Government lauds failure of appeal against gender law
Legislation ensures balance between the sexes of political candidates31 January 2008
MADRID - The government on Wednesday applauded a Constitutional Court decision to reject an appeal against a law introduced last year that forces political parties to ensure no more than 60 percent of their candidates in any election are of the same gender.
The ruling late Tuesday night hands the governing Socialist Party an important judicial victory ahead of the 9 March general election, the first since the controversial Equality Law went into effect.
"This is a great day for the rule of law, for democracy and for women," Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero declared. He argued that opponents of the legislation had not been "against the law but against the rights of women in our society."
Spain's main opposition Popular Party filed the appeal soon after the law was passed by Congress in March last year. The conservative party alleged that the rules on the makeup of candidate lists amounted to a form of "discrimination."
"It is clearly a restriction of the freedom of parties to choose their candidates," the PP argued.
However, the court noted that the law does not stipulate that 60 percent of candidates must be women, simply that no one gender can constitute more than that proportion of any candidate list. Of the 12 Constitutional Court judges, 10 voted against the appeal.
[Copyright EL PAÍS 2008]
Subject: Spanish news