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PACE credentials of new Icelandic delegation challenged on grounds of gender balance

24.06.2013 – The credentials of the new Icelandic delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have been challenged on the opening day of the Assembly’s summer plenary session in Strasbourg on the grounds that it does not contain at least one Representative who is a member of “the under-represented sex”, as required by the Rules.

Making the challenge, José Mendes Bota (Portugal, EPP/CD), pointed out that national delegations should include women members at least in the same percentage as in their parliaments and, at a very minimum, at least one woman appointed as a Representative. “They’re all men,” he said. As the Rules require, he was supported by at least ten members present in the Chamber, belonging to at least five national delegations.

The Assembly’s Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs will now consider the matter, and the Assembly should reach a final decision on Wednesday afternoon. The members of the delegation may take their seats provisionally in the Assembly until then, with voting and speaking rights.

The 318-member Assembly, which meets four times a year in plenary session, brings together delegations from the national parliaments of all 47 Council of Europe member states.