Record num­ber of women elected

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - World - Reuters letters@hindustantimes.com

France voted a record num­ber of women into par­lia­ment, elec­tion re­sults showed on Mon­day, af­ter Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron’s vic­to­ri­ous Repub­lic on the Move (LREM) party fielded a gen­der-bal­anced can­di­date list.

Of the 577 newly elected law­mak­ers, 223 were fe­male, beat­ing the pre­vi­ous record of 155 set af­ter the last elec­tion.

That sent France leapfrog­ging from 64th to 17th in the world rank­ings of fe­male par­lia­men­tary rep­re­sen­ta­tion and to 6th place in Europe, over­tak­ing Britain and Ger­many, ac­cord­ing to In­ter-par­lia­men­tary Union data com­piled at the start of June.

LREM, which won an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity in Sun­day’s bal­lot, had the high­est pro­por­tion of women elected, at 47%.

“For the first time un­der the (post­war) Fifth Repub­lic, the Na­tional Assem­bly will be deeply re­newed - more di­verse, younger,” the party’s act­ing pres­i­dent, Catherine Bar­baroux, said. “But above all, al­low me to re­joice, be­cause this is a his­toric event for the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of women in the Na­tional Assem­bly.” Fe­male rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the Na­tional Assem­bly has risen steadily, from 12.3% at the 2002 elec­tion to 38.6% this time.

But most par­ties still put up more men for elec­tion, de­spite France hav­ing a sys­tem in which a party’s fund­ing is re­stricted if women do not make up at least 49% of can­di­dates. Fe­male can­di­dates have also tended to stand in con­stituen­cies they are un­likely to win, keep­ing the num­bers of women who make it to the PalaisBour­bon low.

LREM also boasts scores of law­mak­ers never be­fore elected un­prece­dented in France and cen­tral to his prom­ise to clean up the coun­try’s pol­i­tics.

Op­po­nents had urged vot­ers not to al­low so much power to be con­cen­trated in the hands of one party and warned Macron’s law­mak­ers would serve sim­ply as an army of ‘godil­lots’, or yes men. Macron says they re­flect French so­ci­ety.

Those elected in­clude Herve Berville, 27, a Rwan­dan-born econ­o­mist who sur­vived the east African coun­try’s 1994 geno­cide and was adopted by a French fam­ily in Brittany, western France.

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