Algeria: Parties Present “Invisible” Female Parliamentary Candidates

The run-up to the May 4th parliamentary election is being marred with a gender controversy after some political parties left the images of female candidates on their official campaign posters blank. The female candidates were represented with an avatar wearing a Hijab while the face was left blank in white. The Independent High Authority for Election Monitoring (HIISE) has issued a warning to the concerned political parties to either display the images of the female candidates on their posters by Thursday or their candidatures will be revoked. Parties are obliged to field female candidates under a 2012 law requiring women to make up between 20% and 50% of candidates on electoral lists.

Hassan Noui, a HIISE official, deplored that “this kind of encroachment is dangerous; it is not legal and it opposes all laws and traditions.” Five parties are reported to be involved in such practices which have been notable with parties in the Bordj Bou Arreidj Province. Noui explained that “it is every citizen’s right to know” whom to vote for with the help of their portraits. 63 parties and many independent lists are competing for 462 seats in the lower house of parliament.

One of the parties affected is the Socialist Forces Front (FFS) and it “vigorously condemns this practice which is incompatible with the party’s values,” Hassan Ferli stated. The FFS official added that the posters are “regrettable” after blaming the party’s communications team in Bordj Bou Arreridj because the FFS is committed to equality between men and women.

The country has around 22 million eligible voters. The political parties are hoping that the electorates will participate significantly in the elections. They are also calling for dialogue in shaping the country’s future. The ruling National Liberation Front has enjoyed dominance in the parliament over the past elections.

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