In conjunction with the 125th IPU Assembly in Bern, the Socialist International held a meeting of parliamentarians from parties belonging to the International. The parliamentarians, among them representatives from Africa, Europe and Latin America, gathered, as they have done at previous IPU Assemblies, to hold exchanges on the principle themes of the Assembly’s agenda and on how to advance cooperation between parliamentarians from the global social-democratic family.
Regarding democratic developments in the Arab World, participants highlighted the need for good governance and democratic institutions in order to secure peace and security, but first and foremost, it was stressed, the support of these nascent democracies was crucial. Participants expressed their views on the current state of the global economic crisis which needed a concerted answer, and where international fora such as those of the IPU and the Socialist International made a difference. In this context it was noted that measures advocated by our movement, as for instance the tax on financial transactions, were gaining ground.
The presentation of an amendment to be included in the resolution on the emergency item relating to famine-stricken Somalia was strongly supported by participants, appealing to the authorities in Somalia and neighbouring countries to highlight the issues of the personal safety of humanitarian workers and the important work of those organisations, and at the same time calling for the release of the two Spanish aid workers which had been recently kidnapped.
Another point addressed was the upcoming election of the IPU President to take place on Thursday, 19 October and for which one of the candidates was Abdelwahad Radi, First Secretary of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces of Morocco, an SI member party, and Speaker of the Moroccan Parliament. Radi presented his programme to the meeting based on three main points: a more coherent approach for the work of the IPU focusing on the most relevant aspects for its members; the promotion of gender balance and women’s rights; and a better protection of parliamentarians in order to reinforce democracy. He discussed in detail his candidature with the participants and in the ensuing discussions it was emphasised that he had a longstanding experience within the IPU and that his election would send a message of encouragement to the Arab World.
At the conclusion of the meeting, participants underlined that the SI as a global family was an important point of reference for many around the world and all agreed that the fruitful work in conjunction with the IPU should be continued.