04/24/2023, 11.22
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Turkey, female representation initial loser: less than 20 per cent MPs

Only 117 female candidates could enter parliament after the vote on 14 May. A slight improvement on the 17% of the last elections in 2018, but still an indication of poor representation. In a climate of uncertainty Erdogan's election promises: the latest is free gas for all households from a newly discovered gas field.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - In Turkey's parliamentary and presidential elections on May 14, characterised by great uncertainty and destined to determine the country's future in the region, as well as Recep Tayyip Erdogan's personal future, there is already one big loser: women.

From the current government coalition to the opposition movements, including the 'Table of Six', which presents itself as the fiercest front to contest victory for the 'sultan', none of the camps has focused on the so-called 'pink quotas'.

Checking the electoral lists, pro-human rights groups point out that "only 117 female MPs could enter the Assembly", with a percentage figure that does not even reach one fifth of the total and stops at 19.50%. 

Raising the issue of women candidates (and their representativeness) in the vote on 14 May is a women's rights movement, which attacks all the main parties running in the elections. In spite of a non-marginal presence of women, explain the activists of the 'Women's Platform for Equality' (EŞİK), many of them are placed in positions that - in fact - zero chance of success. 

Among the parties, the Left-Greens (Ysp) have the largest number on the issue of pink quotas, with 41.54% of female candidates on the lists. The lowest figure is that of the Nationalist Movement Mhp, with a measly 4% of women candidates. President Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (Akp) and its ally Mhp, the Republican People's Party (Chp), the main opposition movement, and its ally İYİ Party have no female candidates in 34, 40, 21 and 22 provinces respectively.

According to projections made by EŞİK activists based on the electoral lists filed by the various parties, there will be no female representation in Parliament in at least 33 provinces out of the 81 in total.

The group estimates that only 117 female MPs will have access to Parliament, a percentage figure of 19.5 per cent, which is slightly higher than the 2018 figure, when women elected to the assembly were only 17 per cent of the total.

The eve of the vote is characterised by uncertainty and the main demoscopic institutes predict a runoff for the presidential seat. In fact, neither of the two main candidates, Erdogan and opposition rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu, have the votes to win in the first round where a 50% majority is required.

In this framework of tension and single-vote struggle, the outgoing leader multiplies promises and benefits to the population to secure a new mandate. The latest, in order of time, is the delivery to families of the first tranche of natural gas extracted from an off-shore field discovered in 2020 in the Black Sea.

The announcement is the latest in the government's many attempts to flaunt big energy and infrastructure projects in the run-up to the vote. 'We will provide free natural gas for household consumption up to 25 cubic metres per month for one year,' Erdogan promised at the inauguration of an on-shore natural gas plant in the northern province of Zonguldak. And for the next month, the decisive month of the election, 'unlimited and free gas consumption for everyone', he concluded.

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