Malta’s third party, ADPD, has rubbished the recently passed gender quotas bill as “pure manipulation of the electoral system in which some women are declared more equal than others.”
Yesterday, a bill to lure more women into Parliament was passed with overwhelming cross-party support. If the House of Representatives is made of less than 40% of women in the next general election, each main party will get up to six extra seats for candidates that failed to make it on the first electoral round. Third parties like ADPD don’t stand to benefit from the mechanism.
ADPD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said the bill is only historic for “partners in this self-serving manipulation of electoral laws, the Nationalist and Labour parties” and their “desperate need for control”.
“The so-called gender-corrective mechanism is just a ploy to ensure that the manipulators at PLPN get an additional six minions each,” he said.
ADPD spokesperson Sandra Gauci added that a gender-balanced system would imply that party electoral lists are balanced.
“There is no other country in democratic Europe in which the system is brazenly manipulated in the way it has been manipulated in Malta by partners in crime PLPN. The system can become proportional for all – in gender and also in ideas – through the introduction of a party-list system. This has the added benefit in that it would help in reducing the system of clientelism PLPN depends on,” she said.
Prime Minister Robert Abela and former Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms Rosianne Cutajar hailed the bill as a “historic” step forward for equality. PN MPs majorly voted in favour of the bill, while Hermann Schiavone said his party was disappointed that their amendments were not taken into consideration.
The bill remains controversial. Some argue that it’s necessary to boost female participation in Maltese politics, which has been stubbornly low over the decades, while critics warn it will undermine democracy and tokenise women.
What do you make of ADPD’s comment?