Friday 03 February 2023

Fundamentalist Christian party allows women MPs – on paper

As expected, the fundamentalist Christian party SGP on Saturday voted to allow women to stand for parliament on its behalf.

Members voted by 320 voor, 85 against in favour of changing the party’s general rules to state that the sex of a potential MP should not affect way the party’s list of candidates is draw up.

However, the SGP, which believes the Netherlands should be governed according to the Bible and has three seats in parliament, will not change its party principles which state that politics is not a job for women. This means the change of heart by the party is likely to be on paper only, experts said.

Courts

Last year, the Dutch supreme court and European Court of Human Rights ordered the party to give women the right to stand as MPs and councillors.

The European Court said in its ruling last July ‘the advancement of the equality of the sexes is today a major goal in the member States of the Council of Europe’, and that ‘very weighty reasons’ would have to be put forward to justify different treatment on the grounds of sex.’

The SGP took its case to the European Court after the Dutch supreme court ruled in 2010 the party must allow women to stand for election and that the state has a duty to ensure they have this right in practice.

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