Spain’s feminist organizations have lauded the participation of women in rallies and demonstrations in the months leading up to the 28th April general elections and the turnout of women at the polls as “key and decisive” in the victory of the centre-left Socialist party (PSOE) in nationwide general elections on Sunday.
While leaders of the feminist movement in Spain say it is still too soon to obtain clear numbers on the turnout of women versus men in the nationwide general election, they say the mobilization of women in defense of equality and women’s rights prior to the election and the strong turnout of women to cast their votes demonstrated both the strength of Spain’s feminist movement and the commitment of Spanish society to gender equality.
As important as the PSOE victory, they say the high turnout by progressive voters on election day ensured that Spain’s new ultra-right VOX party, which campaigned on an agressively anti-feminist platform, will not be included in any power-sharing accord with the conservative Partido Popular (PP) and centre-right Ciudadanos parties. Following December regional elections in Spain’s southernmost autonomous community of Andalucía, a right-wing coalition including VOX turned the Socialists out of power for the first time in 40 years.
Once called to order on 21st May, Spain’s new 350-member Congress will have the greatest number of women deputies in its history, voters having elected 164 women from all parties on Sunday, an increase of 26 women deputies over the number of women seated in the last session of Congress.
Women will now hold 46.8 percent of the seats in the lower house of Spain’s parliament, marking the first time in history that women in Spain’s Congress have broken through the 40 percent gender-balance barrier established by the European Union and come within single digits of achieving 50 percent gender parity.
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