Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Colombian Bill Would Boost Female Legislative Representation

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The bill introduced on Thursday by the Liberal Party and backed by the opposition, including the Polo PatriĆ³tico party, would fund up to 40 percent of campaign expenses for parties that include more women on their political lists. Five percent of those funds would be distributed according to the exact number of women elected.

The first debate over this bill and the newly introduced law on political reform has placed both the Liberal Party and opposition in agreement that the existing Law on Quotas is insufficient. It provides increased funding if a party puts forward a list with more than 30 percent female candidates, but only 10 percent of women actually participate.

But opposition to the bill exists. For example, Senators Armando Benedetti (La U) and Luis Fernando Velasco (Liberal Party) argue that the percentage of women should not be raised beyond the current levels.

If passed, this would be the first step toward a potential constitutional reform that would introduce a 50 percent female requirement for the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, a considerable advancement for female legislative representation in the Americas.

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