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Historic women's bill defeated in Papua New Guinea

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 21 Dec 2011 18:12 GMT
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BANGKOK (TrustLaw) – A historic bill aimed at guaranteeing seats for women in Papua New Guinea’s parliament has failed to get the votes required, a casualty of the ongoing political crisis engulfing the country, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The bill, which faces opposition from a male-dominated parliament and culture, received 58 votes in support and three against. The bill needed 73 votes to become law, but less than 70 of the 109 members of parliament attended Monday’s sitting.  

Papua New Guinea’s current political impasse, where two factions are claiming to be the government, meant most members of one faction did not turn up for the sitting.

The vote was rescinded and rescheduled for debate next year.

The Equality and Participation Bill, a legislation years in the making, would guarantee 22 seats for women parliamentarians. The first stage of the series of legal changes to create the seats was passed last month.  

Dame Carol Kidu, the driving force behind the bill, is currently the only female member of parliament in the country.

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