AGE / Media Release - On the occasion of the Local Elections of October 22, 2017

September 05, 2017

The Agency for Gender Equality (AGE) of the Republic of Kosovo reminds political entities participating in the electoral campaign for the Local Elections of 22 October 2017, that respecting and implementing the Law on Gender Equality in Kosovo, Article 6, point (8) for equal gender representation in all legislative bodies with 50 percent representation for each gender is of utmost importance.

The Agency reminds political entities that equal gender representation in the country's political and legislative decision-making is a reflection and direct implementation of the Constitution of Kosovo according to which, "The Republic of Kosovo ensures gender equality as a fundamental value for the democratic development of the society, providing equal opportunities for both female and male participation in the political, economic, social, cultural and other areas of societal life."

The Agency for Gender Equality notes with concern that out of 91 political entities registered for Mayors in the 2017 Local Elections, only four candidates are women, or 4.4% of the total number of nominated candidates. Unfortunately, even in this round of local elections, Kosovo will fail to mark the desired progress for advancing women in decision-making, failing to meet the legal and constitutional obligation in meeting the gender equality agenda in Kosovo.

The 2013 local elections resulted in the election of a female mayor. Bearing in mind the outcomes from past elections and the candidacies currently proposed by the 2017 Local Elections, the advancement of women in local politics as leaders of governing institutions risks going down a deteriorating path that could potentially undo the progress achieved up until now. It is not enough to have a highly advanced legal and institutional framework supporting gender equality, even when such framework is comparable to some of the most progressive EU member states. We have neither the luxury nor the right to ignore laws ensuring equal representation and participation of men and women in Kosovo. Such laws work towards achieving equal and qualitative gender development, equal socioeconomic empowerment, equal representation and realization of aspirations of men and women, boys and girls in a just society and compatible with development trends.

The Agency for Gender Equality calls upon all registered political entities to respect and enforce the legal obligation for 50 percent representation of women candidates on the list of candidates for municipal assemblies. The Agency especially advices all political entities to increase the representation of women candidates for municipal assemblies in the municipalities of Drenas, Peja, Skenderaj and North Mitrovica where during the 2013 local elections, the representation of women in the respective municipal assemblies was below 30 percent. In addition, we would like to call upon political entities to also ensure ethnic representation on the lists of candidates for municipal assemblies, especially women and girls from Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian ethnic communities.