Reserved Seats for Women in Parliament

PNG Women will be watching their MPs cast their vote on 22 seats this session of Parliament.
(Monday, 15 November 2010).

Women around the country will be watching closely this session of parliament for the passage of the bill to enact 22 reserved seats for women by elective process.

Elizabeth Palme Interim provincial council of women’s President of Jiwaka said the focus will be particularly on the Leader of Government Business and Minister for National Planning and Monitoring Paul Tiensten to ensure the proposed Bill is put to a vote.

“Women throughout the country have welcomed the commitment made by Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare to push for the proposed Bill on 22 reserved seats for women during the coming session.

“We know that the proposed Bill is now on the notice paper of parliament business and our eyes are on Mr Tiensten to ensure that the PM’s commitment is put to a vote,” Mrs Palme said.

“While the 2010 Supplementary and 2011 National Budgets will take priority we feel that empowering women in Papua New Guinea is equally important as it is a vote in recognition of women who have not been adequately represented on the floor of Parliament over the last 35 years.

“The Prime Minister has reaffirmed his commitment towards women having a voice at the highest political level and we are hoping our bill will get the nod this session.   

“Law and order issues such as rape, violence and underage sex will remain unaddressed if there is no representation of women in the Parliament.

Women, who represent half of the population of PNG are victims of such crimes like rape and violence. Such issues will not be addressed adequately until there are enough women in the National Parliament to call for a change,” Mrs Palme said.

The proposed model for women seats will involve the creation of two-member provincial electorates. One will be a female who occupies the reserved seat for women and the other member will be the governor who occupies the existing Provincial seat.

The female member represents the province but she is not the governor. Her constituency is the entire population of the province and she sits in the national Parliament as well as the provincial assembly and is eligible to be appointed as a minister or chairperson of a parliamentary committee.



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