Women sections of political parties unsatisfied with women participation in elections
Morocco, Politics, 9/9/2003
Some members of the coordination commission of women members of political parties said they are unsatisfied with the low rate of 5% of women candidates to next Friday's local polls in Morocco
Some members of the commission told MAP that the number of women members of political parties participating in the elections does not reflect Moroccan women aspirations nor the will to build a truly democratic society.
These women politicians attribute the non-observance of a code of ethics in which political parties pledged to reserve 20% of candidacies to women shying away from elections and to the fact that some parties do not trust women in the management of public affairs.
Amina Ouchlih, from the Socialist Union of Popular forces (USFP), regrets that women could not score the same assets as in the legislative elections. She explains that some political parties failed to submit the candidacy of a sufficient number of women candidates while others placed women candidates on the last ranks of the electoral lists
Ouchilh, who is also member of the House of Representatives (lower chamber of the parliament), argues that it would have been more appropriate to have women candidates on the five or six first positions of candidates lists in order to secure them seats at communes and, consequently, expand women's participation in the management of local affairs.
She also regrets that women's participation is derisory in rural areas.
For Naima Farah, from the National Rally of Independents (RNI), it is women's poor spirit of initiative that is behind the political parties' inability to respect the code of ethics, signed before the campaign. She also ascribed women's low participation to the absence of a real will among heads of political parties to give women a forefront position. For the RNI, it is necessary to apply the quota system despite the numerous critics of allocating to women a set rate in elections and in seats. The same view ascribing women's low participation rate to women themselves was also expressed by Nouzha Alaoui, member of the Democratic Socialist Party (PSD), who explained that women are "afraid of running for elections while other women withdrew their candidacy because they were not of the first ranks." For her, political parties believe in the efficiency of women in politics. She went on that the low rate of women participation is due to "the absence of a true democracy within political parties." While the commission members were fully aware that the target of 20% was impossible to reach, they did not however expect the rate to be so low (5%), says Bouchra Lkhyari, from the Democratic Forces Front (FFD). Financial aspects were cited by Milouda Hazeb, chairwoman of the national organization of democratic women, who said the low participation of women is due to the fact that it is the list head candidate who finances the political campaign. She suggested that electoral campaigns should be financed by the state and political parties. A total of eight political parties pledged in a code of ethics to allocate at least 20% of their candidacies to women candidates. In last year's legislative elections, the government decided to reserve 30 seats in the 325-seat House of Representatives to women.
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