World's citizens should elect global parliament, argued in a book released in Delhi

Secretariat, 16. May 2012

Union Minister Shri Deshmukh presents book, supports establishment of a UN Parliamentary Assembly

In the era of globalization the world’s citizens should be given more responsibility through a directly elected global parliament. This suggestion to improve the democratic character of global governance took center stage on Wednesday at the presentation of an Indian edition of a new book titled "A Global Parliament" that was chaired by Vilasrao Deshmukh, Minister of Science and Technology. According to the authors, U.S. professors Richard Falk,

Union Minister Shri Deshmukh and Shri Tharoor, MP, during the presentation
Image: CEUNPA

University of California, and Andrew Strauss, Widener University, democratic decision-making needs to be "extended to the global system."

At the release of the book in CSIR Building in New Delhi, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Minister for S&T said that the proposal was "bold" and "worth serious consideration." "It’s generally accepted that global governance needs to become more democratic. This is an innovative proposal how this could be done," he noted. "In a first practical step", he remarked, "a largely consultative United Nations Parliamentary Assembly could be created and national parliaments, including the Indian parliament, could send elected representatives to the global parliament. A UN Parliamentary Assembly could become the peoples' chamber at the United Nations while the United Nations General Assembly can act as the upper house."

Shri Deshmukh further added: "I support an international campaign for the creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly which is endorsed by more than 800 elected representatives throughout the world and hundreds of leading personalities, among them over 45 members of the Parliament of India. I hope that an elected global parliamenary assembly will become a reality in our lifetime."

"To begin with, a UN Parliamentary Assembly will be a consultative body of the UN General Assembly and will be the voice of the people globally. For practical reasons, the representatives to the UN Parliamentary Assembly should be elected by the national parliaments of different countries so that even non-democratic countries such as China could take part in it." said Shashi Tharoor, a Member of the Lok Sabha who was nominated by the Government of India for the post of UN Secretary General in 2006. He added: "Everything takes time and we in India should support the creation of a global parliamentary assembly at the UN."

The preface to the Indian edition of the book that was published by Yash Publications states that promoting a UN Parliamentary Assembly would "fit well into India’s support of democracy and by doing so India could catch the world's imagination as it did when it strongly advocated for the end of colonialism and apartheid."

In the book, Falk and Strauss argue that a number of twenty to thirty countries that are geographically, culturally and economically diverse could initiate a project to create a global parliament. They take the view that direct elections are a necessary condition and that over time more and more countries would join. In the preface former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt concurs that democracy, to be effective, needs to extend beyond state borders.

The book is a compilation of articles and essays by Falk and Strauss that appeared in journals such as Foreign Affairs and newspapers like The International Herald Tribune or The Times of India between 1997 and 2010. It is available from major online bookstores such as Amazon.com and Barnes and Nobles.

More details on the book
Pictures of the event

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