The Spokesperson for Advocates for Women in Parliament (AWP), Hilda Lini, is calling on political parties and communities to identify potential women candidates to contest both the reserve seats and the open seats in the upcoming Port Vila Municipal Elections on March 7, 2018.

She recalls that women entered politics as far back in 1975 when first women ran in Port Vila Municipal elections and some were elected into the Council.

“Advocates For Women in Parliament is aware that prior to the introduction of reserve seats in 2013, five women councilors were elected in open seats in Port Vila since 1975.

“While four women Councilors were elected in Luganville since 1980, and while the Port Vila had its first woman Deputy Lady Mayors between 2013 -2018, and while Luganville has had two women deputy Mayors and two women two women Mayors.

“As electors, women are constantly ready to contest any elections as candidates, ready to be voted in and ready to represent their constituencies in any decision-making bodies,” well-known and long -time politician Ms Lini urged.

She said all the women need is endorsement and support from their political party or community, to show that they are truly committed to 30 percent government policy target on women in decision making.

“Based on this policy, reserve seats were created by law in 2013, as a temporary special measure for women, enabling five women as elected councilors in Port Vila, followed in 2015 with another five elected councilors in Luganville,” she said.

She said in a 2016 video documentary, Lord Mayor of Port Vila acknowledged women councilors valuable contributions to the council and to Port Vila township and population, as a whole.

She concluded: “Based on these evidence, Advocates for Women in Parliament are calling on political parties to identify their potential women candidates who would sustain the high standard left by women pioneers in the Municipal Councils in Port Vila and Luganville.”