Nationalist Party is proposing that the gender corrective mechanism Bill to boost women MPs should also apply if more than two parties are elected to parliament.

PN MP Hermann Schiavone this afternoon put forward four key changes to the proposed constitutional changes being discussed in parliament. The Opposition is supporting the Bill but will put forward the changes at committee stage.

One of the proposals suggests that the corrective mechanism should also apply if more than two parties elect MPs. The PN proposal suggests that the third party should benefit from any additional seats if it elects at least five MPs.

The Bill put forward by government makes no such provision and the mechanism will only kick in if two parties are represented in parliament.

Another proposal is for a clearer ranking system for women candidates who were eliminated that will be based on the percentage of the quota.

Schiavone said this was all the more important given that Gozo was constitutionally one district irrespective of its population.

The government Bill proposes an unclear ranking system that either depends on votes or percentage of the quota.

A significant proposal made by the Opposition is to quicken the processes to have parliament’s full complement known as close as possible to the election.

In this way, the prime minister will have full visibility of all MPs elected, including women benefitting from the corrective mechanism, before creating his Cabinet of ministers.

The Opposition is suggesting that in those cases where candidates are elected on two districts, a casual election is held immediately on that district where the candidate fared worse.

In current circumstances, casual elections are normally held three weeks after the general election until the political parties decide which of the two districts should be given up by candidates elected on two districts.

The Opposition proposal makes the choice an automatic one at law.

The PN’s amendments

1. Mechanism should kick in if more than two parties are represented in parliament

The PN is proposing that if a third party elects at least five MPs it should also benefit from an increase in seats of the under-represented gender. The seat or seats awarded to the third party will be taken from the maximum of six awarded to the side of the House the party will be sitting on – if the third party sits in the Opposition, the additional seat/s will be taken from the Opposition and if it forms part of a government coalition it will take its seat/s from those awarded to the governing side. The amendment does not change the maximum of 12 seats (six to either side) that the mechanism will award to the under-represented gender.

2. Immediate casual elections

The PN is proposing that casual elections in those cases where a candidate is elected on two districts take place immediately. The PN is suggesting an automatic system will kick in and the candidate will give up that district on which he scored the lowest first count result expressed as a percentage of the quota. In this way, with the electronic vote counting introduced two years ago, the casual elections can take place immediately so that the composition of parliament is known on the night and the gender corrective mechanism will kick as quickly as possible. This ensures the prime minister will have a full parliamentary complement as early as possible to be able to choose his Cabinet from.

3. Clearer ranking of women candidates

The PN agrees that the mechanism should first elect those women candidates who were left standing at the last count but failed to get elected. But it is proposing a clearer ranking system for those women candidates that were eliminated and who will be in the running for the extra seats if needed. The PN is saying that the ranking should be based on the last count votes obtained by the eliminated women candidates, expressed as a percentage of the district quota they contested in. The PN proposal makes the ranking clearer since the government proposal speaks of either ‘the number of votes obtained’ or ‘votes as a percentage of the district quota’, leaving it open to interpretation.

4. Changes to be done by two-thirds vote

The PN wants to make sure that any changes to the gender corrective mechanism in the future should be enacted by a two-thirds vote in parliament.

READ ALSO: ADPD says quota system only favours Labour and Nationalist women candidates

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