Parliamentary Forum for the Community of Democracies created
More than forty Members of Parliament from Lithuania, the United States and other European, Latin American and Asian countries have launched a Parliamentary Forum for the Community of Democracies, a global intergovernmental coalition that celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. In accordance with the Community’s program, the new Parliamentary Forum is dedicated to promoting democratic rules and strengthening democratic norms and institutions around the world. In a declaration setting
|Was elected as President: Emanuelis Zingeris from Lithuania|
up the forum, the parliamentarians hold that since “a parliament is the central institution of democracy, we commit to strengthen the role of national parliaments in our own countries and, in each of them, the functions of representation, legislation and oversight of the Executive.” Members of the Forum intend to meet regularly every year, make suggestions regarding the development of democracy around the world and share their experience of parliamentary work with transition countries and pro-democratic groups in authoritarian regimes.
At a convening meeting in March this year in Vilnius, Lithuania, the forum elected Emanuelis Zingeris, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Seimas of Lithuania, as President and created an international board consisting of seven Vice-Presidents. Long-time member of the United States House of Representatives Lincoln Diaz-Balart, one of the most active Canada’s fighters for human rights and democracy David Kilgour, German representative in the European Parliament Michael Gahler, who significantly contributed to Lithuania’s Euro-Atlantic integration, leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament Michal Tomasz Kaminski, one of the most active participants in the Prague Spring and former Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Vondra, Speaker of the Georgian Parliament David Bakradze and Mexican Senator Adriana González Carrillo were elected as Vice-Presidents.
In one of its first declarations, the forum urged the government of China to release Mr. Liu Xiabo, one of the drafters of the Charter 08, from  prison  immediately and endorsed his nomination for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.
The Community of Democracies was founded in 2000 during a Ministerial Conference in Warsaw on the initiative of the then Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bronislaw Geremek. and former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. Mr Geremek who passed away in July 2008, also supported the idea to establish a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in order to promote democracy in international institutions.
Top image: Convening Meeting of the Community of Democracies Parliamentary Forum on 12 March 2010, held at the Seimas; by Olga Posaškova, Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania