Gender quotas are generally regarded as the foremost measure for the promotion of gender equality in politics. While quotas and their impact vary across countries, a strong quota system is defined as including blocked electoral lists, large district magnitude, strong non-compliance sanctions, and rank-order rules like gender alternation in the candidate lists. Yet, also in the presence of strong quota rules, parties might attempt strategies aimed at mitigating their gender-balancing effect. By taking Italy as a case study, in this article we investigate whether and how parties competing in the 2018 elections were able to adapt their gender gatekeeping strategy to the new quota law. Our finding suggests that Italian parties relied on another characteristic of the electoral system-namely, the possibility of multiple candidacies-to successfully hinder women candidates' chances of election. Accordingly, we highlight that a wider set of electoral system characteristics should be taken into account in the design of a (strong) quota law.
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