Tanzania speaker elected head of International Parliamentary Union

The Speaker of Tanzania’s National Assembly Tulia Ackson was on Friday elected president of the International Parliamentary Union (IPU), succeeding Portugal’s Duarte Pacheco.

Dr Ackson, a PhD holder in law, became the 31st leader of the umbrella body representing legislators from across the world. She will serve a three-year term as per IPU’s regulations.

Her election followed a secret ballot by the IPU Governing Council during the Union’s 147th Assembly in Luanda, Angola in which she won 57 percent of the vote in a single round, beating three other candidates: Adji Diarra Mergane Kanouté of Senegal, Catherine Gotani Hara of Malawi and Marwa Abdibashir Hagi of Somalia.

All the candidates were women MPs from Africa, marking a historic first for the IPU.

Read: Harris urges Africans to empower women

Dr Ackson, who turns 47 on November 23, has led Tanzania’s parliament since January 2022 after serving as deputy speaker for seven years. She initially joined the legislature as a presidential nominee in 2015 and was elected MP for the Mbeya Urban constituency in 2020.

Her new role entails posing as the political head of the IPU, representing the organisation at global forums and events.

After her election she pledged to serve with transparency, “humility” and full commitment to the Union’s core values and mission.

The IPU, established over 130 years ago, is a global organisation of national parliaments formed to foster cooperation and dialogue between nations towards promoting democracy.

It comprises 180 national member parliaments and 14 regional parliamentary bodies.

This year’s 147th Assembly also saw the formal adoption of the Luanda Declaration on Parliamentary Action for Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions. The declaration emphasizes good governance principles that enhance citizen participation and representation, especially for women, youth, and marginalized groups.