Thursday, March 18, 2004

African Union: parliament inagurated

The Pan African Parliament was inagurated today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

180 MPs from 38 of the 53 African Union countries were sworn in. The Parliament will have a total of 265 members, once the remaining 15 countries ratify the AU protocol and send their representatives. The Parliament's first session will run until March 20.

The MPs elected Gertrude Mongella of Tanzania as the speaker. (Rich detail on the proceedings available here.)

And according to this ... of the five MPs representing each country, at least one has to be a woman. The MPs are picked from each state's national parliament.
The assembly, due to hold at least two sessions a year, will have only consultative and advisory powers in its first five years but is eventually expected to have legislative powers.

Diplomats said cash-strapped African countries would face a big challenge trying to fund the assembly.
I find this amusing ... the BBC says that 190 MPs were sworn in. And the African Union's own press release says that only 30 of the 38 countries had submitted their list of five MPs each (which would mean that only 150 members were sworn in).

I went with the Agence France Presse number of 180.

UPDATE: Will you look at that, a press release posted on March 23. All those numbers above are WRONG! There were actually 202 legislators from 41 member states.