Friday, 9 January 2009 4:44 PM

Dispute on Women in Parliament

The government's decision to provide ten seats in Parliament for women without going through the electoral process has been criticized by the Kwaio Development Association (KDA).

A spokesman for the Association told the Solomon Times in an interview that the Government's intention is "undesirable, illogical and unconstitutional."

He said that it is unconstitutional to have MPs in Parliament who do not represent any specific constituency in the country.

The spokesman said that the idea is illegal because there is no provision in the electoral act that would enable the Government to provide seats for women without going through the normal election process.

He added that parliament is the highest political institution in the country and it is important that its membership is being subject to the same process so that at least the people have the opportunity to have a say in who represents them.

The KDA spokesman said that it is obvious the people of the country have not yet decided to go for a woman MP.

He said this is reflected by the fact that despite attempts by women candidates in past elections, the people have not voted any of them in.

"Women are deceiving themselves to believe that because they have caring hearts and take up responsibility in the homes, this will automatically make them better leaders than men if they are elected to Parliament, because the system in Parliament is totally different from what some women in the country are imagining," he said.

The issue came up in the last meeting of Parliament in a question directed by the MP for West Makira Japhet Waipora at the Minister for Home Affairs James Tora.

Mr. Waipora wanted to know if the Government has any plans to ensure that women get into Parliament.

In response, Mr. Tora said that the Government was working on the electoral act and other relevant acts and regulations with the view to setting aside ten seats for women in Parliament without them having to go through the election process.