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Civil society platforms push for Lebanese women to reach parliament

Lebanon's Feminist Civil Society Platform has released a list of demands for male and female candidates in the country's upcoming parliamentary elections in mid-May, as the country continues to grapple with low female political representation.

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Lebanon’s Feminist Civil Society Platform has released a list of demands for male and female candidates in the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections in mid-May, as the country continues to grapple with low female political representation.

The platform urged candidates to commit to “full equality between women and men, to prioritize this issue as future parliamentarians, and to work diligently to ensure women’s full participation in decision-making at all levels.”

Additionally, candidates were asked to ensure that all decisions they make are free of violence or discrimination. The details were reiterated during a press conference held on Monday, with 15 days remaining until the application period for the upcoming elections closes. There are only five female candidates registered with the Lebanese Ministry of Interior.

“Women in Lebanon are present in all economic, cultural, and scientific fields, and their representation in the judiciary and some private professions is close to or greater than 50 percent,” Claudine Aoun, head of the National Commission for Lebanese Women, said.

“However, the percentage of women in parliament does not exceed 4.7 percent, municipal councils do not exceed 6 percent, and the government has only one minister,” she added.

Her remarks came during a meeting of the commission with representatives from Lebanon’s political parties to discuss the implementation of the Lebanese government-approved national action plan for UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, security, and peace.

The commission has called for an increase in women’s representation in representative bodies throughout the country and in leadership positions in the public and political sectors, with the support of UN Women.

Last October, parliament rejected an amendment to the electoral law that would have included a quota for women, infuriating the only female member of parliament’s Development and Liberation parliamentary bloc, which is led by Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri.

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