TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

Changes to IPU Membership –Bhutanese, Somali and Egyptian Parliaments

By Inter-Parlementary Union (IPU)

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 7, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) welcomed new members Bhutan and Somalia at the opening of its 129th Assembly in Geneva today whilst Egypt must wait to have a parliament again before it can rejoin the Organization. Somalia's re-affiliation to IPU was approved after the establishment of its parliament, the People's House, in August 2012 as part of the political transition process following two decades of civil war and unrest in the country.

“We welcome the Somali Parliament to the IPU fold in a decision that acknowledges the progress Somalia has made in putting in place a functioning democracy. It also reflects IPU's long history in helping post-conflict countries to rebuild and to establish permanent democratic institutions,” said IPU President Abdelwahad Radi.

This is the fourth time Somalia is an IPU member since it first joined in 1963. Its departure from the Organization in 2009 was due to the political instability that has run throughout the country's recent history.

Bhutan, however, joins IPU for the first time. First established in 2008 and renewed through elections in July 2013, its National Assembly, the Tshogdu, has 47 directly elected members of which three are women.

“We look forward to being part of the global democratic forum and we are confident that our membership will go a long way in building strong and sustained democratic culture and values in our polity,” said Jigme Zangpo, Speaker of Bhutan's National Assembly.

Recent developments in Egypt which saw the dissolution of its parliament on 3 July 2013 means the country no longer has an institution that can exercise its membership within the Organization. To be a member of IPU, there must be a functioning parliament.

In making the decision, its Governing Council expressed its full support of the Egyptian people and their desire for democracy. The Organization would be monitoring closely the situation and offered to continue mobilizing and providing support in the country's efforts to build a strong and democratic parliament.

IPU looked forward to welcoming Egypt back to IPU once elections for a new parliament had taken place.

The admission of the two countries brings to 163 the number of IPU member parliaments.

For full details on Assembly agenda, please go to: http://www.ipu.org/Conf-e/129agnd.htm

Picture Editors can access photos of the Assembly from: www.ipu.org/IPU129pics

Plenary sessions of the IPU Assembly will be webcast live on www.ipu.org

Take part in the Assembly debates or follow it on Twitter using #IPU129