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France elects women to record 156 parliamentary seats, as gender balance policy pays off

France voted a record number of women into parliament on Sunday, thanks largely to President Emmanuel Macron's decision to field a gender-balanced candidate list for his victorious Republic on the Move (LREM) party.

As of late Sunday evening there were 156 women lawmakers elected to France's National Assembly, already more than ever before, and with 148 seats as yet undecided.

Catherine Barbaroux, LREM's acting president, hailed the increase in women's share of parliamentary seats.

"For the first time under the Fifth Republic, the National Assembly will be deeply renewed -- more diverse, younger," she said. "But above all, allow me to rejoice, because this is a historic event for the representation of women in the National Assembly."

Female parliamentary representation has increased steadily in France in recent years, with the 2012 elections seeing a record 155 women -- 26.9 percent -- voted in, up from 18.5 percent in the 2007 elections and 12.3 percent in 2002.

Yet although France has a system in which funding for political parties is restricted if women do not make up at least 49 percent of its parliamentary candidates, most parties still field more men for election.

Even where women do run for seats, they tend to be in constituencies where they are unlikely to win, keeping the numbers of women who make it to the Palais-Bourbon low.

"En Marche ... proactively decided to give winning seats to women," said 34-year-old Brune Poirson, who beat the FN in the Vaucluse district in southeastern France to be elected to parliament. "This is a really bold move."

Source: Japan Times


Päivitetty/Updated: 19.06.2017

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