Local election quotas worked, minister says

Defending its imposition of quotas for female candidates during last year’s local elections, the government said yesterday that the number of women councilors had rocketed as a result of the measure. Under a 2001 law, female – or male – candidates for municipal or regional offices must represent at least one third of the total number of people standing for election on their ticket. This does not apply to the parliamentary polls. Yesterday, Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis said overall participation by women in regional councils had increased 66 percent, with an average 18 percent of all councils made up of women – compared to 11 percent before the quotas were imposed. The corresponding increase in municipal councils was 32 percent, with an average 11.9 percent of all councilors being women. The top percentage of female councilors, at 36.6 percent, was in Athens.