The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) has today welcomed back Comoros, Egypt and Guyana as Members of the Organization. Their admission at the opening session of the 134th IPU Assembly in Lusaka, Zambia, has increased the IPU membership to 170, marking a significant step forward in the Organization’s goal to achieve universal membership.
Parliamentary elections in Egypt at the end of 2015 had paved the way for the country to rejoin IPU. The 2011 revolution, which led to the dissolution of parliament the following year, had left Egypt’s membership in abeyance. Egypt, which had first joined IPU in 1924, had been one of IPU’s oldest continuous Members.
In the wake of the Arab Spring, IPU started working with Egypt to put in place a fully functioning parliament and to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of its new Members and staff.
Comoros had first been an IPU Member in 1979 and Guyana in 1981. An unconstitutional dissolution of Guyana’s Parliament in 1985 had led to its suspension from the Organization.
“IPU warmly welcomes Comoros, Egypt and Guyana back to the global parliamentary fold. Egypt’s return is the result of continued engagement on a roadmap to democracy and particularly significant because once again, the whole of the Arab world is in IPU,” says Saber Chowdhury, IPU President.
“With a membership of 170, IPU has reached a milestone which will only serve to make us redouble our efforts to engage those parliaments who remain outside of IPU,” the President added.
The Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (IPA CIS) also became an Associate Member of IPU, whilst the Forum of Parliaments of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (FP-ICGLR) was given observer status.
More than 670 MPs from 131 countries, including 87 Speakers and Deputy Speakers of Parliament are attending the 134th IPU Assembly, which continues until 23rd March.
The issue of how to rejuvenate democracy in light of the growing need to strengthen public confidence in politicians and political institutions is the main focus of the 134th Assembly. The event is also putting a spotlight on issues of terrorism and the protection of cultural heritage.
Later today, IPU Members will decide on an emergency issue which will form the basis of a resolution that will be adopted by the IPU membership later in the week. Proposals include action on the global population of unregistered children, human trafficking, the growing humanitarian crisis in the world, Palestine, and parliamentary powers in democracies.
Follow or take part in discussions on Twitter using #IPU134.
Photos of the event will be made available on Flickr.
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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