Tulia Ackson of the United Republic of Tanzania has been elected as the 31st President of the IPU by the IPU’s Governing Council, its main decision-making body made up of parliamentarians from around the world.
She takes over from Mr. Duarte Pacheco, a parliamentarian from Portugal, who concluded his three-year mandate at the end of the 147th IPU Assembly in Luanda, Angola.
Ms. Ackson became a parliamentarian in 2015. She is currently the Speaker of the Bunge, the National Assembly of Tanzania, a position to which she was appointed in 2022 after a period as Deputy Speaker. Ms. Ackson also served as Deputy Attorney General in 2015.
Ms. Ackson has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Law from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and a Doctorate from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She is an advocate of the High Court of Tanzania and a member of the Tanganyika Law Society. Ms. Ackson also taught at the Faculty of Law at the University of Dar es Salaam.
Following her election, Ms. Ackson said: “Thank you for the confidence you have bestowed on me by electing me. I accept this position with humility while recognizing all the responsibilities that it brings. I reaffirm my commitment to work hand in hand with you all to make the IPU the most effective, accountable and transparent organization.”
The parliamentarians voted in a secret ballot. With four candidates on the ballot, the new IPU President was elected with 57% of the vote after a single round of voting.
Hundreds of parliamentarians from 130 IPU Member Parliaments voted in the election. To encourage gender equality, each IPU Member Parliament was entitled to three votes on condition that they have a gender-balanced delegation. Single-sex delegations were entitled to just one vote.
In a historic first, the three other candidates on the ballot – Ms. Adji Diarra Mergane Kanouté of Senegal, Ms. Catherine Gotani Hara of Malawi and Ms. Marwa Abdibashir Hagi of Somalia – were all women MPs from Africa.
Ms. Ackson is only the third woman President of the IPU after Najma Heptulla from India (1999–2002) and Gabriela Cuevas from Mexico (2017–2020). She is also the first African woman to hold the position.
The IPU Governing Council elects the IPU President for a term of three years. The IPU President must be a sitting Member of Parliament for the duration of his or her term in office.
The President is the political head of the IPU, who chairs its statutory meetings and represents the Organization at global events.
The principle of regional rotation is generally observed. Over the past 25 years, the IPU presidency has been held by prominent parliamentarians from Spain, India, Chile, Italy, Namibia, Morocco, Bangladesh, Mexico, Portugal and now the United Republic of Tanzania.
The Luanda Declaration
In other business, the Assembly adopted the Luanda Declaration on Parliamentary action for peace, justice and strong institutions. The Declaration highlights the critical role that good governance plays as a means to achieving sustainable development.
It calls for parliamentarians to “strengthen trust and ensure the more active participation of citizens in institutions at all levels, beginning with our own parliaments, where women and youth, as well as the poor and other disadvantaged groups, deserve to be more equitably represented”.
In the Declaration, parliamentary leaders welcomed the IPU Indicators for Democratic Parliaments, a new tool designed to strengthen parliaments to deliver on sustainable development.
Some 700 parliamentarians from 130 countries came to Luanda, including delegations from countries at war or in conflict situations.
Ms. Carolina Cerqueira, Speaker of the National Assembly of Angola, the Host Parliament of the 147th IPU Assembly, said: "Social solidarity and aid for humanitarian crises have never been more urgent in order to save millions of human lives. Only by observing and enforcing this principle will justice be accomplished, and only justice leads to peace. There is no peace without justice, there is no justice without forgiveness, there is no forgiveness without love. So we must believe that every time is a time for renewal, it is a time to believe."
The IPU Committee on Middle East Questions submitted a report to the Governing Council with recommendations on parliamentary action to take in light of the emergency situation and escalating tension in the region.
The IPU Committee to Promote Respect for International Humanitarian Law examined urgent humanitarian crises around the world. The Committee called for international humanitarian law to be respected and for aid to be provided to affected people.
The IPU Task Force for the peaceful resolution of the war in Ukraine met parliamentarians from both the Russian Federation and Ukraine in a bid to explore parliamentary contributions to efforts aimed at ending the war.
The IPU is the global organization of national parliaments. It was founded more than 130 years ago as the first multilateral political organization in the world, encouraging cooperation and dialogue between all nations. Today, the IPU comprises 180 national Member Parliaments and 14 regional parliamentary bodies. It promotes democracy and helps parliaments become stronger, younger, gender-balanced and more innovative. It also defends the human rights of parliamentarians through a dedicated committee made up of MPs from around the world.
For more information about the IPU, contact Thomas Fitzsimons at [email protected]