To celebrate International Day of Democracy on Saturday 15 September, the IPU is launching New Parline, a new version of its online open data platform on national parliaments. The platform is intended for MPs, academics, civil society, the media, and all those interested in parliaments as the core institution of democracy.
The IPU has been collecting data on parliaments since its inception in 1889, including information on women’s participation in politics since 1945. Through New Parline, the IPU has pooled all of its data into one hub, allowing the user to see trends over time, as well as compare progress or regression between different regions of the world.
New Parline contains information on the structures of parliament’s working methods, including the representation of women and youth. Much of the data is unique. Most of the information on the platform comes from national parliaments directly. The IPU updates it regularly to take into account changes that result from elections and other circumstances. The data covers a wide range of themes; for example, the number of chambers, the number of women MPs, the number of laws initiated by parliament and the average age of MPs.
Gabriela Cuevas, IPU President, said: “Democracy is constantly under threat in the post-truth world. By implementing New Parline on the International Day of Democracy, the IPU reiterates its commitment to the promotion of democracy and democratic values around the world. Relying on proven facts is an essential tool for fighting the resurgence of populist-based rhetoric”.
Martin Chungong, IPU Secretary General, said: “In a world of fake news and alternative facts, reliable data is absolutely essential to uphold democracy. The launch of New Parline reinforces the IPU as a trusted and unique source of information on parliaments.”
As the global organization of parliaments, the IPU was the precursor for what would become the International Day of Democracy, a UN observance, when it adopted a Universal Declaration on Democracy on 15 September 1997. Every year, parliaments across the world celebrate the day with a focus on a particular aspect of democracy.
This year, the IPU is giving prominence to the theme of oversight - a core function of parliaments in a healthy democracy, and one where MPs need to be able to access reliable data to ask the right questions and hold their governments to account.
Oversight is also the theme of the IPU’s most recent Global Parliamentary Report, published jointly with the United Nations Development Programme, and with contributions from over 350 MPs from 128 parliaments in the world.
The report shows that, despite the importance of oversight, there are many challenges preventing MPs from fulfilling their oversight duties effectively. In some countries, MPs cannot speak freely. The report stresses that protecting the freedom of expression of parliamentarians is fundamental to their ability to oversee the actions of government. The IPU is currently monitoring and taking action on the cases of a number of outspoken opposition MPs who are subject to human rights violations ranging from arbitrary arrest to politically motivated legal proceedings, as well as assassination.
The IPU is the global organization of national parliaments. We work with parliaments to safeguard peace and drive positive democratic change through political dialogue and concrete action.
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