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Blocking Seat for Gender Affirmative Policy

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During a hearing session regarding the new elections law bill at the House of Representatives, a member of the Special Committee for the new Elections Law Bill from the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura), Rufinus Hutauruk, proposes to the members of the Parliament to implement blocking seats or reserved seats policy for female candidates so the 30 percent gender quota can be fulfilled. According to Rufinus, the blocking seats policy will guarantee the fulfillment of the 30 percent gender quota in Parliament.

“Women activists should not be hesitant. If they believe that they have what it takes to be members of parliament, then they should ask for such policy. I recommend that the government should separate the election for 187 female candidates from the rest of the available seats in national legislative election,” says Rufinus.

Many members of political parties agree to this recommendation, such as members of the Indonesian Democracy Party-Struggle (PDI-P), Golongan Karya (Golkar), Grand Indonesia Movement (Gerindra), and Nation Awakening Party (PKB).

“This is not a mere lip service. I’m seriously recommending blocking seat policy,” says a parliamentary member from Gerindra, Nizar.

During the session, there are three women activists organizations, they are Go Forward Indonesian Women (MPI), Indonesia Female Politicians Coalition (KPPI), and Women’s Voice Empowerment Movement (GPSP). All activists from the three organizations enthusiastically welcome the recommendation. They hope the recommendation can really be implemented.

“We warmly welcome this recommendation. However, we should remind all the legislators that they have to make sure that the blocking seats should never be determined by political parties. If that’s the case, political party will only assign those seats for their dynasty (family members), political elites, or popular figures,” says the Chairperson of GPSP, Endang Widyastuti Dungga.

The Chief of the Special Committee for the new Elections Law Bill, Muhammad Lukman Edy, suggests that female candidates should still openly compete with each other so the blocked seats will not be dominated by political parties’ elites.

Lukman also says that this recommendation might actually be implemented because there are many political parties support it.

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