Mr. Abdelwahed Radi
Speaker of the House of Representatives of Morocco
President of the 107th Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Marrakech
"Democracy is a strategic, irreversible choice"
|Mr Abdelwahed Radi|
Q: How would you rate the success of the 107th Inter-Parliamentary Conference held in Marrakech from 17 to 23 March 2002?
Abdelwahed Radi: I believe we have fulfilled all our objectives. On the agenda we had tabled issues such as globalisation and the environment. On supplementary items such as terrorism and the question of the Middle East and Palestine, we also had fruitful discussions. [As far as the Middle East is concerned], I feel that the resolution is very balanced. It captures the sentiments of all the MPs throughout the world, with a mere couple of reservations, and was adopted by consensus. The emergency item presented by Morocco, accepted unanimously, was not debated, but the drafting committee was composed of Palestinians, Israelis, representatives of IPU's five geo-political groups and Morocco. The objective was reached in that there was a dialogue between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and representatives of parliaments the world over also participated. Above all, the two parties to the conflict reached agreement on a text. This illustrates that through dialogue it is possible to find common ground. This resolution calls for a cessation of the violence and bloodshed and a return to dialogue as soon as possible, as well as respect of the UN resolutions, implementation of the Mitchell Plan, a halt to the settlements and a return to dialogue to try and achieve peace through negotiation. For there can be no solution other than a negotiated one. We also considered the propositions put forward by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Perhaps we can come up with a combined solution to change the critical situation on the ground.
Q: The Middle East was very much present at Marrakech since, during the 107th Inter-Parliamentary Conference, the President of the French National Assembly, Mr. Raymond Forni, called a meeting with the Presidents of the various European Parliaments, the President of the Knesset and the Vice President of the Palestinian Legislative Council...
A.R Indeed, Mr. Forni did arrange a meeting, on the sidelines of the 107th Inter-Parliamentary Conference, with a number of Speakers of Parliaments in attendance, particularly with the Deputy-Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the Speaker of the People's Assembly of Egypt, the Speaker of the Belgian Senate, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of Italy, the Speaker of the Irish Parliament, the Speaker of the Knesset and the President of IPU's Committee on Middle East Questions. Mr. Forni attempted to pursue the dialogue that was initiated in Paris (see IPU Website www.ipu.org/The World of Parliaments, March 2002 issue and the January issue of the IPU Journal) and followed up in Athens. They agreed that the Speakers of the Parliaments of the European Union would travel to Palestine, accompanying the Speakers of the Knesset to Ramallah in order to meet with the Palestinian Legislative Council, and to visit the Knesset. This was a European initiative launched by France.
|From left to right: His Majesty King Mohamed VI of Morocco, Mrs. Najma Heptulla, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Council, and Mr. Abdelwahed Radi, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Morocco, at the inaugural ceremony of the 107th Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Marrakech.|
Q: The 107th Inter-Parliamentary Conference was held at a particularly significant moment for Morocco considering that elections are due in September. Can such a conference help to strengthen the democratic process in Morocco?
A.R Absolutely. I believe that the Moroccans organised this IPU Conference to illustrate how committed they are to democracy, the main value defended by the Inter-Parliamentary Union. It was also to show that democracy is a strategic, irreversible choice. We cannot all see eye to eye on economic, cultural or social policy but democracy is the unanimous choice of all Moroccans. The Moroccan people is committed to it and will do everything it can to continue in this direction. Through this, Moroccans were able to get the credit they deserve. The confidence displayed by the IPU is an honour for Morocco and I believe that it will encourage a culture of democracy in the country. It also provided an opportunity for our fellow MPs across the world to get to know Morocco and appreciate the efforts that were made. I think it was positive for everyone.
Q: Your country has taken steps to ensure that more women are involved in the political scene in Morocco...
A.R The Government, concurring with His Majesty King Mohammed VI, has in fact decided to allot a certain number of seats to women. Therefore, there will be a list of women open to debate and a democratic vote to ensure the presence of at least 30 women in Parliament. Political parties may include women (on their electoral lists) and that is a very important step ahead for Morocco. Parties such as the USFP have decided to include women in their directorate. This proportion, which is already in force, should not be lower than 20%. Yet this measure should not mask the magnitude of the problem. It is not just a matter of making changes on the political arena. Efforts should also be made in the economic and social spheres to elevate the status of women in society. It is a beginning. We can definitely do better but we are on the right track.