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Female candidates in Turkey’s local elections below 7 percent

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As Turkey’s upcoming local elections draw closer, the proportion of female candidates nominated by major parties for municipal posts are registered at below 7 percent, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported.

Based on figures provided by an association to promote women in politics, among the 3,646 nominees of six prominent political parties, only 245 are women.

The Kurdish political movement’s Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) constitutes an exception with its co-chair system, which requires that 50 percent of nominees be women.

The underrepresentation of women was also the case in the previous elections, the report said.

Some attribute the situation to the preferences of party chairs, while others point out the prevailing atmosphere in Turkish politics, which excludes and discourages women.

Nuray Karaoğlu, the head of the association, said the outlook in terms of the overall political atmosphere is grimmer than in the local elections of 2014, when women accounted for only 2.8 percent of the candidates.

Karaoğlu claimed that national politics are shaped and defined by men and that this puts many obstacles before female participation in the political debate.

According to a report by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) titled “Women in Politics: 2017,” Turkey was ranked 168th out of 193 countries in terms of women’s presence at the ministerial level and 131st in parliament.

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