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Lebanese Women Call for 30 percent Quota in Parliamentary Seats | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Lebanon gets its very first ministry for women’s affairs [AFP]

Beirut– Lebanese women rallied on Wednesday to call for an increased female representation in any parliamentary electoral law approved by the different political parties.

While women constitute 51 percent of the Lebanese population and 54 percent of university graduates, they are merely represented in Parliament, as they currently occupy 3.1 percent of parliamentary seats.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri have stressed on several occasions their commitment to allocate a certain quota to women to support their active participation in political life.

On Wednesday, dozens of women and activists gathered in downtown Beirut to voice their demands for a women’s quota. State Minister for Women’s Affairs Jean Oghassabian joined the march to express his solidarity with the demonstrators.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Free Patriotic Movement MP Alain Aoun said that the parliamentary administrative and justice committee was currently studying “women’s quota”, in addition to other necessary reforms that should be implemented in the new electoral law.

Aoun added that while the majority of parliamentary blocs support the introduction of a women’s quota in the new law, some other blocs have expressed reservations on the matter.

“Reservations are not on women’s participation but rather on the quota,” the FPM deputy said.

For his part, Oghassabian expressed full support for women’s demands. “It’s a righteous cause; we will work on it until we reach the aspired goals.”

“We believe that women have strong capabilities; we need such energy inside Parliament and the government,” he said.

The minister hoped that Wednesday’s rally would spread across different Lebanese areas to guarantee a women’s quota in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Oghassabian also expressed the prime minister’s support to this endeavor.

“Prime Minister Hariri joins you in these demands and believes in your cause,” the minister said, addressing the demonstrators.