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Political parties must respect gender quota for candidacies

The political parties or coalitions must comply with, at least, 30% and, at most, 70% for candidacies of each gender for the proportional offices. The requirement only became effective as from 2009, when there was sanction of the first small electoral reform. The original wording of the Elections Act (Act no. 9,504/1997) only provided for reserved offices for women’s participation.

In the event of noncompliance with such quota, the Regional Electoral Court (TRE), by analyzing the Statement of Compliant Political Acts (DRAP), may notify the political party or coalition to, within 72 hours, cure the noncompliance, presenting new candidates that meet the requirement. If the noncompliance is not cured, DRAP will be rejected by TRE, with possibility of filing an appeal against the decision.

Should the party or coalition comply with the rule, but the Electoral Court System denies registration of one of their candidates, such candidate may be replaced for another of the same gender until August 6 (last day for requesting candidacy registration for the proportional elections, in the event of replacement, within, at most, 10 days, as from the fact or court order that resulted in the replacement - Act no. 9,504/97, article 13, §§ 1st and 3rd). In such event, considering the end of the stipulated term, the party may not appoint a substitute candidate; thus, losing the possibility to hold the respective office.

Campaign

Although there are such devices, nowadays many political parties fail to respect the order set forth by law. As a result, women’s participation in politics is still of little significance. The number of women elected in the last general elections, in 2010, is still much inferior to the one of men. From the 513 members elected for the Chamber of Deputies, for example, only 45 congresswomen were elected, which corresponds to 9% of the total amount. For the Senate, seven women senators (13%) were elected, considering the 54 seats (two-thirds) available in such dispute.

In order to change such scenario, the Electoral Court System invests in campaigns for encouraging women’s participation in politics. In March 2014, TSE launched, with support of the National Congress, the campaign “Mulher na Política” (Women in Politics). The main purpose of such campaign was to raise awareness of political parties about recognizing the importance of gender equality, which matter is provided for in election laws.

2014 Candidacies

The result of the Electoral Court System campaigns is particularly found in relation to candidacies. The number of women running for any office in the General Elections of this year is 61 % higher than in the last dispute, in 2010. In 2014, 31.07% candidates registered with the Electoral Court System are women, representing a total of 8,120 women running for offices in the majority and proportional elections. In the 2010 election, there were 5,056 women candidates (22.43%). It is important to point out that the data of the Candidacy Disclosure System (DivulgaCand 2014) is subject to update, and there may be changes in occasional numbers in future consultations.

Background

Electoral quotas in Brazil were created in 1995, by means of Act no. 9,100, only for municipal elections, which determined a minimum quota of 20% for women. With the Elections Act (Act no. 9504/1997), such percentage increased to 30% and started to be considered for all proportional offices in municipal, state and federal elections.

Among the changes in election and political laws, the small electoral reform (Act no. 12,034/1999) replaced the expression “must reserve” for “will hold”, at least, 30% and, at most, 70% of candidacies of each gender, establishing, in this event, the mandatory quota.