Parliamentary groups key to effective representation of citizens’ interests in a diverse societySep 18, 2015
More than 80 parliamentarians from the Arab region, Europe and North America gathered to discuss the importance of parliamentary groups as a prerequisite for the effectiveness of Parliaments in representing the interests and aspirations of a diverse society.
The inter-regional conference “Institutionalization of political pluralism in a representative democracy: Role, structure and management of parliamentary groups” was organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) jointly with the Tunisian Assembly of the Representatives of the People and the European Parliament, with the financial support of the European Union.
H.E. Mohamed Ennaceur, President of the Tunisian Assembly of the Representatives of the People, expressed his delight to host such a distinguished group of political and intellectual leaders and friends of Tunisia. He emphasized that:” Parliamentary groups played a particularly important role in the work Consensus Committee, which brought together various political factions in “marathon-like” sessions, finally resulting in issuing a consensual constitution for Tunisia, guaranteeing respect of universal human rights, and laying the foundations for a modern democratic State.”
"Parliamentary groups are, indeed, expected to play a key role in the institutionalization of political diversity. They help anchor a structured and organized political debate in the Assembly,” stressed UNDP Resident Representative in Tunisia, Mounir Tabet. “The role of parliamentary groups is particularly important in the context of the nature of the current Tunisian parliamentary term. The main challenge lies in the implementation of the new Constitution in terms of strengthening public and individual rights and freedoms spelled out in the Constitution," he added.
Delegations from the parliaments of Algeria, Iraq, Jordan and Tunisia along with counterparts from the Quebec National Assembly, the French National Assembly and Senate, several Belgian parliamentary assemblies at regional and federal levels, German Bundestag officials as well as international experts in parliamentary development from the International Parliamentary Union (IPU), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF) and the Association of Parliamentary Secretaries-General of the Francophonie (ASGPF) discussed the roles of political groups within the structure and organization of the Parliament, including means, tools and methods of supporting and resourcing them. Conference panels also discussed the institutionalization and functioning of political pluralism, as well as challenges that may threaten different efforts to strengthen it.