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Seychelles: Women's representation quotas

Updated May 2008

The Constitution of the Seychelles (1993) makes no provision for quotas to advance the representation of women in publicly elected bodies, nor are there any other legal provisions to do so. Generally speaking the Constitution is gender blind. The equality clause of the Constitution (1993, Article 27.1.) guarantees formal equality of all people before the law and prohibits discrimination, but qualifies this in Article 27.2. so as to ensure that it does not hamper attempts to attain substantive equality: "Clause (1) shall not preclude any law, programme or activity which has as its object the amelioration of the conditions of disadvantaged persons or groups".

In the absence of any legal quotas to further women's representation, national representation levels of women have fluctuated since the multi-party elections of 1993 when women formed 27% of the members of the National Assembly to 24% in 1998, up to 29.4% in 2002 and then down to 23.5% in 2007 (see Gender issues: Women's representation in the Lower House of Parliament). The Seychelles uses a mixed member parallel system for electing members of the National Assembly, 25 members are elected in first-past-the-post single member constituency elections and up to 10 members by proportional representation from party lists. In comparison with other Southern African countries, the level of women's representation falls between those countries which use a proportional representation electoral system (between 27.3% for Namibia and 34.8% for Mozambique) and those that use a first-past-the-post system (between 11.29 for Botswana and 16.7% for Zimbabwe).

Party quotas

None of the political parties have imposed voluntary quotas on themselves to improve the levels of women's representation. In the 2007 National Assembly election 20% of the ruling Seychelles People's Progressive Front's (SPPF) candidates and only 8% the opposition Seychelles National Party (SNP)/Democratic Party (DP) electoral alliance were women (Betsy, L 2007). The SNP returned one woman to the National Assembly of 10 representatives; all seven of the constituency members were male and three of the four proportional members (Seychelles National Party Undated). It is not clear whether the other seven women elected were from the SPPF (this would mean that 30.4% of their representatives were women) or whether one was returned by the DP and the other six by the SPPF (26.1%).

Party leadership quotas

None of the political parties have quotas to further women's representation within party leadership structures. However, the Seychelles National Party has one woman (the treasurer) in the top three leadership positions, and four of the twelve Executive Committee members are women (Seychelles National Party Undated)

References

BETSY, L 2007 "Let us make Seychelles whole again" IN Seychelles Review, [www] http://www.seychellesreview.com/let-us-make-seychelles-whole-again-lewis-betsy (page offline 21 Jan 2010).

BRU, J 2000 'Statement by the Director General of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Manpower Development, Ms Janick Bru, to the Twenty-Third Special Session of the General Assembly "Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-First Century" 9 June, [www] http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/followup/beijing+5stat/statments/seychelles9.htm [opens new window] (accessed 21 Jan 2010).

CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SEYCHELLES 1993 (amended 1994, 1995, 1996 and 2000), [www] http://www.cmseducation.org/wconsts/seychelles.html [opens new window] (accessed 21 Jan 2010).

SEYCHELLES NATIONAL PARTY Undated "OFFICERS", [www] http://www.snpseychelles.sc/officers.htm (page offline 21 Jan 2010).

SEYHELLES PEOPLE'S UNITED PARTY 1976 The Constitution of the Seyhelles People's United Party, [www] http://www.sppf.sc/lepep/resources/misc/constitution.pdf [opens new window] (accessed 21 Jan 2010).

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