How and what can we learn from Senegal?

 

 

What laws exist to ensure women’s representation in Parliament in Senegal?

In Senegal, a parity law ensures party lists include 50 per cent women, which has resulted in 40 per cent

of Parliament being women. The absolute parity between men and women in lists was instituted during

the July 1, 2012, legislative elections. While the parity law does not reserve seats for women, the law

increases the chances for women to be elected to Parliament.

 

 

How are these elections structured?

The National Autonomous Electoral Commission (CENA) monitors Senegal’s elections. Although the body is nominally independent, members are appointed by the president on the advice of other public figures. It is also financially dependent on the government. The Ministry of the Interior organizes the elections. Senegal’s Parliament became unicameral, following the elimination of the Senate, for the second time, in 2012. The current parliament thus consists of the National Assembly, with 150 members elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term. For the first time in the history of this institution, an absolute parity between men and women was instituted during the July 1, 2012 legislative elections. The parity has been successful in implementation, in terms of providing 50 percent women candidates on party lists.

 

Candidates for legislative elections must be at least 25 years old. Provision LO.147 of the

 

Electoral Code states that the largest departments (administrative units below the region) elect seven members while those with the lowest representation elect at least one member. Elections in the National Assembly are divided into two portions, one group being 90 seats and the other 60 seats. Ninety members are elected through the majority system in the country’s 45 electoral constituencies. The other 60 seats are elected through proportional representation. For this voting system, a national quota is determined by dividing the number of valid ballots cast by the number of seats to be filled. Based on the total number of valid ballots cast, candidates are elected from the relevant lists in proportion to the number of quotas filled. The largest remainder principle is applied, which requires the numbers of votes for each party to be divided by a quota representing the number of votes required for a seat (i.e., typically the total number of votes cast divided by the number of seats). Parties with the largest remainders are each allocated one additional seat until all the seats have been allocated, giving the method its name.

 

The Gambian national development plan

Read about the current  govenment´s  development plan 2018-2022  on :

https://moici.gov.gm/national-development-plan-0

From this  hompage, the following is taken just to show their  back ground figures,

 

“Furthermore, at the household level, the recently released Integrated Household Survey of The Gambia(IHS 2015/16) shows that poverty has remained flat in the last decade (48.4 per cent in 2010 and 48.65 in2015) with the 3 per cent GDP growth barely keeping up with a population growth of 3.1 per cent. The number of poor Gambians has risen by over 150,000 in the period. Poverty has also been a push factor that triggers young Gambians to leave the country by irregular means to Europe and other destinations.

There is a rising rural poverty and a growing gap between rural and urban Gambia illustrated by the fact that while the proportion of the households living below the poverty line is 31.6 per cent in urban areas, the proportion rises to 69.5 per cent for the rural Gambia. The rural areas account for 42.2 per cent of the country’s population, but they hold 60 per cent of its poor. In addition, key indicators related to access to health and education, basic services, all show this East-West divide. The government intends to act decisively to close this growing gap between the predominantly urban western part of the country, and the rural poor predominantly found in the east of the country.

However, there are positive factors; Government is committed to serious economic reforms and the historic transition to democracy opens many possibilities, that could spur growth and assist the country to restore economic stability.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Female ministers?

Andorra, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Namibia, Norway, Panama, Rwanda, Saint Lucia and South Africa, Canada and Sweden.

What do these countries have in common?

They now have female foreign ministers., who all met at a conference in Canada on how to bring more of female perspective into foreign policies.

On this first meeting of this kind they discussed:
conflict prevention, democratic growth and elimination of violence against women.

They will continue, thus when we manage to put a woman as foreign minister in the Gambia, she can be part of this, to learn from others experiences. Let us work for that to happen!

 

 

Women representation in the parliaments and the voting systems.

There were only 12 countries in the world in 2016 having equal parliaments, according to figures from the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU). The countries concerned are Spain, Namibia, Nicaragua, Finland, Ecuador, South Africa, Mexico, Senegal, Sweden, Iceland, Cuba, and Bolivia.

Only two countries have more women than men in their parliament, Bolivia with 53.1 percent women and Rwanda with 63.8 percent women. In fact, Rwanda has so many women in its parliament that it is purely numerically not equal.

We can learn from these countries that there is a need for proportional voting and constituencies with not only one candidate, but a list for each party where you can have as many women as men and both young and old and depending on how many votes the party gets the more candidates to get elected.

And one should study the quotation system in Rwanda and Sweden for example. In Sweden, it is the parties themselves who decide if there shall be curved lists. So now when we have a new conservative extreme rightwing party who mostly have men on their lists, we have a less gender even parliament.  What about Senegal?