War-stricken Somalia to shame rest of the world with 30 percent parliamentary quota for women

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Published 10.08.2016 18:57

While coping with an ongoing civil war since 1991 and extremist terrorism targeting the country's economy, infrastructure and institutions on a daily basis, Somalia is getting ready for women claiming at least 30 percent of the seats at its parliament.

The UN-sponsored Somalia Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (FIEIT) decided to introduce a 30 percent quota for women at the upcoming elections on October 30.

If the elections are successfully completed, this ratio will exceed the ratio of female representatives in the U.S., Britain, France or Greece, which have respective female representatives of 20, 29, 26 and 20 percent, according to the data Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) compiled by the Anadolu Agency.

Currently, women make up 14 percent of Somalia's 275-seat parliament.

Meanwhile, the country's first female candidate for president, Fatima Tayyip, will also run in the upcoming elections. Tayyip, the mother of four who receives death threats after announcing her candidacy, previously announced that she will start peace negotiations with the al-Shabab terrorist group if elected.

Rwanda, with women making up 64 percent of the parliament, holds the title with women's participation in politics. Bolivia follows Rwanda again with 64 percent, while women make up 50 percent of the parliament in Cuba.

Many African countries also outrank the developed world in women's representation in their parliaments, with South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Ethiopia each having female deputies around 40 percent.

Turkey, with women making up 15 percent of the parliament, ranks near the world average.

The FIEIT met with the leaders of the country's regional governments along with the president to decide on the electoral calendar, it said in a statement released on August 8.

The FIEIT said parliamentary voting will be held from September 24 to October 10.

"The election for the speaker will be held on 25th October and the presidential elections will be held on 30th October 2016," the statement said.

The list of the candidates for the presidency is yet to be published officially but the sitting president Hassan Sheik Mohamud is starting his campaigns to win a second term.

Mohamud's current mandate expires on September 10 but the regional governments have agreed to extend his term up to the October 30 vote.

But Somalia's vote will be a "limited franchise election" rather than the one-person-one-vote election promised in Somalia's constitution, though more inclusive than the last polls in 2012.

Clan elders will select parliamentarians while each of Somalia's federal states will choose representatives to a new upper house. The two houses of parliament will vote for a president.

The vote will involve up to 14,000 delegates chosen by clan elders and organized into six US-style "electoral colleges" to choose 275 MPs, 30 percent of whom will be women.

Somalia sank into a devastating civil war in 1991 when warlords ousted President Mohamed Siad Barre, plunging the country into years of chaos.

As the country prepares for elections, the security situation remains troubled, largely due to the al-Shabab terrorist group, which is linked to Al-Qaeda who are fighting to overthrow the government.

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