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Home / Osce Parliamentary Assembly

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly


OSCE Parliamentary Assembly







At the 1990 Paris Summit the Heads of State or Government recognized the important role of a parliamentary organ in the Helsinki process.  Since then the Parliamentary Assembly (PA) has been occupying a unique place within the structure of the Organization even in the absence of any formal rules defining the relations between the organization and its parliamentary body. 
The role of the 320 parliamentarians representing the 56 Participating States of the OSCE on the basis of a weighted system of allotment of votes per country is to facilitate dialogue between national legislatures.  They are elected by national parliaments and meet in three main occasions each year. The winter meeting which is held annually in Vienna gives the possibility for direct interaction with representatives of other OSCE bodies, while during the Autumn Conference, held in conjunction with a Parliamentary Forum on the Mediterranean, members debate on topical OSCE subjects. In July takes place the Annual Session of the Assembly in which its President and other Officers are elected. It should be stressed that by derogation to the general consensus rule that characterises decision making at the OSCE, decisions at the Annual Assembly, including the adoption of a final Declaration, Resolutions and Recommendations are taken by majority vote. However, such resolutions are not binding on OSCE’s decision-making bodies but they may strongly influence OSCE policies from a political viewpoint.
As concerns Assembly’s main organizational structure it consist of: a Standing Committee of the 56 Heads of National Delegations which approves the budget and guides the work of the Assembly; three General Committees corresponding to the three baskets of the Helsinki Final Act whose Members are appointed by national delegations; and a Bureau responsible for ensuring that the decisions of the Standing Committee are carried out.. The Bureau consists of the President of the Assembly, nine Vice-Presidents, the Treasurer, and the Officers of the three General Committees and it decides by two-thirds majority vote. In addition, an International Secretariat, under the direction of the PA Secretary General, supports and organizes all activities of the Assembly, including the different meetings of the Standing Committee, the General Committees and the Bureau.
Within the overall structure of the OSCE the PA has played a crucial role as regards the assessment of the implementation of OSCE objectives by participating States, the consolidation of democratic institutions in OSCE participating States through parliamentarian dialogue, and the observation of electoral process in OSCE participating States. In this latter regard in particular, the Assembly is deeply involved and closely cooperates with the OSCE specialized body on democratic institutions and human rights.  Co-operation and the division of labour with ODIHR is governed by a Co-operation Agreement concluded between the PA and the OSCE Chairmanship in 1997, assigning the political leadership role to the parliamentary side. Moreover the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has strongly contributed to the development of OSCE institutional structures and has been recently actively involved in the debate on OSCE structural and political reform.

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