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INSIDE ISSUES


The former Director of Communications and Research, Mr Andrew Im- lach, (left) and the former Director of Conference and Events, Ms Christine (Tina) Ngwira (right) left the CPA Secretariat in August and October respectively.


constitution that was promulgated by the President in September, is the electoral process, given that it is the means by which Fiji’s new state is to be legally legitimized and universally recognized, writes political sociologist Dr Steven Ratuva. The removal of ethnic-based seat allocation and the introduction of a proportional representation system, it is hoped will result in post-election gains for the troubled island state. Measuring what constitutes a healthy Parliament goes beyond the number of laws passed, or questions indicating whether a Parliament is healthy or not, writes the Clerk of the Australia Capital Territory, Mr Tom Duncan. Using key measures coupled with utilizing varying avenues of the media can help represent the value of Parliaments to the public. With coalition politics and coalition governments a prominent feature in global democracies, members of political parties of the coalition and from the Opposition are demanding thorough discussions of policies in government. In the Indian context, the Joint Secretary of


the Rajya Sabha, Shri S.N. Sahu, states that such discussions can impact government decisions, and in some cases completely altering them by drawing on members from the ruling formation as well as the Opposition. An amendment to the Standing Orders in Zanzibar’s House of Representatives in 2012 has introduced a new model that is anticipated will assist in improving the House’s oversight function, writes its Chief Legal Counsel, Mr Mussa Kombo. Several requirements such as requesting Ministers to present reports of implementation of directives and recommendations of the respective committees will help reinforce the tradition of giving feedback to the House through its standing committees. The increase of Parliamentary Budget Offices (PBOs)among Commonwealth countries has grown at both the national and subnational level, with the view to improving budgetary transparency and oversight. With the appeal of PBOs continuing to propagate, Mr Usman Chohan


from McGill University, reports about the discussions held at the seminar on “Open Government, Information and Budget Transparency” that took place in Montreal in June, where participants had the opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences. Equipping Parliamentarians, particularly those that have been newly-elected is not only useful, but entirely essential. With “on-the-job” learning and training becoming increasingly limited, the Emeritus Clerk, Mr Murumba Werunga, argues that the prospects of The Centre of Parliamentary Studies and Training (CPSTS) evolving into centres of excellence for capacity development in Africa will be challenging, but is something that is pertinent and necessary. Since the CPA issued Recommendations for Transparent Governance in 2004 and Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures in 2006, many other parliamentary associations have adopted their own sets of benchmarks. In addition, an increasing number of parliamentary


monitoring organizations (PMOs) around the world are actively engaged in monitoring the work of Parliaments, using the Benchmarks and other tools. To evaluate and explore opportunities to refine the CPA Benchmarks to reflect developments since 2006, the CPA convened a Study Group, in partnership with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), bringing together Parliamentarians and representatives of the Commonwealth PMO community in May, providing participants the opportunity to share regional perspectives and to also review their own institutional performance. The final article in the line-up for issue three draws from the Seminar on the role of Parliaments and Extractive Industries held in Vienna last year. While the issue of mineral and petroleum resources as a revenue source for governments featured on the agenda in 2012, it will be interesting to see what new discussions arise from the 2013 meeting, having just recently concluded in Vienna, Austria.


The Parliamentarian | 2013: Issue Three | 165


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