Monday, July 27, 2009

Disputes Rise Over Quotas for Women MPs

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa Al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Jul 27 (IPS) - Disputes have arisen over new legislation setting a quota for female representatives in parliament. Spokesmen for the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) of President Hosni Mubarak describe the quotas as a milestone for women's rights, but some critics say the move threatens to create more problems than it solves......

The law was initially proposed by the NDP's powerful Policies Secretariat headed up by Mubarak's influential son, Gamal. "This draft law represents a historical turning point in the political role of Egyptian women," said NDP Secretary-General Safwat Sherif.

But opponents of the legislation - which include the Muslim Brotherhood, the liberal Wafd Party, the leftist Tegammua Party and most independent parliamentarians - question the new law's constitutionality.

"This law runs counter to the national charter, which doesn't mention anything about 'positive discrimination', or call for parliamentary quotas for particular demographic groups," Hamdi Hassan, a leading Muslim Brotherhood MP told IPS. "The Muslim Brotherhood supports broadening female political participation, but not by these methods."......"

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