There is a need for “serious electoral reform instead of tinkering with the Constitution” for the benefit of Malta’s two largest parties, ADPD have said in a reaction to the ongoing gender quotas discussion.
“ADPD agrees with the need of affirmative action to address the lack of gender balance in Parliament, however, government’s proposal to address this imbalance in Parliament is both degrading and discriminatory,” Sandra Gauci, ADPD spokesperson, said outside Parliament.
Their comments come as the government moves forward with a “gender-correcting mechanism” as they are referring to it which could see 12 women or gender neutral people become members of Parliament by virtue of their identity, and not through obtaining enough votes.
“Addressing gender imbalance is long overdue, but it should be addressed properly,” Gauci continued.
“It is degrading to pick up unelected Parliamentary candidates with a fraction of the votes required for election and to declare them as MPs as a consolation prize. Female candidates should have a proper opportunity to compete for a seat in Parliament at par with male candidates,” she said, calling for a “complete overhaul” of the electoral system.
The party, which formed after Alternattiva Demokratika and Partit Demokratiku merged, noted that they had already proposed an alternative system based on gender-balanced party lists, as is done abroad.
Another issue with the gender quota scheme as it is currently being proposed is that candidates in third parties, like ADPD, would not benefit from it, with only candidates from the two parties making it into Parliament making use of it.
The topic of gender quotas is being discussed widely across the Maltese political sphere.
Government spokesperson Robert Musumeci sparked major controversy when he attempted to explain why the gender quotas mechanism was beneficial to the country by saying it would allow the Prime Minister to select certain “women without pretensions” as he saw fit to make it to Parliament. His comments were quickly labelled as misogynistic as calls abounded for his dismissal from government committees he sits on.