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Interactions between Party and Legislative Quotas: Candidate Selection and Quota Compliance in Portugal and Spain

  • Tània Verge and Ana Espírito-Santo

About two decades after the introduction of party quotas, in the mid-2000s both Portugal and Spain enacted legislative gender quotas. The simultaneous implementation of party and legislative quotas raises questions about the potential interactions between two types of candidate quotas sharing the same goal – granting gender equality in political representation. Following a feminist institutionalist approach, this article aims at disentangling under what circumstances compliance with legislative quotas is greater. By looking at the different party institutional contexts in which candidates are selected, a double comparative framework is set. Firstly, we examine within country how legislative quotas affect political parties with dissimilar strategies to pursue equal gender representation. Secondly, we analyse across countries how they impact on political parties with differently institutionalized voluntary quotas. The article shows that legislative quotas are nested in political parties’ candidate selection process and that existing gendered practices and norms limit the effective compliance with such measures.

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Tània Verge is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Contact email:

Ana Espírito-Santo is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Policies, Lisbon University Institute (ISCTE-IUL) and researcher at the Centre for Sociological Studies and Research, Lisbon University Institute (CIES-IUL). Contact email:

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Government and Opposition
  • ISSN: 0017-257X
  • EISSN: 1477-7053
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