Parliaments still vital to public quest for democracy despite fragile trust, new report says
Parliaments today are facing greater public scrutiny and pressure than ever before with fundamental questions on their ability to hold governments to account, but they have never been more essential to the political life of a country, says a joint report launched today by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The first Global Parliamentary Report (GPR), which examines “The Changing Nature of Parliamentary Representation”, argues that to address the current low-level of trust in them, parliaments must engage with citizens, stay closely attuned to their needs and make every effort to meet them.
Do Parliaments Still Matter ?
Anders B. Johnsson, Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union
The sight of protestors clashing with police amidst flames just outside the Greek parliament in February whilst MPs debated austerity measures inside prompted a BBC correspondent to muse that although these scenes were emanating from a country so profoundly associated with democracy, these were not normal times.
Implicit was the notion somehow that at times of crisis, parliaments and parliamentary democracy were somehow irrelevant or redundant.
I couldn’t disagree more.
Facts and Figures
Facts and figures
- MPs: There are 46,552 MPs in the world. The global average number of parliamentarians per country is 245. China has the largest parliament with 3,000 members in the Chinese National People’s Congress. The world’s smallest parliament is in Micronesia, with just 14 MPs.
- The global average number of inhabitants per parliamentarian is 146,000 though in India, that number is 1.5 million inhabitants per MP. San Marino has the smallest number at 517.
- Women: There are 8,716 women parliamentarians globally, which is 19.25 per cent of the total number of MPs. See the latest figures on women in parliament
- Age: The global average age of an MP is 53. The average age for a woman MP is 50. Sub-Saharan African MPs have the lowest regional average age at 49 with Arab countries with the highest at 55.
- Budgets: The U.S. Congress has the largest parliamentary budget at US$5.12 billion. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines spends least on parliament budget at 1.8 million.
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