National Assembly Speaker, Thandi Modise, has congratulated Duarte Pacheco on his election as President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) – the world’s oldest and largest global parliamentary forum.

Pacheco has been a member of the Parliament of Portugal since 1991 and has played an active role in the IPU for many years.

He succeeds Gabriela Cuevas Barron, a parliamentarian from Mexico, elected IPU President in October 2017 and whose term of office as IPU President has now ended.

Parliamentarians from 140 IPU member Parliaments elected Pacheco as the IPU’s 30th President through an unprecedented virtual electronic secret ballot held across different time zones.

About 40% of voting members were women MPs and 27% were younger than 45.

Previous IPU Presidents have gone on to win Nobel Peace Prizes, including IPU founders Frédéric Passy and William Randal Cremer.

The IPU President, who must be an MP for the term in office, is the political head of the IPU, chairs its statutory meetings and represents it at global events.

Modise is attending an extraordinary virtual session of the IPU’s Governing Council with a multiparty delegation of Members of Parliament (MPs).

Modise’s delegation includes Shahidabibi Shaik from the National Council of Provinces; Thlologelo Malatji, an African National Congress member of the National Assembly and the Democratic Alliance’s Michael Waters, who is a member of the National Assembly.

The South African Parliament has been a member of the IPU since democracy, and hosted the 118th IPU Assembly and Related Meetings in Cape Town in April 2008.

The biannual meetings currently bring together about 1 500 parliamentary delegates from 179 national Member Parliaments and 13 regional parliamentary bodies in a world assembly.

The meetings add a parliamentary dimension to global governance, including work of the United Nations and implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The IPU, with its permanent observer status at the United Nations General Assembly, has broadened the role of parliaments in global affairs.

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