Gender Quotas and Representation – Niger

Gender Quotas and Representation

Niger

The law, 2000-008 was passed in June 7, 2000 to create a quota system for all elected positions in an effort to enable all citizens of Niger, without discrimination, to express their views on public affairs directly or through their elected representatives. This law sought to insure the equal opportunity for all citizens to gain access to government positions. The decree 2001-56/PRN/MDSP/PF/PE of February 28, 2001 provides the specific details related to the enforcement of this law.

Article 3 of the Law states, “during legislative or local elections, the lists of candidates submitted by political parties, coalitions of political parties or coalitions of independent candidates, shall include principal candidates of both genders.” The proclaimed final results shall not include a proportion of elected officials for one gender or the other that is less than 10% of all elected officials.

Article 3 of the decree also states, “all political parties, or coalitions of political parties or independent candidates, after obtaining three elected members, shall round to the superior figure the proportion of elected candidates of the relevant gender corresponding to the 10% quota.” The 10% rate is applied to the total number of elected candidates obtained by a political party, coalitions of political parties, or of independent candidates for each list.

For the 2011 legislative elections, women comprised 19.3% of the principal and alternate candidates of the validated candidate lists. As in the previous National Assembly, 14 women were elected. Only one woman contested the 2011 presidential election, Bayard Mariama Gamatie, obtained 0.38% of the vote share. As with the other candidates, she benefited from equal access to the media.

A current debate exists whether to raise the representation of women in the National Assembly to 25%. In a country that has one of the world’s lowest school enrollment rates, some think that 25% of seats at the National Assembly should be reserved to illiterate citizens.

On October 28, 2014, Nigerien parliamentarians adopted a number of bills including amending and supplementing certain provisions of Law No. 2000-008 of June 7, establishing a quota system in elective office, in the Government, and in the Administration. The purpose of the amendment is to increase the proportion of candidates of either gender from 10 to 15% for elective positions. Although this change prompted controversies during the debate, the amendment was approved unanimously by deputies.

Article 3 of the Law stipulates that “in the parliamentary and local elections the lists submitted by a political party, group of political parties, groups of independent candidates must include candidates of both sexes. When the results were announced, the proportion of either sex must not be less than 15% at national level for the election of deputies, and on municipal and regional list [of candidates] for the election of councilors.”

Article 4 of the Law states: “In appointing members of the government and promoting high level civil service positions, the proportion of persons of either sex must not be less than 25%.” An amendment to the Act indicates that the non-compliance with the provisions entitle the directly concerning persons to enter an appeal before the competent courts.

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