Being elected as a PN MP by way of Malta’s Parliamentary gender quota was not enough to change Eve Borg Bonello’s stance on the system.
Only a year ago, she criticized the system in a Times of Malta article by saying that “we need to get it out of our heads that women need quotas to get elected.”
Now she becomes one of the first female MP’s in Malta’s history to be elected via the gender quota mechanism. In fact, it made her the youngest ever MP in Malta’s history.
Regardless, Borg Bonello maintained that she “still disagrees with gender quotas” and given the opportunity to vote against them, she would without a second’s thought.
“I would vote against [gender quotas] because they backfired totally [in the sense] that fewer women were elected through the original election even if it balanced out once we got to the casual elections.”
“The Maltese voter wants control over who represents them and it’s only fair. It’s basic democracy. Once the Maltese voter loses control, they rebel.”
When asked, Borg Bonello maintained her stance, insisting that she would vote against the system on the basis that “women are capable of getting there alone.”
Her stance on the matter may have raised concerns as to whether she should have taken a stand and given up her seat altogether. However, Borg Bonello maintained that doing so would be disrespectful to those who voted for her knowing that their votes ‘weighed less’ because of the quota.
“I have a responsibility to those who voted for me. And I already passed the threshold of the districts in terms of the quota.”
The introduction of gender quotas in Malta’s political system was received with mixed opinions.
While on one hand, the means has fulfilled its purpose by ensuring more women are allowed a voice in Parliament, some have criticised the system for having ‘diluted’ the democratic principles of a basic election.
With too few women elected this year, the gender quota mechanism kicked in for the first time ever, with PL and PN electing six MPs each according to the number of votes they received by the time they were knocked out of the race.
The mechanism has seen no less than 22 women take up a Parliamentary seat following this year’s general election. More than double that in the previous general election.
Maltese women politicians have finally been given a golden chance to show their value to the nation and try and convince skeptical citizens that the controversial quotas may have been a good idea after all. Will they seize the moment?
What do you make of this?