Updated 12.29pm with Carmel Cacopardo comments

Independent election candidate Arnold Cassola has ripped into the gender quota mechanism, pointing out how some women will get co-opted to parliament with a lower number of votes than women who did not contest on the Labour or Nationalist tickets.

"Is the will of the electors being respected? Is this right? Is this democracy?" he asked. 

The government and the opposition will each have six women co-opted to parliament. They will be the six who got closest to being elected from among the parties already elected to parliament.

It is the first time that the mechanism, introduced in the last legislature, is being used. The quota system is currently being challenged in court by ADPD, who have noted that the law specifically excludes third parties and independents from benefitting from it. 

ADPD chairperson Carmel Cacopardo was also critical of Tuesday's outcome, noting that parliament's representation was now distorted.

Each Labour MP, he noted, represented 3,698 votes while each Nationalist one represented 3,521 votes. ADPD had obtained 4,747 votes but remained out of parliament, he said. 

"There are many other solutions that would have respected the will of the people," Cacopardo wrote in his blog. "We had presented a proposal that would have created a 65-member parliament that ensures proportional representation and more women MPs. Nobody wanted to discuss it."

The legality of the mechanism is currently being challenged in court by Cassola. 

Cassola noted that an ADPD candidate, Sandra Gauci, had obtained more votes than one of the Labour women to get into parliament through the mechanism.

"Sandra Gauci placed better than Labour's Davina Sammut Hili, but is being kicked thanks to the perverse mechanism that they created," Cassola said.

And, he added, Janice Chetcuti, made a mockery of the supposed corrective mechanism last week to ensure her PN male colleague gets elected, at the expense of a woman.

Chetcuti last week opted not to contest Tuesday's casual election as she knew she would be elected through the mechanism, opening a path for the re-election of Carm Mifsud Bonnici. 

"What about ADPD and third-party candidates, like me, who got proportionally more votes than some of these co-opted candidates. Why do all proportionality mechanisms introduced by the PL and PN always ignore the will of non-PL and PN voters?"

He said the crux of the issue is that it is not true that the law is giving women representation in parliament according to the will of the voters. 

"This is the state of democracy in Malta.  Shameful," Cassola wrote. 

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