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Highest number of women running for parliament in Lebanese history

BEIRUT | - May 30, 2013, 17h06
Par Louise Wernvik
The team of Women in Front participated in Beirut marathon on May 26. Photo from Women in Front facebook page
The Lebanese Parliament has reached its highest quota in number of women running for elections. But this may not be a day to mark in history, as the MPs are meeting up on May 31 and deciding on whether or not to postpone the elections, which many politicians have voiced in favor of.
“We are going to take advantage of this. We are not supporting the extension but if they postpone we will have more time to work and plan for a better election,” Joelle Abou Farhat Rizkallah, co-founder of Women in Front.

45 women handed in their candidacy for the elections, which compares to 12 women in 2009 years election., This is an increase. Looking at it from a statistical point of view, the female candidates estimate to 7.6 percent of the total of candidacies, which were 706 men and women all together.

About 90 percent of the female politicians are part of Women for Parliament, which is a collaboration of NGOs for women empowerment and civil society. Their aim is to bring Lebanon towards gender equality and putting more women in power and parliament.

“We are happy to have this number of candidates. It´s just what we hoped for,” Abou Farhat Rizkallah said.

Although this is the highest number in Lebanese history of female candidates running for parliament, it might not yet be the final total. An extension of up to two years of the parliaments mandate has been proposed, which has been strongly condemned by the civil society movement. On Friday, May 31, the MPs will meet at 3 P.M. to decide on whether or not to extend the mandate. The female candidates, Women in Parliament, Women in Front, along with civil society movement will hold a manifestation outside of the parliament to protest against the postponing of elections.

Laury Haytayan (photo), an independent candidate, will be attending the manifestation. She is very disappointed with how the current MPs have handled their mandate period and will protest against granting them another day past their elected time.

“I will be there because we should react to what is happening. They haven’t done their job with finding a modern electoral law. They failed on every aspect; socially, economically, politically, and now they are giving themselves the right to extend. It´s a bullet in democracy for Lebanon,” Haytayan said.

If the elections are postponed, another round of filing for candidacy will be upcoming towards the end of the extension, which might either increase or decrease the number of women running for parliament. This means that the historical point for the struggle of gender equality in Lebanon might turn out differently.
#Women_in_politics, #Lebanese_women_in_politics, #women_in_Lebanese_parliament
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