In Madagascar, support to Parliament will strengthen the democratic transition and rule of law

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undp-rba-madagascar-elections-july 2016Despite the presidential and parliamentary elections held in late 2013, the Senate was established only in February 2016. Photo: UNDP Madagascar

Supporting the Parliament will not only strengthen an institution, it will also help to set ambitious goals benefiting the entire country.

That is why, in partnership with the Embassy of France and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, we have held two workshops on the role, organization, and functioning of the Senate.

Specific sessions were dedicated to the role of senators and parliamentary assistants in promoting decentralization and gender-related issues. To help the senators perform their mandate effectively, a fact sheet and an evaluation of the institution’s specific needs were also developed.

Despite the presidential and parliamentary elections held in late 2013, which marked the end of the crisis triggered by a change in power in 2009, the Senate was established only in February 2016. This change ended an abnormal situation (the presence of a single chamber since 2013) and helped to consolidate the country’s emergence from the crisis.

Working with the Senate –and with the National Assembly– also helps to strengthen democratization. In a country where institutions are still fragile, stability is precarious, and accountability actors are weak, the Parliament plays a fundamental role.

The Senate represents local governments. It advises the Government on economic and social development and on decentralization. In addition, given its role of counter-power (by the control of the executive) and stabilizing force (by resolving political differences within an institutional framework), the Senate is in a unique position to contribute to the development of the country.

This calls for a strong, independent, and responsible parliament. Based on its experience with the parliaments of more than 60 countries, UNDP is the most appropriate partner.

Although the concept of the rule of law is often associated with the areas of justice and the application of the law, the texts that govern the life of the country must be of high quality and implemented effectively. UNDP provides support that is integrated with justice and the institutions of accountability, particularly the Parliament and the anti-corruption bodies.

In Madagascar, the connection between Parliament and Justice is particularly strong. The Senate that was established recently with the appointment of its representatives will make it possible for the High Court of Justice and the High Constitutional Court to become fully operational.

In the long term, UNDP support will help to revive the role of the institution and make it strong, transparent, and open. It will thus be equipped to help the country emerge from the crisis, consolidate democracy, and strengthen the rule of law.

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