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National Democratic Institute: Underrepresented Groups Face Barriers to Political Participation
On Friday, the Network for the Empowerment of Women in Albania (AWEN) with the support of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Albania presented at a joint table the findings of the report regarding the representation and participation of underrepresented groups in the electoral processes in our country.
This report highlighted the main issues related to the lack of diversity of vulnerable groups in political representation.
"Political parties do not have dedicated provisions in their party statutes, nor strategies for empowering underrepresented groups, such as the LGBTIQ+ community, Roma and Egyptian minorities, persons with disabilities, etc.," the report cites.
The report focused mainly on this year's local election process, where a marked lack of representation of these groups was noted.
"There are no legal obstacles for the participation of these groups in political parties or electoral processes, but we are all aware that there are social and individual obstacles", said Edlira Ngjeci during the presentation of the findings of the report.
According to the report, persons with disabilities are not included in any election charter of any political party.
"The main barriers that prevent the full participation of people with disabilities include limited access to the physical environment and information, the disaggregated data unavailable on disability, as well as stereotypes and prejudices against them", cite the findings of the analysis carried out the AWEN network.
The report also raises the issue of the low political participation of the Roma and Egyptian community, as a result of the reluctance of the community members due to the discrimination they face.
"After all these years, we still haven't managed to have a representative in the City Council", said Romina Sefa, executive director of the Center for Social Advocacy.
The same phenomenon occurs with members of the LGBT community.
The report cites that there are no members of the LGBTIQ+ community running or participating openly as part of this community in the electoral process in Albania.
"Political parties are reluctant to support their participation", added Edlira Ngjeci, while explaining the findings.
Another issue that the report highlights is the lack of representation of women and young people in politics
"Women's access to finance is considered one of the main obstacles that prevent women from participating in politics. Women have less access to networks that raise funds for campaigns", said Edlira Çepani, based on the study reports of the Network for Equality in Decision-making.
"Their biggest challenge, when we asked them, was 'being a woman in politics' and the patriarchal culture still present", Çepani concluded./ BIRN