Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Právo: Social Democrats to give up quotas for women

ČTK |
13 February 2018

Prague, Feb 12 (CTK) - The Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) are giving up the quotas for women in their leadership and on the lists of election candidates in the draft new statutes that their extraordinary congress on February 18 is to debate, daily Pravo wrote on Monday.

The paper refers to a document that the CSSD Central Executive Committee (UVV) discussed on Saturday.

The conditions of at least one woman in the party's narrow leadership and the 60-40 percent ratio for both genders representation on lists of election candidates were proposed under CSSD chairman Bohuslav Sobotka and approved in a party referendum four years ago.

Now, the CSSD commission for statutes has decided to delete all types of discrimination, both positive and negative, which applies not only to the quotas for women, but also for the share of young and elderly members in the party bodies and on lists of candidates.

The quotas made it difficult to form the candidates' lists in some regions if, for instance, only few women were interested in running in elections, Pravo says.

"The draft reflects the members' demands and it was subsequently debated in the regional bodies," statutes commission chairman Roman Vana told Pravo.

Besides, the CSSD is to replace the members' costly postal voting by voting online, inspired by the Pirates, which would considerably facilitate the party's internal referenda.

The CSSD will also considerably slim down its bodies, Pravo writes.

"There would be the party leadership, that is the chairperson and deputy chairpersons. Then there would be the broader leadership comprised of the (narrow) leadership and representatives of all regions and the UVV, that is the broader leadership plus representatives of all districts," Vana said.

The number of congress delegates would be cut, too. While some 570 delegates are preparing to attend the February congress, under the new statutes only some 350 would take part in it. The CSSD UVV would have 115 members compared to the current 180, Pravo says.

A lower number of congress delegates will decrease the costs a lot. The upcoming congress to be held in Hradec Kralove, east Bohemia, on Sunday will cost some six million crowns, while if the new statutes were in force, its costs would be 0.5 million crowns, Vana said.

The congress delegates will gain their mandate for two years.

Moreover, the CSSD should use its own real estate as venues of the party's events to avoid paying a lease. The Sunday congress will take place in the party's own building in Hradec Kralove, the paper adds.

On the contrary, the new statutes will preserve the condition of at least four-year party membership for a candidate to run for the leadership, which part of the Social Democrats wanted to delete to open the party to non-affiliated personalities.

This point was recently discussed in connection with a possible candidacy of Vysocina Governor Jiri Behounek (unaffiliated, elected for the CSSD) for the party chairman, Pravo says.

The new statutes are not to require that all members must approve the candidates' lists for regional and general elections. The members decided on this condition in an internal referendum in 2014 when almost 89 percent of them supported it.

Newly, all members would vote on the candidates' lists only if a congress approved this before primary elections.

The new party statutes were criticised by CSSD senator Jiri Dienstbier, former human rights and gender equality minister and one of the authors of the old ones.

He agrees with no quotas to be applied in the CSSD bodies, but he would like to preserve them on the lists of candidates and insists on the condition of minimally one woman in the leadership.

Dienstbier also minds that all members would no longer vote on the election candidates' list. "I consider this a mockery of the rank-and-file," he said.

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