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While presenting draft amendments to the Election Code of Georgia for the first reading at the plenary session of the Parliament of Georgia held on 25 July 2013, Zakaria Kutsnashvili, Member of the Parliamentary Majority, declared: “We witness a catastrophic situation in the self-government bodies; the participation of women in the self-government bodies is close to zero, 0.00% in the extent of their participation.”

According to the amendment introduced into the Election Code of Georgia, state funding is increased for the political parties which keep a gender balance in their parties.

FactCheck

inquired whether or not the involvement of women in the self-government bodies is indeed “close to zero.”

Foremost, it should be noted that a local self-government body can be representative (city assembly) as well as executive (City Hall, gamgeoba).

Zakaria Kutsnashvili is speaking about promoting gender equality in terms of setting up quotas for women in the electoral lists of the parties and so, therefore, is referring to the executive bodies of the self-governments.

According to the data from the Central Election Commission of Georgia, in the Local Self-Government Elections of 2010 women received only 169 mandates out of 1,688 which represents a total of 10%. In the Local Self-Government Elections of 2006, this number was higher, specifically 10.8% (188 mandates out of 1 733).

We looked into the study of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy regarding this issue and found that only 10.9 % of the candidates nominated in single seat electoral districts were women while in proportional electoral lists this figure rose to 18.2%.  As well, 35 women withdrew from the elections prior to the elections day. As stated in the aforementioned study, “the indicator of 2010 is lower than from previous years” and, additionally, it is emphasised in the study that the number of women candidates gets lower with every new election.

As stated in the report

of the European Commission, in the European Union countries the percentage of women represented in the regional as well as local councils is 32%. Representation of women in regional councils exceeds 40% only in four countries of the European Union (France, Spain, Finland and Sweden). The same indicator is higher than 30% only in six countries (the United Kingdom, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Belgium). In the regional councils of Hungary, Italy and Romania the percentage of women is lower than 15%.

Representation of women in the local assemblies exceeds 40% in Sweden and 30% in the United Kingdom, Finland, Latvia, France, Spain, Denmark and Belgium.

Conclusion

Today 169 women have been elected to local self-government bodies and this amounts to 10% of the total representatives. We witness a pronounced negative dynamics. This indicator is significantly lower than the average of 32% in Europe; however, it is certainly higher than “zero percent”, or even a “close to zero percent.”

Accordingly, we conclude that the statement of Zakaria Kutsnashvili:  “We witness a catastrophic situation in the self-government bodies; the participation of women in the self-government bodies is close to zero...” is MOSTLY FALSE.