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Turkish women's groups disappointed with candidate lists

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 4/12/2011 12:00:00 AM | İPEK EMEKSİZ

The number of female candidates selected to run for Parliament in the upcoming general elections is disappointing, according to a women’s rights leader.

The number of female candidates selected to run for Parliament in the upcoming general elections is disappointing, and none have been nominated in places where they have a chance to win, according to a women’s rights leader.

“The numbers haven’t fully met our expectations. It’s a disappointment. A parity law should be implemented in the Constitution. We will continue to carry out our campaign in this direction,” said Çiğdem Aydın, chairwoman of the Association for Educating and Supporting Women Candidates, or Ka-Der, and leader in the “275 Women in Parliament” campaign.

“Still, the ratios are better compared to the last elections in 2007, as the number of women who can be elected has passed over 100,” Aydın told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Tuesday.

The Republican People’s Party, or CHP, put forward 109 women candidates, the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, 78 women candidates, and Nationalist Movement’s Party, or MHP, 68 women candidates on their lists. From the list of CHP, 38 women, of AKP, 55 women, and of MHP, eight women are entered into a ranking where they can be elected, according to Aydın.

“However, with the best probability, between 100 to 110 women deputies can be chosen for Parliament. Even though this ratio seems like an increase, it will not even reach 20 percent,” said Nazan Moroğlu, the coordinator of the Union of Istanbul Women’s Association.

“Just as it happens before every election the leaders of political parties promise that real democracy will be implemented and women will take their place in Parliament with more numbers. Nevertheless, they did not follow through on their promises,” she said.

When the number of women candidates in the lists was analyzed, it shows that CHP gave 20 percent, AKP gave 14 percent, MHP gave 12 percent of women candidates a place and the Democracy and Peace Party, or BDP, show 12 women as independent candidates, said Moroğlu, criticizing that women are in positions that would make them difficult to be elected.

“However, as the Union of Istanbul Women’s Associations, we demanded that there should be a woman candidate at the top two ranks of the lists and women should take place in at least 30 percent of Parliament. Thus, we said that while preparing the lists women should be given places from positions where they can be elected,” said Moroğlu.

Although the election threshold was a handicap for women candidates, Aydın said the ratios are still better when compared to the last election. “The CHP tripled the number of women on its list. The AKP nearly doubled it, however, MHP, having a patriarchal approach, put six women into positions where they can be elected,” said Aydın.

Nevertheless, Aydın was not also content with the fact that women candidates from women’s associations were not selected and the chosen women’s names take place toward the end of the list. “The political parties have a special resistance to preferring women interested in women’s issues. Nevertheless, every woman chosen is in our scope, and we will continue to share our experience with them,” said Aydın.

“In order to eradicate this inequality and deficiency of democracy, a ‘gender quota’ of 30 percent should be implemented,” said Moroğlu.

“Even though women’s associations such as the ‘Women who are Right Platform’ and Ka-Der carry out campaigns to attain equal representation in Parliament are not very satisfied with the results, I believe having 100 women is a real success and this is their success,” said Meral Tamer, a journalist from daily Milliyet.

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