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Afghanistan: Politics and Government

Volume 508: debated on Tuesday 23 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with officials of the Government in Afghanistan on the presidential decree in February 2010 on Afghan electoral law regarding the requirement for a quota of female parliamentarians in the Afghan Parliament; and if he will make a statement. (323551)

We are in regular contact with the Government of Afghanistan and have discussed the presidential decree at length. We understand that the changes to Afghan electoral law enacted by the decree do not affect the quota of parliamentary seats reserved for women, but the process for filling these seats if they are empty. Previously where there were fewer female candidates than there were seats reserved for women, the remaining seats were left empty. The decree allows these seats to be filled by men after an election, rather than remaining empty. We will continue to discuss this issue with the Government of Afghanistan.