Women in Parliament: Quotas and Beyond

Feb 2009
Adriana Sri Adhiati

Elections in Indonesia are now often regarded as genuine ‘festivals of democracy’, events to be celebrated after more than the three decades of dictatorship when elections were rigged and the outcome was always predictable. As the 2009 elections draw near and the hustle and bustle of election fever intensifies, a question in many people’s minds is: Will women win a larger share of the seats than in the two elections that followed Suharto’s downfall?

In December, with less than four months to go before this year’s election of the national and provisional assemblies, the Constitutional Court issued a ruling that could make the statutory quota for women candidates ineffective since candidates with the most votes will be elected irrespective of gender.

The ruling has been met with a mixed response. While some political parties have welcomed it for upholding democratic values, women’s groups are worried that it may damage the position of women in the political process.

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