Design digest: election quotas in Kenya

Representation is of paramount importance in most modern democracies. In many countries quotas are set to encourage participation among women, minorities, and other traditionally underrepresented social groups.

Kenya is an interesting case in this regard. In August 2017 Kenyans will vote for their president and deputy president, and members of both houses of a bicameral legislature.

Sixteen seats in the Senate are reserved for female candidates, two more for youth members (one male, one female), and two more still for disabled members (one male, one female), all of whom are nominated by 47 elected Senators (one per county).

Similarly, 290 members of the lower house are joined by 47 women representatives (one per county). Meanwhile, twelve more representatives are nominated by parliamentary parties to represent special interests.

The status of these quotas appears to be in a state of flux, however. In a decision of April 2017, the Kenya High Court has threatened to dissolve Parliament early if it does not enact legislation enforcing Constitutional provisions on gender quotas.

More here on this last story. Background on the Kenyan political system here.


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