Implementing Gender Quotas: Spotlight on Sudan
Implementing quotas in Sudan
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Lessons Learned From Other Countries

In Spring 2008, the two major factions of Sudanese politics, the ruling party, the National Congress (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) met to create an electoral law for the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, as agreed upon in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). There were two contentious issue the two parties could not agree upon. First was the number of seats that would be proportional and the number of seats that would be elected from geographic majoritarian districts. Second was how to implement the 25% quota that was agreed upon in the 2005 CPA.[1]

 

The SPLM argued that due to the heterogeneous nature of Sudan, proportional representation (PR) would be the best system. They proposed to divide the electoral system in half: 50% of the seats would be elected by PR and 50% of the seats would be elected by a majority election system. In addition, they proposed that the quota should be candidate party-list based.[2]

 

bashir_holds_election_law.jpg
President Bashir holds a copy of the 2008 Election Law

With a greater number of Sudan’s 300 tribes in the South, the North feared that it would lose its majority position in government if it abided by the SPLM’s plan. Instead, the NCP proposed that 40% of the electorate should be chosen from a PR system and 60% from a majority system. Regarding women, they proposed reserved seats for women by creating separate electoral lists for women.

In the end, the NCP position was adopted.[3] The SPLM said it backed the law to facilitate elections on schedule, but they criticized the NCP plan for quotas because they felt it would not integrate women into the political party system.[4] Following the passage of the electoral law, Sudanese women demonstrated against the law, arguing that women should have remained on the main party lists. “We are not as different as women we are different as political parties," Mariam al-Mahdi, from the opposition Umma Party.[5]

[Go to comparative analysis of PR and majoritarian electoral systems]



[1] “Constitutional Body Postpones Discussion on Sudan’s Electoral Law.” Sudan Tribune. February 23, 2008. http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article26101

[2] “Taha and Salva Hold Meetings in Juba on Sudan Elections, Abyei.” Sudan Tribune. Saturday 21 June 2008 09:30. http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article27599

[3] “Sudan Paves Way for Vote by Approving Electoral Law” AFP. July 7, 2008. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5h8-beNLvPweltcL7H1nx0qCIFbtA

[4] “Sudan Paves Way for Vote by Approving Electoral Law” AFP. July 7, 2008. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5h8-beNLvPweltcL7H1nx0qCIFbtA

[5] “US Welcomes Adoption of Sudanese Elections Law.” Sudan Tribune. July 9, 2008. http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article27793