Democracy, electoral reform, Euro Election, european parliament

We had another meeting of the S&D Group this week.  You may not be surprised to know that the decision on the Commission President, which I reported on a few days ago, will be postponed until after the summer recess.  I must say I never doubted that it would be, though the leadership of the S&D Group is hailing this a a “massive victory” to quote President Martin Schulz.

President Martin Schulz

President Martin Schulz

Martin Schulz has, however, asked that there is some element of nascent democracy in the process, in that he wants the President of the Commission designate (designate in that there is no other candidate) , Jose Manuel Barosso, to appear at each of the political groups in the European Parliament with his manifesto for the next five years.  Groups can then agree his nomination if they find him convincing.  This strikes me as a good idea and is not unlike the “confirmation” hearings currently held by European Parliament Committees regarding individual Commissioners.

 But the Swedish Presidency do not agree with even this modicum of involvement by the European Parliament and the centre-right Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, wants to formalise the appointment of Commission President himself.  He is even intending to write to all heads of government in the EU to ask them to support Barosso.  It is beginning ot look as if this important decision will be taken by post rather than at a summit meeting.

None of this is good news for the EU and European democracy.  I can’t believe it would hurt to have a more open process, especially as there is only one name in the field.


albania, electoral reform

Recently I co-signed a letter with my colleagues in the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee to the Albanian Parliament. We congratulated the Parliament for passing a new Gender Equality Law which included gender quotas of 30% for women. We wrote at the request of women’s organisations in Albania and asked the Parliament to maintain the gender quotas in the upcoming reform of the Albanian Electoral Code.

The Committee has recently heard back from one of the women’s organisations. I have copied the letter below. It is great to hear that our work has helped the situation of women in the Balkans.

‘I am writing to say a HUGE thank you for your support to women’s organisations in Albania. The letter you sent to the Albanian Parliament was distributed shortly before the vote took place on the revised Electoral Code and greatly contributed to the outcome. On 20th November, the Committee voted in favour of a 30% gender quota. This is truly a historical moment in Albanian history for women’s rights and gender equality.

Thank you so much for your support and for the great difference you have made.’


electoral reform, Emily's List

As someone thoroughly committed to Electoral Reform, I’d like to recommend the following briefing. It’s certainly worth subscribing to.


Stories in this bulletin include: Conservative Candidates still most likely to be male – no surprise there then!


Global Gender Gap 2008 showing there’s plenty more work and campaigning for me to do…. have a read.