Half of candidates would be women
BY VÍCTOR MAYÉN
A new electoral reform proposal seeks to ensure that half of all candidates for the Senate and Chamber of Deputies are women.
President Enrique Peña Nieto presented the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) proposal on Tuesday, which he said would modify the Federal Electoral Procedures Code (Cofipe) to establish principles of relative majority and proportional representation in the election of senators and deputies. The reform would prohibit political parties from announcing female candidates only to later replace them with men, currently a common practice.
It would instead require substitutes to be of the same gender. The proposal does not address the primary concerns of opposition parties, which made electoral reform a condition of their joining the Pact for Mexico. Both the National Action Party (PAN) and Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) have been calling for controls on campaign financing and runoff voting in place of the principle of relative majority, where candidates need only win a plurality of votes to take office.
Peña Nieto won last year’s presidential elections with 39 percent of the vote, making him the preferred candidate, but leaving him well short of an absolute majority.
This proposal, which must now be debated by the Senate, “has the goal of guaranteeing the effective exercise of political rights through the establishment of effective instruments to integrate women into elected positions,” Peña Nieto said.
“(It) recognizes that in our country, we have historically seen marked gender discrimination, which has prevented women from freely exercising their rights — among others, their political rights that are established in the Constitution and in the various international agreements to which the Mexican government is a signatory,” he went on to say.
The current legislature is the most equal in Mexican history, with 44 out of 128 Senate seats held by women, as well as 187 out of 500 in the Chamber of Deputies. Nevertheless, Peña Nieto said there is still a long way to go to ensure that true political equality between men and women becomes an everyday reality.
Originally published on The News