Gender corrective mechanism to become law as Parliament votes in favour of bill

The bill will see more women MPs voted into parliament in the next general election

A corrective mechanism to ensure gender parity in parliament has been cleared at Third Reading stage in parliament, and will become law in time for the next election.

63 MPs voted in favour of the bill, while two voted against.

The mechanism hopes to pave the way for more women to become MPs.

If the under-represented sex comprises less than 40% of all seats after the election outcome is known, the mechanism will kick in to elect a maximum of 12 additional MPs – six on either side of the House.

It will only kick in if two parties are elected to parliament and will remain in force for 20 years.

Before voting took place, Nationalist MP Hermann Schiavone clarified that even though the Opposition will be voting in favour of the bill, they were disappointed that government opposed a proposal that would allow the mechanism to apply even if MPs from more than two political parties are elected.

However, an Opposition proposal to have the gender corrective mechanism entrenched in the Constitution was approved.

The mechanism will determine the number of additional seats to be filled by the under-represented gender and in the first phase, those candidates left hanging at the last count will be automatically elected.

In the second phase, a rank order of unelected candidates is drawn up on the basis of their last count vote expressed as a percentage of the district quota.

The bill will now be presented to the President of Malta for his approval and published in the Government Gazette, thus becoming a Parliamentary Act.