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Palestinian women say the planned increase in the representation of the legislature is not enough

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Media Line Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree this week amending the Palestinian election law.

The changes include an increase in the representation of women in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), in addition to holding three consecutive elections, starting with the vote of the legislative council.

The PLC elections will be followed by votes for president and then for the PLO National Council.

The change comes against the backdrop of the current national consensus, particularly between Fatah and Hamas, to hold elections after years of delay.

Furthermore, she agrees with the decisions of the Palestine Liberation Organization to increase the quota for the representation of women in the PLC, the one-chamber legislature of the Palestinian Authority, whose activity has been suspended since 2007.

Hisham Kuhail, executive director of the Palestinian Central Election Commission (CEC), told The Media Line that the increase in women’s representation was new and was not included in discussions between factions in Gaza last November who met to determine the conditions for holding three elections according to the vision of the presidents so that they are not simultaneous, as set out in the original law.

Women’s organizations lobbied for an increased presence of women in the PLC and they have a document from the PLO to increase their representation by 30%, he said.

Kuhail explained that, previously under the quota, 20% of the 132 PLC members were women, and the change has increased that proportion to 26%. The new change did not specify percentages, but instead changed the place of women in party electoral lists. That means one woman among the top three candidates, and one woman among every four names that follow, he said.

The change involves removing the requirement that candidates adhere to PLO policies, Kuhail added.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are not members of the PLO.

Sabah Salameh, coordinator of the Al Muntada Forum to Combat Violence Against Women, told The Media Line that increasing women’s representation is indeed a catastrophe because the Palestinian feminist movement and civil society have for years demanded that women quota to increase to 30%

We have a decision by the Central PLO Council that the representation of women will be 30%, in addition to agreements and understandings with all PLO factions which should be 30%. So there is a big problem here, Salameh said.

We reject this stagnant tactic and this evasion policy, Salameh said.

“In some Arab countries, such as Bahrain, there is no quota system and women compete with men on an equal footing. I hope and aspire to reach this point. ”

Haifa al-Agha, a former PA minister for women’s affairs based in Gaza, told The Media Line that the increased quota, from 20% to 26%, is a step in the right direction, although not fully meets the aspirations and needs of Palestinian women.

Previously, we fought for it to be 30%, or to split the council in half, like our sisters in Tunisia, and why not? Women can now compete with men in terms of education, and women now occupy sensitive positions, Agha said.

The change is not bad, but not even what women have worked for over the years, she said. We hope the percentage goes to at least 30%, and in the future to 50%, she added.

Agha said she hopes society will be able to move beyond its traditional and stereotypically negative view of women.

In some Arab countries, such as Bahrain, there is no quota system and women compete with men on an equal footing, she said. “I hope and aspire to reach this point,” she said of representing Palestinian women.

The Central Election Committee has decided to convene no later than January 20 so that the president can issue decrees setting dates for the three votes, which will be followed by consultations between all factions on the electoral process.

The last presidential election, which Abbas won, was held in January 2005. The last PLC election, which Hamas won, was held in January 2006. Palestinian National Council elections were never held and a majority of members were appointed by the Committee. Executive of PLOs.

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