Record number of women elected
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.