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  • The 'Bartolina Sisa' Indigenous women's union, which has endorsed Evo Morales for the upcoming elections.

    The 'Bartolina Sisa' Indigenous women's union, which has endorsed Evo Morales for the upcoming elections. | Photo: Wikipedia

Published 14 August 2019

Despite challenges, over half of Bolivia’s lawmakers are women, which puts the Andean country in second in Latin America for women's representation, Cuba is first.

Felix Patzi, a candidate for Bolivia’s right-wing opposition, has caused outrage after arguing that increasing female participation in political affairs is to blame for family breakdown and even femicide. Bolivia currently has the highest rate of female representation in parliament, second only to Cuba. 

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Patzi, who is standing for the ‘Third System Movement’ against Evo Morales in the presidential elections, said in a radio interview on Wednesday, “Women have now entered political activity, but it has separated the family, the husband cannot go work alongside them because if he does, then the law says it’s nepotism, the family is then broken."

Bolivian anti-corruption laws currently ban politicians from hiring family members to their staff. 

Patzi continued, saying that repealing those laws and allowing husbands to work with their wives would have ‘many advantages.’ Through the reforms, “jealousy would be eliminated, along with high consumption of alcohol” which, he said, is the leading cause of femicide.

His comments were condemned by feminist groups and lawmakers. Valeria Silva, a lawmaker for the ruling ‘Movement Towards Socialism,’ said, “Deplorable comment from Felix Patzi. He doesn't seem to notice that the world is changing. It is up to him to retract, and in doing so, to tell us what specifically the governorship of La Paz [of which Patzi is the head] has done regarding violence against women.”

The comments follow discussions in Bolivia around the issue of femicide, with President Evo Morales recently attending a rally organized by women’s groups on the issue. 

Despite challenges, over half of Bolivia’s lawmakers are women, which puts the Andean country in second in Latin America for women's representation, Cuba is first.

Feliz Patzi is currently polling in fourth place for the country’s presidential elections, which are set to be held on the 20th of October. Polls indicate that leftist President Evo Morales is likely to win reelection, coming first in recent polls. 

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