The Malta Independent 3 October 2022, Monday
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Parliament could grow by 12 seats as gender corrective mechanism comes into force

Albert Galea Sunday, 27 March 2022, 07:30 Last update: about 7 months ago

Malta’s already sizeable Parliament could get quite a bit more populated when the full process of this weekend’s general election comes to a close in the coming days and weeks.

The reason for this is that this is the first year when Malta’s gender corrective mechanism, enacted into law last April, comes into effect.

This mechanism comes into effect when a gender has less than 40% representation in Parliament, and only if two political parties successfully elect representatives to the House.

So, if a third political party is elected, the matter stops there, and the corrective mechanism goes unused.

40% of Malta’s Parliament – where five MPs are elected from 13 districts for a total of 65 – equates to 26 MPs.

The mechanism can apply to both male and female candidates, but in this case the intention is to increase the number of women in Parliament since Malta has one of the lowest rates of female elected politicians across Europe.

If less than 40% of those elected are, in this case, women, then that is where the mechanism comes into play.

Under this mechanism, a number of candidates of the under-represented gender will be elected to Parliament until that 40% threshold is reached or until a maximum of 12 such candidates have been elected to Parliament. 

In any case where the mechanism is used, each party will elect an identical number of candidates in order to preserve the parliamentary majority which is determined by the election.

The mechanism will not be calculated on Sunday but will be calculated after any, and all casual elections, have taken place.

After that, the unelected female candidates of the two parties, who have not been elected are ranked according to their respective party, and according to the percentage of the quota of votes required for them to be elected in their district.  That percentage is worked out on the number of votes each candidate had to their name at the last count when they were knocked out of the running.

The top-ranking candidates are then the ones who are elected, according to the calculations mentioned above.

To recap: in practical terms, we can use two examples to illustrate the above: the first is if this year’s result is identical to that of 2017, when only seven out of 67 elected candidates were women. In such an instance, another 12 female candidates would be elected. This would mean that Parliament would be made up of 19 women out of 79 MPs. It is still below the 40% threshold, but the mechanism does not allow for more candidates to be added.

In the second case, we can consider a situation where 22 women are elected to Parliament out of 65. In such an instance, six female candidates (three from each party) will be elected to Parliament so that the new make-up is 28 out of 71 – equivalent to 40% female representation.

It is highly unlikely that the 40% threshold of women required for the mechanism not to come into force will be reached during this election.

The PN and the PL are fielding 33 female candidates between them, with the PN fielding 17 and the PL fielding 16.

We won’t, however, know exactly who of those will be elected to Parliament until a couple of weeks after election weekend.

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