(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) By Waseem Abuhaider
BEIRUT, April 29 (KUNA) -- The May sixth parliamentary election in Lebanon is seen as a chance to reinvigorate the stale political scene in the country.
Out of the 976 candidates registered for the elections, an initial number of 113 female candidates had decided to venture into the race to win one of the 128-seats in parliament.
The digit dwindled to only 84 female candidates, which paints a clear picture of the challenge ahead. Lebanese women earned the right to vote and run for parliament in 1953.
Speaking to KUNA on the numerous challenges facing female candidates, founding member of the pioneering women society Nada Aneed said that the increasing number of female candidates was an indication that women in the country were becoming more politically enlightened.
However, the level of women participation in the political sphere was still not up to standard when compared to global statistics, said Aneed who noted that those women running for the race have a slim chance to land a seat in parliament when compared to their male counterparts.
She added that the outcome of the election might as well be predetermined when it came to women involvement in the race, stressing that it was important to have a quota to ensure that the women of people would have a place in parliament.
Echoing Aneed's statements, Zuwaiya Jardini -- chairwoman of the Kafaa society and parliament race hopeful -- said that the upgraded women involvement in the current race was important to reinforce the rights of Lebanese women.
The current political status quo, which somehow shows disdain to women involvement in parliament, should stop, said Jardini who also called for implementing a quota system to allow women to be in parliament.
On the upcoming election, Jardini called on women voters to take a vital historical step to show men that they are willing to stand for the rights of all Lebanese citizens.
On her part, Jessica Azar, a media personality and candidate, said that she believed that there was this unseen contempt by some men towards women's involvement in the parliamentary race.
This outlook towards women should change, said Azar who affirmed that women were capable of reaching parliament if they put their mind to it.
She indicated that women do not need a quota system to reach parliament if they unite their forces and political effort.
Similarly, fellow candidate Rana Al-Shimitly said that women were up to the challenge and will make a difference eventually.
Al-Shimitly criticized the current parliamentary election format, which forced people to pick certain candidates. She affirmed that her campaign would focus on various issues concerning women's rights and achieving a better life for Lebanese in general.
In the last election of 2009, only four women candidates made it to the 128-seats parliament. On the government level, the cabinet -- which includes 30 ministers -- has a sole female minister. (end) wsm.gta