By Staff Reporter
THE results of the EP 2014 elections in Cyprus – with only one woman elected out of six – should raise the alarm bells within political parties and civil society alike, the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS) said yesterday.
“The disappointing result signifies the systematic failure of the political system to ensure the equal representation of women and men in political decision-making,” it said.
According to MIGS, in 2009, one third of elected MEPs were women, a significantly higher percentage than the level in local authorities (17.8 per cent) and the national parliament (10.7 per cent) in 2011. While there was guarded optimism for this year’s EP elections, “all hopes were dashed” when party candidate lists revealed a mere 23 per cent female representation (down from 24 per cent in 2009) – “that is only 14 candidates out of 61”, MIGS said.
“Last night’s results demonstrate the lack of political will among our male-dominated political parties to ensure that the decisions made at all levels, and that affect the lives of all citizens, are taken by both women and men,” it added.
It said that with the Cyprus parliamentary elections nearing (2016), it was more urgent than ever to take immediate action to stop this downward trend.
Such action, MIGS said, must take the form of legislative quotas it said have been proven to be the most effective method to achieving gender balance in political decision-making and have been adopted with positive results in eight EU Member States and 100 countries across the world.
“At a time where voter apathy and abstention is at record highs, it is more important than ever to ensure that women have a voice and that they are considered equal partners with their male counterparts both within political parties, and within elected decision-making bodies,” says Susana Pavlou, MIGS Director.
The Institute calls on the Cyprus government to deliver on its promises to take action to rectify the democratic deficit resulting from the absence of women in decision-making, including the adoption of legislative quotas.
“The time has come for action, not for rhetoric,” it concluded.
EP elections: facts and figures
Registered voters: 606,916
Number who voted: 266,891
Turnout 43.97 per cent
Abstention rate 56.03 per cent
Ruling right-wing DISY 37.75 per cent – 97,732 votes
Left-wing AKEL 26.98 per cent – 69,852 votes
Centre-right DIKO 10.83 per cent – 28,044 votes
Socialist EDEK/Greens 7.68 per cent – 19,894 votes
Right-wing Citizens Alliance 6.78 per cent – 17,549 votes
Message of Hope 3.83 per cent – 9,907 votes
National Popular Front ELAM 2.69 per cent – 6,957 votes
Animal Party 0.88 per cent – 2,288 votes
Bicommunal DRASY–EYLEM (Deniz Birnici) 0.86 per cent – 2,220 votes
Independents: Sener Levent 1.05 per cent, Andreas Efstratiou 0.18 per cent, Theodoulos Theodoulou 0.03 per cent, Ioannou Andreas 0,11 per cent, Kyriakou Kostas (Utopos) 0,13 per cent, , Minas Michalis 0.08 per cent, Loucas Stavrou 0.03 per cent and Adamos Christoforou 0.03 per cent.