DRC: Women's representation quotas
Updated March 2008
The Constitution (2006, Article 14) requires that the state ensures the equality of gender representation at all levels, national, provincial and local. The Electoral Law (Law 06/006 of March 2006, 13) requires that lists of candidates or coalitions should take into account the equal representation of men and women, but also that candidate lists are not rendered invalid by the failure to attain parity. However, no legal measures were adopted, whether quotas or otherwise, to give effect to these measures and, as the EISA report on the 2006 elections (2007, 23) notes, "these provisions seem only to be statements of intention, as there were no adequate mechanisms in place to ensure and enforce equal gender representation in the 2006 national and provincial elections".
The electoral system used militated against adequate representation of women in elective bodies, for the "situation was exacerbated by the use of the open party list rather than closed lists, as voters in patriarchal societies tend to choose male candidates. The EISA Mission learnt that a number of women's organisations and groups lobbied unsuccessfully for party lists to be compiled on a 'zebra' basis, whereby male and female candidates alternate on the national and provincial assembly electoral lists" (EISA 2007, 23). The outcome of all this was that women formed only 11% of presidential candidates and 13.5% of parliamentary candidates and only 8.4% of members elected to the National Assembly were women (EISA 2007, 24, 87).
Three of the main political parties, the ruling People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD), the opposition Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) and the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) all adopted a 30% quota for the representation by women but these quotas were not implemented in the nomination of candidates (Ngoy-Kangoy 2006, 57; Kalombo 2006, 16). Far from advancing women's representation, "it was observed that intra-party selection procedures undermined democratic values or hindered the representation of women and other disadvantaged groups" (EISA 2007, 20).
KALOMBO, G 2006, "Gender issues" IN Election Updates DRC 2006, 1" [PDF].
NGOY-KANGOY, HK 2006, "Gender equality" IN Parties and Political Transition in the Democratic Republic of Congo" [PDF], EISA Research Report 20, 57-58.