All ten women members of the Parliament of Montenegro, together with 242 representatives of the three Montenegrin universities, publicly addressed the Speaker of the Parliament, members of the Committee for drafting the new election law, as well as the presidents of the Parliamentary Clubs, requesting the introduction of mandatory quotas for women (prescribing at least 30% of women representatives on electoral lists). With the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Delegation of the European Union in Montenegro, they are jointly advocating for the legislation improvement through introduction of gender-sensitive norms in the new election law.
In their address they emphasized the reasons for such an appeal:
As a UN member and an EU candidate country, Montenegro is obliged to introduce principles, standards and best UN and EU practices. Among other obligations, Montenegro should establish a systemic and sustainable model that will guarantee the full and integral participation of women in political life. Bearing in mind that Montenegro is currently in the process of adopting new election legislation, women parliamentarians agreed to launch the initiative on introduction of obligatory norms in the new legislation regulating participation of women in politics. In the meantime, their initiative has been strongly supported by many representatives of the intellectual elite.
Representatives from every Montenegrin university have signed the following petition:
Dear Speaker of the Parliament, dear Parliamentarians,
We, representatives of the academic community of Montenegro,
Having in mind ratified international conventions on women’s rights,
Being committed to best practices, politics and standards of UN and EU,
Pinpointing Constitutional principle of gender equality,
We consider necessary that the new election law contain an effective system for representation of the less represented sex. Starting from standards and practice of developed democratic countries, we consider that the effective system of quota for women should have the following elements:
– The sequence of candidates at the election lists of political parties and coalitions should be structured in the following way: at least one in three persons on the list should be from the less represented sex.
– Closed lists with the sequence of candidates cannot be changed after elections.
– State Electoral Commission can approve election lists only if they are made in accordance with the principle from point 1;
– In case of changing one MP with another, during the same mandate, sex balance in the Parliament should be maintained, based on an adequate system;
We think that the introduction of quotas for the less represented sex into the new election law should be harmonized with Articles 8 and 18 of the Constitution of Montenegro that guarantee protection from discrimination and respect for the principle of gender equality. The law should also be harmonized with a number of international documents demanding reduction of the democracy deficit in legislative and other institutions through introduction of effective measures regulating participation of the less represented sex in politics.
The Parliament of Montenegro, as a key institution in our parliamentary democracy, should promote the highest standards of equality for all citizens and should be a model of conduct for all other institutions. Having this in mind, the signatories of this initiative are asking you to introduce quotas for the less represented sex into election law. For the list of signatories please click here.