Exploring Suitable Electoral Systems for Promotion of Women’s Representation in Tanzania and Rwanda


  • Victoria Melkisedeck Lihiru




This article explores suitable electoral system(s) for the promotion of women’s representation in the Tanzania and Rwanda from a legal standpoint. The scrutiny of international law finds an absence of legal guidance on the favorable electoral system for enhancing the participation of women in elections, except trivially under the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The Declaration calls for states and parties to adopt electoral systems that encourage political parties to nominate women candidates. The first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system as applied in Tanzania operates without candidate gender thresholds, and consequently does not encourage political parties to nominate women candidates. While the proportional representation (PR) electoral system has placed Rwanda as a global leader in women’s representation in parliament, the system is set at 30 percent and does not expressly decree the gender quota or the positioning of women in the political parties’ candidate lists. This article discusses the advantages and challenges associated with the FPTP electoral system as well as the PR electoral system in Tanzania and Rwanda respectively, in light of international law principles, and offers recommendations on needed adjustments.