All systems go for election of PAP President

Tuesday, May 26, 2009
By: 
Chris Bathembu

Pretoria - Its all systems go for the election on Thursday of the new office bearers of the Pan African Parliament (PAP).

In a motion put to the House at the weekend, members resolved that the tenure of the Bureau of PAP and the Bureaus of its organs be fixed at three years.

PAP is currently meeting in Midrand for its 11th Ordinary Session where its first president Gertrude Mongella and her four vice-presidents are expected to be replaced on Thursday.

The parliament's Communication and Media Relations Officer Khalid A. Dahab told BuaNews that following a fierce debate, members concluded that fresh elections be held before the end of the session on Friday.

In the last summit of the African Union (AU) in January, Heads of State and Government requested PAP "to amend its Rules of Procedure to conform to the legal instruments of the AU" and "to urgently fix a term limit for its Bureau drawing inspiration from other AU organs and to immediately hold new elections to renew the mandate of the current Bureau or elect a new one.

"The question which is being debated now is whether to amend the Rules of Procedure first or hold an election, then amend the rules," Mr Dahab explained.

Among the rules is that the Assembly shall elect its chairperson/ president from among the Heads of State or Government at the beginning of each ordinary session and on the basis of rotation for a period of one year renewable.

Furthermore, the Assembly shall meet at least once a year in ordinary session. However, at the initiative of the chairperson after due consultation with all member states, or at the request of any member state and upon approval by two-thirds majority of Member States, the Assembly can also meet for an Extraordinary Session.

According to the rules for the election of the PAP president, the current AU president, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has to preside over the process.

The AU also wants PAP to be transformed into a fully fledged legislature with binding powers on all African states.

PAP was inaugurated on 18 March 2004, by an Act of the AU, as one of its Organs provided for in the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community signed in Abuja, Nigeria, in 1991.
The establishment of the institution, which has 45 member states, was informed by a vision to provide a common platform for African people and their grass-roots organisations to be more involved in discussions and decision-making on the problems and challenges facing the continent.

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