Following the Parliamentary Elections held on February 24, 2019, over 25% of the Moldovan MPs are women. This represents the highest number of women elected in the Parliament in the country’s history.
Moreover, both the leadership of the Parliament and of the Government are currently represented by women, being the first-ever experience when the legislative and executive powers are hold by women-politicians. Seven out of 12 members of the current Government are also women. This is a major achievement for the country’s overall gender equality in politics and decision-making, that the development partners and the civil society have continuously advocated for. The question is – is it enough?
In 2019, the elections have been organized based on the mixed electoral system – a novelty for the Republic of Moldova. This electoral exercise has been internationally recognized as well organized and managed professionally and transparently at all levels. Out of 101 MPs, 50 were elected based on a proportional system and 51 MPs in the single-member constituencies (SMC). While the pre-electoral forecasts highlighted that the mixed system would affect negatively the representation of women in Parliament, the share of women MPs increased by 4.9% compared to the previous elections.
This increase in gender parity could be associated with the recent measures to encourage women's participation in elections. In 2016, the Parliament adopted a mandatory 40% gender quota for candidates of both genders, included on the political parties’ lists. The same legislative act offers an optional incentive to promote women as candidates in SMCs.
According to this legal provision, the political parties that have at least 40% women candidates proposed for the 51 SMCs will receive a 10% increase of the state budgetary allocation for the election year, as well as 5% for every woman elected as MP in a constituency.
Another measure to foster and encourage women's participation in elections on single-member constituencies was the reduced number of signatures to be collected for the registration in the electoral competition (250 signatures for women vs 500 for men).
In the competition for the 51 SMC seats participated 322 registered candidates, of which 68 women. As a result, 11 women were elected. As the gender quota for SMCs was optional, none of the political parties fulfilled it, while on the national lists, where this provision was mandatory – it was respected unanimously. Although, it is worth mentioning that the distribution of women in the parties’ lists was not homogeneous, with only 28% women candidates nominated in the first five positions and only 20% held the first position.
- All political parties fulfilled the mandatory 40% gender quota for the lists of candidates for the national constituency, while none respected the optional quota for the SMCs.
- While the number of women candidates for the Parliamentary Elections increased (compared with 2014), only 28% were nominated in the top five of the political parties’ lists for the national constituency and only 20% were in the top of the lists.
- Even though mechanisms to encourage women's participation in the electoral competition have been created, women continue to be reluctant in getting involved in politics. One of the potential factors is the perpetuation, at the national level, of stereotypes and preconceived thinking.
- As to maintain the positive trend in engaging women in the electoral processes, the Central Electoral Commission should continue its constructive communication with political parties on promoting the gender equality dimension at all levels.
- The results obtained in the 2019 Parliamentary Elections, from the gender perspective, shall be further increased by advocating for additional enhancements of the national legislation (e.g. Introducing legal requirements for a more balanced placement of women on the parties’ candidate lists).
- Stereotypes, which are amplified during the electoral periods, could be positively addressed through a consolidated and proactive public agenda, involving electoral management bodies, political parties, mass-media and civil society (e.g. Code of Conduct, developed by the Central Electoral Commission and signed by electoral candidates and mass-media).
The General Local Elections, scheduled for the 20th of October, are the next challenge for 2019. UNDP Moldova will continue the cross-cutting promotion of the gender dimension at the national level, focusing on continuous civic education, the replication of international and national best practices, as well as the wide acknowledgement of success stories of women’s involvement in electoral processes.
Learn more about the gender perspective of the 2019 Parliamentary Elections (infographics)
Authors: Eva Bounegru, Tanja Hollstein