State of Palestine (Palestinian Territory, Occupied) has a Unicameral parliament with legislated quotas for the single/lower house and at the sub-national level. 17 of 132 (13%) seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council are held by women.
At a glance
Structure of Parliament: Unicameral
Are there legislated quotas...
- For the Single/Lower House? Yes
- For the Sub-National Level? Yes
Are there voluntary quotas...
- Adopted by political parties? No
Is there additional information?...
Last updated: May 19, 2020
Palestinian Legislative Council
|Quota Type||Legislated Candidate Quotas|
|Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas||Constitution|
The Palestinian Legislative Council consists of 132 seats, 50% of which are elected through a proportional representation system, with the other 50% elected through contests between individual candidates in multi-member districts (Article 3). The 2005 Election Law (Law No. 9) and the 2007 Decree on the Election Law state that political parties must have at least 1 woman among the first 3 candidates on the list, at least 1 woman among the next 4, and 1 woman among every 5 for the rest of the list (Article 4). The law applies to the proportional representation component of the election, and the lists are closed. This guarantees about 20% women among the candidates.
|Legal sanctions for non-compliance||Electoral law||The Central Election Commission shall reject the registration request of an electoral list if these requirements are not met.|
|Rank order/placement rules||Electoral law||See details under quota type.|
|Is the provision of direct public funding to political parties related to gender equality among candidates?||No data available|
|Are there provisions for other financial advantages to encourage gender equality in political parties?||No data available|
Quota at the Sub-National Level
- Quota type: Reserved Seats
|Quota type: Reserved Seats||Constitution|
According to Article 17 of the 2005 Local Elections Law:
‘1. In the local body in which the number of seats does not exceed 13, women should occupy no less than two seats:
a. One woman shall be among the first five names;
b. One woman shall be among the next five names;
2. In the local body in which the number of seats exceeds 13, a seat shall be allocated for a female candidate among the five names that follow the first 10 candidates organized in line with the provision of the Article 17, 1 (b) mentioned above;
3. Local bodies, which are formed in territorial entities in which the number of voters is less than 1000 according to the final table of voters, are excluded from provisions of paragraph (1) mentioned above. In such a case, the option for selecting places allocated for women among the candidates shall be left for the electoral lists.’
|Legal sanctions for non-compliance|
|Rank order/placement rules||Electoral law||‘If a post allocated for a woman in the local council becomes vacant, the woman that follows in the sequence of seats allocated for women in the same list to which she belongs shall replace her.’ ( Article 17, para. 4)|
The electoral legislation detailing the minimum number of women in parties’ candidate lists and the sanctions for non-compliance was introduced in 2005, an important reform attributed to a large extent to the lobbying of advocacy groups and organizations working on gender equality and women’s rights unified in the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC) and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. However, the initial objective set by the WATC to achieve the introduction of the minimum 30 per cent quota requirement for political parties’ candidates lists has not been achieved.
In the 2006 elections, 17 women were elected to parliament. All 17 were elected via the list proportional representation segment of the election, while none of the women candidates in the single member districts were elected.
At the sub-national level, before the system of quotas for women in local council elections was introduced, 56 women had registered as candidates for local council elections. Upon the introduction of the quota provisions into the law in December 2004, despite the fact that the elections were already underway in some districts, the number of women candidates jumped from 56 to 152. In August 2005, while local council elections were still underway, another set of new provisions entered into force, requiring that women be granted at least two seats in councils with up to 13 members, with at least one woman taking up the seat on the list within the first five names, and another one in the following set of five names. For other, larger councils, the next five candidates had to include at least one woman candidate (see above).
Following the collapse of the Fatah–Hamas unity government in 2007, President Abbas appointed the new government and issued a decree which revoked the electoral law adopted in 2005. The new decree, disputed by many as legally invalid, introduces a new proportional representation system and includes provisions on candidate quotas for women that are similar to those introduced by the 2005 electoral law. Due to the ongoing internal strife between Fatah and Hamas and the continued Israeli–Palestinian conflict, elections have not been held since 2006 and the ability of the Palestinian Legislative Council to function properly is severely limited.
- Decree of September 2 on Election Law (2007), accessed 04 April 2014;
- Palestine Election Law 2005, accessed 04 April 2014;
- Palestine Local Elections Law no. 10 (2005), accessed 04 April 2014;
- Azzouni, S., ‘Palestine’, in S. Kelly and J. Breslin (eds), Women’s Rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Progress Amid Resistance (New York: Freedom House, 2010), accessed 04 April 2014;