Political Finance as a Driver for Women Candidates


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Presentation on promoting women’s access to electoral finances by Zurab Kharatishvili, Chair of the Central Electoral Commission, Georgia presented at UNDP Regional Forum on Equal participation in decision-making, Istanbul, 16 November, Session VI: An enabling environment for women’s electoral participation- the role of Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs)

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    True, women changes in so many ways. Before they just stay at home and prefer to become a full time wife but now, women are ready to grapple with men, they are ready to be in savvy.
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Political Finance as a Driver for Women Candidates

  1. 1. CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION OF GEORGIAPolitical Finance as a Driver for Women Candidates REGIONAL FORUM ON “EQUAL PARTICIPATION IN DECISION-MAKING By Zurab Kharatishvili, Chair of the Central Election Commission, Georgia Istanbul November 16, 2011
  2. 2. Certain Picture of Gender Affairs Women in Georgia face a reality filled with contradictions. On one hand, they have access to education, work actively in civil society organizations, and run small businesses, but on the other, society still considers the major duty for a woman to be taking care of her children and household. Such traditional practices and attitudes leave little room for women to actively engage and advance in the public sphere. The political arena remains largely dominated by men in Georgia.15/11/2011 2
  3. 3. Certain Picture of Gender Affairs (Cont’d) Women are especially underrepresented in all types of politics — at both the local and national levels, and in the legislative and executive branches. At present, after the democratic reforms witnessed during recent years, women MPs comprise just 6% of the representatives in Parliament and there are three women ministers in the government. Georgia ranks among the lowest participating States in the OSCE region in terms of women’s representation in parliament. Women’s under- representation seriously compromises the democratic political development of a society, while the systematic inclusion of women serves to strengthen policy effectiveness and expand the political agenda.11/22/2011 3
  4. 4. 15/11/2011 4
  5. 5. Status of Affairs in the Georgian EMB The CEC members/staff composition is typical for the Georgian state and political institutions. CEC staff itself is structured in the manner of balancing gender equality: » 50/50 head persons out of the 8 departments within the CEC; » women representativeness is enhancing in the lower levels of the structure. On the other hand, there is an only woman out of the 13 the CEC members appointed by the parliament and political parties.15/11/2011 5
  6. 6. Legal Status of Gender Affairs in Georgia On September 22, 1994, Georgia joined the Convention on Elimination of all types of Discrimination Against Women – CEDAW. Georgia periodically presents the report on general information of the women situation in the country to the Committee for its review, assessments, recommendations, and concerns. Women NGOs present alternative reports, simultaneously. The Parliament of Georgia passed a Gender Equality Law on 27 March 2010. The legislation provides for the establishment of a national women’s machinery, the enhancement of women’s security, equality in the labour market and the strengthening of women’s political participation. The law also introduces gender-responsive planning and budgeting on the part of the government.15/11/2011 6
  7. 7. Key Issues Relating to Women’s Participation in the Democratic Development of Georgia The right of women to participate in political life is guaranteed by abovementioned international convention and national legislation, but transforming an abstract right into a reality requires hard work on the ground due to following reasons: » Legislative regulations are mostly declarative in nature. Legislation is neutral towards gender issues, creating an environment of indirect discrimination in terms of gender; » Women’s interests and incentives to become actively involved in the political sphere are low. This fact is attributed to:  social conditions;  patriarchal society; and  political environment.11/22/2011 7
  8. 8. Key Issues Relating to Women’s Participation in the Democratic Development of Georgia (Cont’d) » Political parties generally have a low level of internal democracy. Parties have no internal party regulations to increase women’s representation and their promotion both within internal party structures and in carrying out the parties’ political activities; » There is a lack of awareness among political party leaders regarding the resources, capacities and potential of women within their own parties as well as the number of women voters; » Women’s representation is also influenced by election systems. The existing practice has shown that proportional election system is particularly effective in increasing women’s representation, due to greater electoral incentives to develop a candidate list that is balanced in terms of representation of different interests and groups.11/22/2011 8
  9. 9. Latest Efforts to Effect Georgias Political Development The Central Electoral Commission of Georgia, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Co- operation in Europe (OSCE/ODIHR), the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) convened a Roundtable to address the issues of women’s participation in political and electoral processes on June 30, 2011 with the broad participation of Georgian political parties, women political actors, non-governmental organizations, international donor and development agencies, gender and political experts, and the Georgian media.15/11/2011 9
  10. 10. Conclusions of the Roundtable on Women’s Participation in Political Life There are number of approaches that civil society and political activists can provide incentives to political parties to increase women’s participation, including: » the measures and strategies that political parties can adopt to strengthen internal party democracy and women’s participation; » the legislation actively encouraging and supporting women’s participation in political activities mainly focused on quote rules.15/11/2011 10
  11. 11. The Georgian EMB Method of Approach to the Affair The Central Election Commission of Georgia raised its attitude to evaluating effective tools of regulate and coordinate gender equality issue. The quote is effective for the countries with the proportional electoral system, but for the Georgian mixed one where half of the MPs are elected by the majority voted system, the above approach can effect only on the 50 percent MP members elected by the proportional list. As a result the Georgian EMB approach to the affair is based on designing and implementation the financial incentive in political financing motivating political parties defend gender equality.15/11/2011 11
  12. 12. The Georgian EMB Approach to the Affair (Cont’d) The major funding source of political parties in Georgia is the state financing. Fundraising value is combined to the number of votes received by a particular party on elections. Our approach implicates three components: » apart from gained votes by political parties, the state fundraising to be tied to a gender balance defence by a particular political entity. For instance, if a political party gains seats in the parliament by proportional and major voted system jointly and there are no less than 30% representatives of each of both women and men, the party gets N% additional state finance;15/11/2011 12
  13. 13. The Georgian EMB Approach to the Affair (Cont’d) » temporary special measures such as internal party democracy regulations to be included in the legislation and meaning development clear and transparent guidelines for the recruitment of party members, the recruitment and selection of party candidates, and the allocation of party resources to members and candidates. These guidelines should include specific provisions to ensure equality of opportunity for women and men in all party activities and processes, including candidate recruitment, participation in decision-making bodies such as nomination/selection boards, and equal access to party resources. It is equally important that both women and men are involved in all party processes, including planning and budgeting. » the implementation of these two rules above should be accompanied intensive campaign increasing public awareness of gender issues contributing to political parties’ development as they will receive more support from society.11/22/2011 13
  14. 14. Main Feasible Outputs from the Come up Linking political finance with mandatory internal party democracy elements to the proportion of women candidates is a possible means of providing incentives for political parties to increase the number of women put forward as candidates on party lists. We believe our approach will empower and motivate political parties to be encouraged in enhancing women’s representation and stimulate changing the overall situation in elective representation to balance the gender equality within the organs and entities and, consequently in the political life.15/11/2011 14
  15. 15. საქართველოს ცენტრალური საარჩევნო კომისია CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION OF GEORGIA Thank you!15/11/2011 15