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STATUTES OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION 1

Adopted in 1976 and extensively revised in October 1983, April 2003 and October 2013

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Contents:


I. NATURE, PURPOSE AND COMPOSITION

ARTICLE 1

1. The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the international organization of the Parliaments of sovereign States.

2. As the focal point for worldwide parliamentary dialogue since 1889, the Inter-Parliamentary Union shall work for peace and cooperation among peoples and for the solid establishment of representative institutions. To that end, it shall:

(a) Foster contacts, coordination and the exchange of experience among Parliaments and parliamentarians of all countries;

(b) Consider questions of international interest and express its views on such issues with the aim of bringing about action by Parliaments and their members;

(c) Contribute to the defence and promotion of human rights, which are universal in scope and respect for which is an essential factor of parliamentary democracy and development;

(d) Contribute to better knowledge of the working of representative institutions and to the strengthening and development of their means of action.

3. The IPU, which shares the objectives of the United Nations, supports its efforts and works in close cooperation with it. It also cooperates with regional inter-parliamentary organizations, as well as with international, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations which are motivated by the same ideals.

ARTICLE 2

The Headquarters of the Inter-Parliamentary Union shall be at Geneva.

ARTICLE 3

1. Every Parliament constituted in conformity with the laws of a sovereign State whose population it represents and on whose territory it functions may request affiliation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. A National Group representing any such Parliament and which is already affiliated at the time of the approval of this Article2 may choose to remain a Member of the IPU.

2. Any Parliament constituted in conformity with the basic law of a territorial entity whose aspirations and entitlement to statehood are recognized by the United Nations, and which enjoys the status of Permanent Observer to the United Nations with substantial additional rights and privileges, may also become a Member of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

3. In a federal State, only the federal Parliament may make a request to become a Member of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

4. Every Member of the IPU shall adhere to the principles of the IPU and comply with its Statutes.

5. International parliamentary assemblies established under international law by States which are represented in the IPU may, upon their request and after consultation with the relevant Members of the IPU, be admitted by the Governing Council as Associate Members.

ARTICLE 4

1. The decision to admit or readmit a Parliament shall be taken by the Governing Council, to which requests for affiliation or reaffiliation are communicated by the Secretary General. The Governing Council shall take its decision based on the advice of the Executive Committee, which shall consider whether the conditions stipulated in Article 3 are fulfilled, and report thereon.

2. When a Member of the IPU has ceased to function as such, the Executive Committee shall consider the situation and express an opinion to the Governing Council. The Governing Council shall take a decision on the suspension of the affiliation of that Member to the IPU.

ARTICLE 5

1. Each Member and Associate Member of the IPU shall make an annual contribution to the expenses of the IPU in accordance with a scale approved by the Governing Council (cf. Financial Regs., Rule 5).

2. Any Member of the IPU which is in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions to the Organization shall have no votes in the statutory bodies of the Inter-Parliamentary Union if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years. The Governing Council may, nevertheless, permit such a Member to vote if it is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the Member of the IPU. Prior to examining this question, the Governing Council may receive a written explanation from the Member concerned. Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 10.2 of the Statutes, such a Member shall not be represented by more than two delegates at meetings convened by the IPU. An Associate Member which is in arrears of the payment of its financial contributions in an amount that equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years, shall not be represented by more than one delegate at meetings convened by the IPU.

3. When a Member or Associate Member of the IPU is three years in arrears in the payment of its contributions to the IPU, the Executive Committee shall consider the situation and express an opinion to the Governing Council. The Governing Council shall take a decision on the suspension of the affiliation of that Member or Associate Member to the Union.

ARTICLE 6

1. All Members or Associate Members of the IPU shall have their own rules governing their participation in the IPU’s work. They shall make all structural, administrative and financial provisions required to ensure their effective representation in the IPU, the implementation of the decisions taken and to maintain relations with the IPU Secretariat, to which they shall submit an annual report of their activities, including the names of their officers and the list or the total number of their members.

2. It is the sovereign right of each Member of the IPU to decide on the manner in which it organizes its participation in the IPU.

ARTICLE 7

It is the duty of the Members of the IPU to submit the resolutions of the IPU within their respective Parliament, in the most appropriate form; to communicate them to the Government; to stimulate their implementation and to inform the IPU Secretariat, as often and fully as possible, particularly in its annual reports, of the steps taken and the results obtained (cf. Assembly, Rule 39.2). To this end, all heads of delegations to IPU Assemblies should submit in accordance with national laws a report to their national parliaments with a copy to the IPU Secretary General as soon as possible following the closure of the Assembly.

II. ORGANS

ARTICLE 8

The organs of the Inter-Parliamentary Union are: the Assembly, the Governing Council, the Executive Committee and the Secretariat.

III. THE ASSEMBLY

ARTICLE 9

1. The Inter-Parliamentary Union shall meet in Assembly twice a year.

2. The place and date of each session shall be determined by the Governing Council (cf. Assembly, Rule 4.2).

3. In exceptional circumstances, the Governing Council may decide to change the place and date of the Assembly or not to hold it. In an emergency, the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union may take such a decision with the consent of the Executive Committee.

ARTICLE 10

1. The Assembly shall be composed of parliamentarians designated as delegates by the Members of the IPU. Members shall include men and women parliamentarians in their delegation and shall strive to ensure their equal representation.

2. The number of members of Parliament appointed as delegates to the Assembly by a Member of the IPU shall in no case exceed eight in respect of Parliaments of countries with a population of less than 100 million inhabitants, or 10 in respect of Parliaments of countries with a population of 100 million inhabitants or more.

3. Any delegation that for three consecutive sessions of the Assembly is composed exclusively of parliamentarians of the same sex shall automatically be reduced by one person.

ARTICLE 11

1. The Assembly shall be opened by the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union or, in his/her absence, by the Vice-President of the Executive Committee designated in conformity with Rule 5.2 of the Rules of the Executive Committee.

2. The Assembly shall choose its President, Vice-Presidents and Tellers.

3. The number of Vice-Presidents shall be equal to that of the Members of the IPU represented at the Assembly.

ARTICLE 12

The Assembly debates issues which, under the provisions of Article 1 of the Statutes, fall within the scope of the IPU, and makes recommendations expressing the views of the Organization on these questions.

ARTICLE 13

1. The Assembly is assisted in its work by Standing Committees, whose number and terms of reference are determined by the Governing Council (cf. Art. 21 (e)).

2. Standing Committees shall normally prepare reports and/or draft resolutions for the Assembly and perform other functions as set out in the Rules (cf. Standing Committees, Rule 6.5).

3. Standing Committees may also be instructed by the Governing Council to study an item included in the latter's agenda and make a report to that organ.

ARTICLE 14

1. The Assembly shall establish the agenda for its subsequent session (cf. Assembly Rule 10).

2. The Assembly may include one emergency item in its agenda (cf. Assembly Rule 11).

ARTICLE 15

1. Only delegates present in person shall have the right to vote.

2. The number of votes to which each Member of the IPU is entitled shall be calculated on the following basis:

(a) Each Member of the IPU shall have a minimum of 10 votes;

(b) Each Member of the IPU shall have the following additional number of votes in relation to the population of its country:

From1to5million inhabitants:1vote
Frommorethan5to10""2votes
"""10to20""3"
"""20to30""4"
"""30to40""5"
"""40to50""6"
"""50to60""7"
"""60to80""8"
"""80to100""9"
"""100to150""10"
"""150to200""11"
"""200to300""12"
From""300""13"
(c) Any delegation that for three consecutive sessions is composed exclusively of parliamentarians of the same sex shall have a minimum of eight votes (instead of the 10 for mixed delegations) at the Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.  For delegations entitled to a certain number of additional votes, the overall calculation will be made on the basis of eight votes instead of 10.

3. A delegation may split its votes so as to express the diverse views of its members. No single delegate may record more than 10 votes.

ARTICLE 16

1. Voting at the Assembly shall be conducted by roll call, except when the decision before the Assembly meets with no opposition.

2. For the election of officers, voting shall be held by secret ballot if at least 20 delegates so request.

IV. GOVERNING COUNCIL

ARTICLE 17

1. The Governing Council shall normally hold two sessions a year (cf. Governing Council, Rule 5).

2. The Governing Council shall be convened in extraordinary session by the President if the latter or the Executive Committee deems this necessary, or a quarter of the Governing Council's members so request.

ARTICLE 18

1. The Governing Council shall be composed of three representatives from each Member of the IPU (cf. Governing Council, Rule 1.2). The term of office of a member of the Governing Council shall last from one Assembly to the next.

2. All the members of the Governing Council must be sitting members of Parliament.

3. In case of the death or resignation of a representative, or a representative's inability to attend, the IPU Member concerned shall appoint a substitute.

ARTICLE 19

1. The Governing Council shall elect the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union for a period of three years (cf. Governing Council, Rules 6, 7 and 8). The President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union is the political head of the Organization and shall be ex officio President of the Governing Council.

2. The retiring President shall not be eligible for re-election for three years and shall be replaced by a person belonging to another Parliament. An endeavour will be made to ensure a regular rotation between the different geopolitical groups.

3. The election shall take place during the second Assembly of the year. If, for exceptional reasons, the Assembly cannot be convened, the Governing Council may nevertheless hold the election.

4. In case of the resignation, loss of parliamentary mandate or death of the President, the functions of the President shall be exercised by the Vice-President of the Executive Committee appointed by the latter, until such time as the Governing Council elects a new President. The same provision shall apply in the case of the suspension of the affiliation of the Member of the IPU to which the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union belongs.

5. The President shall also be assisted in his/her work between the statutory sessions by a group of six vice-presidents representing each of the geopolitical groups and appointed from among the members of the Executive Committee for a renewable term of one year.

ARTICLE 20

1. The Governing Council determines and guides the activities of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and controls their implementation in conformity with the purposes defined in the Statutes.

2. The Governing Council shall adopt its agenda. A provisional agenda shall be established by the Executive Committee (cf. Governing Council, Rule 12.2). Any member of the Governing Council may submit supplementary proposals to this provisional agenda (cf. Governing Council, Rule 13).

ARTICLE 21

The Governing Council shall perform, in particular, the following functions:

(a) Decide on the admission and readmission of Members of the IPU, as well as on the suspension of their affiliation, in accordance with Article 4 of the Statutes;

(b) Decide on the place and date of the Assembly (cf. Art. 9.2 and Assembly, Rule 4.2);

(c) Propose the President of the Assembly;

(d) Decide on the holding of all other inter-parliamentary meetings by the IPU, including the creation of ad hoc committees to study specific problems; determine the modalities thereof and express its opinion on their conclusions;

(e) Set the number and terms of reference of the Standing Committees of the Assembly (cf. Art. 13.1);

(f) Set up ad hoc or special committees and working groups while ensuring geopolitical, geographical (regional and sub-regional) and gender balance in their composition;

(g) Determine the categories of observers at IPU meetings and their rights and responsibilities and decide which international organizations and other bodies shall have observer status at the IPU’s meetings on a regular basis (cf. Assembly, Rule 2; Governing Council, Rule 4; Standing Committees, Rule 3.1), in addition to inviting on an occasional basis observers that may contribute to the study of a particular item on the Assembly agenda;

(h) Adopt annually the work programme and budget of the IPU and establish the scale of contributions (cf. Financial Regs., Rules 3.1 and 5.2);

(i) Approve, each year, the accounts for the preceding fiscal year on the recommendation of two Auditors, whom it shall appoint from among its members (cf. Governing Council, Rule 41; Financial Regs., Rule 13.3; Secretariat, Rule 12);

(j) Authorize the acceptance of donations and legacies (cf. Financial Regs., Rule 7.1);

(k) Elect the members of the Executive Committee (cf. Governing Council, Rules 37, 38 and 39);

(l) Appoint the Secretary General of the IPU (cf. Art. 28.1; Secretariat, Rule 3.1);

(m) Adopt its own Rules and express its opinion on proposals to amend the Statutes (cf. Governing Council, Rule 45.1).

ARTICLE 22

A Meeting of Women Parliamentarians shall be held on the occasion of both annual sessions of the Assembly and shall report on its work to the Governing Council. This Meeting shall establish its own Rules, which shall be approved by the Governing Council. The Meeting is assisted by a Coordinating Committee, whose Rules it shall approve. The Coordinating Committee will meet during both annual sessions of the Assembly.

ARTICLE 23

The Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians shall meet on the occasion of both annual sessions of the Assembly and may hold additional sessions and organize missions as necessary. The Committee shall report on its work to the Governing Council. The Committee shall establish its own Rules, which shall be approved by the Governing Council.

ARTICLE 24

The Forum of Young Parliamentarians of the IPU shall meet on the occasion of both annual sessions of the Assembly and shall report on its work to the Governing Council. The Forum shall establish its own Rules, which shall be approved by the Governing Council.

V. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

ARTICLE 25

1. The Executive Committee shall be composed of the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, 15 members belonging to different Parliaments and the President of the Coordinating Committee of the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians.

2. The President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union shall be ex officio President of the Executive Committee. Fifteen members shall be elected by the Governing Council; not less than 12 shall be elected from among the members of the Governing Council to which they shall continue to belong during their mandate. At least three of the members elected must be women.

3. In elections to the Executive Committee, consideration shall be given to the contribution made to the work of the IPU by the candidate and the Member of the IPU concerned.  Only parliamentarians from States where women have both the right to vote and the right to stand for election are eligible to sit on the Executive Committee.

4. The 15 elected seats will be assigned to the geopolitical groups by applying the St. Laguë system to the total number of votes their members are entitled to cast in the Assembly. Should there be a change in the number of seats on the Executive Committee to which a geopolitical group is entitled, each seat concerned shall only be reassigned once the term of the existing holder of the seat has expired.

5. The term of office of members of the Executive Committee other than the President shall be four years. At least two members shall retire in rotation each year. A retiring member shall not be eligible for re-election for two years and shall be replaced by a member belonging to another Parliament. The President of the Coordinating Committee of the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians shall serve a two-year term, which can be renewed once (cf. Meeting of Women Parliamentarians, Rule 32.4).

6. If a member of the Executive Committee dies, resigns or ceases to be a parliamentarian, the Member of the IPU concerned shall appoint a substitute to serve until the next session of the Governing Council, when an election shall be held. If the newly elected member is from a different Parliament than the outgoing member, he/she will serve a full term. Otherwise, the new member shall complete the term of office of his/her predecessor. If the President of the Coordinating Committee of the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians dies, resigns or ceases to be a parliamentarian, the First Vice-President or Second Vice-President, as the case may be, will complete the term of office of the predecessor.

7. If the President of the Coordinating Committee is already a member of the Executive Committee or belongs to the same Parliament as one of the 15 members, she shall be replaced by the First Vice-President of the Coordinating Committee, or the Second Vice-President should the First Vice-President be a member of the Executive Committee or belong to the same Parliament as one of the 15 members.

8. If a member of the Executive Committee is elected President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Governing Council shall elect a member to fill the vacant seat. In such a case, the question shall be included automatically in the agenda of the Governing Council. The term of office of the new member shall be four years.

9. Members of the Executive Committee shall not simultaneously hold office as Bureau members of Standing Committees.

ARTICLE 26

1. The Executive Committee shall be the administrative organ of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

2. The Executive Committee shall perform the following functions:

(a) Consider, whenever a Parliament makes a request for affiliation or reaffiliation to the Union, whether the conditions mentioned in Article 3 of the Statutes are fulfilled, and to inform the Governing Council of its conclusions (cf. Art. 4);

(b) Summon the Governing Council, in case of emergency (cf. Art. 17.2);

(c) Set the date and place of the Governing Council sessions and establish the provisional agenda;

(d) Express an opinion on the insertion of supplementary items in the agenda of the Governing Council;

(e) Propose to the Governing Council the annual work programme and budget of the IPU (cf. Financial Regs., Rule 3.4);

(f) Inform the Governing Council at its sessions about the activities of the Executive Committee through a report by the President;

(g) Control the administration of the IPU Secretariat as well as its activities in the execution of the decisions taken by the Assembly or by the Governing Council and receive, for this purpose, all reports and necessary information;

(h) Examine candidatures for the post of Secretary General with the aim of submitting a proposal to the Governing Council and establish the terms of office of the Secretary General appointed by the Governing Council;

(i) Request the Governing Council to grant supplementary appropriations should the budget appropriations approved by the Governing Council appear to be insufficient to cover the expenditure required for the execution of the programme and the administration of the IPU; in urgent cases, grant these appropriations provided that it shall inform the Governing Council of such action at the latter's next session;

(j) Designate an External Auditor entrusted with auditing the accounts of the IPU (cf. Financial Regs., Rule 13.1);

(k) Determine the scales of the salaries and allowances of staff members of the IPU Secretariat (cf. Staff Regs., Section IV);

(l) Adopt its own Rules;

(m) Carry out all the functions which the Governing Council delegates to it in accordance with the Statutes and Rules.

VI. GEOPOLITICAL GROUPS

ARTICLE 27

1. The Members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union may form geopolitical groups 3. Each group shall decide on the working methods that best suit its participation in the activities of the Organization. It shall inform the IPU Secretariat of its composition, the names of its officers, and its rules of procedure.

2. The Members that belong to more than one geopolitical group shall inform the Secretary General which geopolitical group they represent for the purposes of submitting candidatures for positions within the IPU.

3. The Executive Committee may invite the Chairs of the geopolitical groups to participate in its discussions in an advisory capacity.

VII. IPU SECRETARIAT

ARTICLE 28

1. The IPU Secretariat comprises the totality of the staff of the Organization under the direction of the Secretary General of the IPU (cf. Secretariat, Rule 2), who shall be appointed by the Governing Council (cf. Art. 21 (l)).

2. The Secretariat shall perform the following functions:

(a) Be the permanent Headquarters of the IPU;

(b) Keep records on the Members of the IPU and endeavour to foster new requests for affiliation;

(c) Support and stimulate the activities of the Members of the IPU and contribute, on the technical level, towards the harmonization of these activities;

(d) Prepare the questions to be considered at inter-parliamentary meetings and distribute the necessary documents in due time;

(e) To provide for the execution of the decisions of the Governing Council and of the Assembly;

(f) Prepare proposals for a draft work programme and budget for the consideration of the Executive Committee (cf. Financial Regs., Rule 3.2, 3.3 and 3.7);

(g) Collect and disseminate information concerning the structure and functioning of representative institutions;

(h) Maintain relations between the IPU and other international organizations and, in general, its representation at international conferences;

(i) Maintain the archives of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

VIII. ASSOCIATION OF SECRETARIES GENERAL OF PARLIAMENTS

ARTICLE 29

1. The Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments (ASGP) shall be a consultative body of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

2. The activities of the ASGP and those of the organs of the Inter-Parliamentary Union competent to study parliamentary institutions are complementary. They shall be coordinated by means of consultations and close collaboration at the stages of preparation and implementation of projects.

3. The ASGP shall be administered autonomously. The IPU shall make an annual contribution to the budget of the ASGP. The Rules which the ASGP establishes shall be approved by the Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

IX. AMENDMENTS TO THE STATUTES

ARTICLE 30

1. Any proposal to amend the Statutes shall be submitted in writing to the IPU Secretariat at least three months before the meeting of the Assembly. The IPU Secretariat will immediately communicate all such proposals to the Members of the IPU. The consideration of such proposed amendments shall be automatically placed on the agenda of the Assembly.

2. Any sub-amendments shall be submitted in writing to the IPU Secretariat at least six weeks before the meeting of the Assembly. The Secretariat will immediately communicate all such sub-amendments to the Members of the IPU.

3. After hearing the opinion of the Governing Council, expressed through a simple majority vote, the Assembly shall decide on such proposals by a two-thirds majority vote.


  1. In these Statutes, whenever the words "parliamentarian", "President", "Vice-President", "delegate", "representative", "member" and "observer" are used, they should be construed as referring to both women and men.
  2. April 2001
  3. At the time of approval of this Article, the geopolitical groups active in the IPU were the African group, Arab group, Asia-Pacific group, Eurasia group, Latin American group, and the Twelve Plus group.


Statutes Rules of the Assembly Rules of the Governing Council Rules of the Executive Committee Rules of the Standing Committees Rules of the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians Rules of the Coordinating Committee Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians Forum of Young Parliamentarians of the IPU Rules of the Secretariat Financial Regulations Rights and responsibilities of observers

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