Panama women’s associations demand to include parity in electoral reform


Panama City, Oct 12 (EFE) .- Panama’s women’s associations once again insisted on Tuesday that gender parity be included in the electoral reforms, after a “technical table” decided to continue the debate in Parliament excluding the Articles of the original project that advocated for equality within politics.

“During the various electoral reforms, it has become a custom for the National Assembly (Parliament) to maintain an anchor for the participation of women in the different scenarios, from political parties as in elections,” Dayana Bernal told Efe , of the Commission on Women’s Affairs of the National Bar Association.

Under a huge banner that read “Without women, there is no democracy” in purple letters, fifty women representing the main political parties and feminist associations protested in front of Parliament, where the bill that is being discussed in the second of three debates reforms the Electoral Code for the next elections.

Shouting “We are half, we want parity” they demanded the inclusion of articles that addressed gender parity and described the situation as a “setback” in terms of rights.

Inside the Legislative Palace, leaders of the National Forum of Women of Political Parties of Panama (Fonamupp) and the lawyers’ union took the floor to show their rejection of the elimination of said articles.

“What is currently approved in the Government Commission, which today goes to the second debate, does not represent progress for women. On the contrary, we are going to regress the demand for our political rights ”, added Bernal.

This is Bill 544 that reforms the Electoral Code, drawn up for months, at the request of the Electoral Tribunal (TE), by the National Electoral Reform Commission (CNRE), in which all political parties and civil society are represented. .

But in the first of the three parliamentary discussions, the deputies eliminated and modified articles of the project referring to the organization of the elections, such as campaign financing, equal participation of women, freedom of expression, among others.

This provoked the rejection of civil society, which has taken to the streets to protest and demand that the consensus reached in the national commission be respected, and finally a “technical table” was formed to review the modifications.

Although the TE admitted that there were “important advances” in most of the articles modified during the negotiations, they did not reach a consensus on the most relevant points regarding gender parity, party financing, and awarding of seats. and electoral penal jurisdiction.

“(At the technical table) parity and women were completely ignored in this process. It has not been attended, nor listened to, and the participation process has been denied ”, explained Bernal.

Still, the magistrates said they will continue to defend these “sensitive issues” in the second parliamentary debate.

In the opinion of the general secretary of Fonamupp, Solange Robinson, the elimination of these articles in favor of gender parity falls on a question of “power” on the part of the deputies.

“The power, that the deputies can make decisions for other people. When we do an analysis we ask ourselves how our participation would affect them, and in the end it is political will, ”Robinson told Efe.

Robinson recalled that in Panama, women represent 51% within political parties, “however, in practice, we did not reach 10%.”

“When we see the number of women who are representatives or mayors…. even as deputies we barely reached about 20 (…) the number of women who manage to be on the ballot is not what we want ”, he concluded.


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