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Cambodia: Call for women candidates quota

Cambodian NGOs, among them the Diakonia partners Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and Gender and Development for Cambodia (CAD-C) are calling for a change in national election laws, so that at least 30 per cent of the candidates on electoral lists are women.

8/2/2012 Publisher: Ingela Karlsson

Only 17,8 per cent in commune councils are women

The Diakonia partner Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) states that as of today 17.8 per cent of commune council members (elected in June) are women. The vast majority of these women fill low-ranking positions. Less than five per cent were elected as commune chiefs.

Cambodian NGOs see "a clear need for national legislation requiring specific quotas of women on candidate lists".

At least 30 per cent women

Ros Sopheap, executive director for the Diakonia partner Gender and Development for Cambodia (GAD-C), says to the Phnom Penh Post that her organization advocates for an electoral list quota for women of at least 30 per cent.

Differences between the parties

While the overall proportion of women elected this year is an increase from the 2007 commune elections’ 14.6 per cent, the CCHR report shows that small parties elected particularly low proportions of women, while the larger party CPP elected a greater ratio of women to men.

Equal distribution on electoral lists needed

The differences between parties were due largely to all parties’ practice of placing women toward the bottom of their electoral lists and assigning them few leadership roles.

This practice most significantly affects women in small parties, from which only a few candidates are elected – from the top of their parties’ lists.

Diakonia's partners are hoping that new election laws should ensure that women candidates are equally distributed throughout the candidate lists.