The Speaker of the new Egyptian Parliament, Ali Abd Elall Sayed Ahmed, and the Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Martin Chungong, have renewed an agreement between the two institutions that paves the way for continued collaboration on strengthening parliament and democracy in Egypt.
The two men signed the agreement following talks at IPU Headquarters in Geneva yesterday afternoon.
IPU will extend its ongoing support to the Egyptian Parliament to become an effective institution better able to deliver on its democratic mandate.
Since the dissolution of the previous Egyptian Parliament in 2013, IPU has been working with Egypt to train and build the capacity of parliamentary staff. Following the elections for the new parliament in late 2015, IPU carried out an induction programme for new MPs.
An IPU mission to Egypt between 28 February and 4 March to assess the priority needs of the parliament will form the basis of a fully-fledged support programme responding to the immediate and long-term requirements of the institution, MPs and staff.
In his first foreign visit since taking the post, Speaker Ali Abd Elall prioritized the rule of law, human rights, including the right to development, gender equality and youth empowerment during his talks with the IPU Secretary General.
Thanking IPU for its support in defining a new electoral law that had helped ensure significantly more women were in parliament, he acknowledged the great progress made by the newly-elected body in being a more representative institution. It was, he said, the first time there was such a balance in parliament since it was created 150 years ago.
Of the nearly 600 MPs in the new Egyptian Parliament, 25 per cent are aged between 25-45 years. Women now account for 15 per cent of parliamentary membership. Different religious groups and people with special needs are also represented.
Secretary General Chungong said that through its support programme, IPU would accompany the Egyptian Parliament in realizing its priorities.
He also pledged IPU support for the establishment by the Egyptian Parliament of a training and research institute that would provide continuous training for MPs and staff.
The Egyptian Speaker and the IPU Secretary General discussed Egypt’s offer to host a regional IPU hub in keeping with a decision of the IPU Executive Committee. They agreed to pursue consultations on defining the functions of and modalities for the establishment of such a hub.
The discussions also covered Egypt’s proposed reaffiliation to IPU during the 134th IPU Assembly in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, in March. The 2013 dissolution of parliament meant it could only take up its membership when a new body was elected.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the global organization of national parliaments. It works to safeguard peace and drives positive democratic change through political dialogue and concrete action.
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