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News

09 October 2018, 14:45

USAID Rada prog, Swiss high-ranking experts help raise trust to parliament

( Information Department of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Secretariat )

At the Verkhovna Rada’s premises, there has recently taken place a roundtable discussion “Building trust to Parliament as a democratic institution: The case of Switzerland”

The event, organized by USAID Programme "RADA: Accountability, Responsibility, Democratic Parliamentary Representation", was participated by the former president of the National Council (Switzerland) Christa Markwalder, the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Switzerland to Ukraine and Moldova Guillaume Scheurer, members of the Ukrainian Parliament, the parliament’s administration leadership, representatives of international and non-governmental organizations.

Opening the event, Ihor Kohut, the Director of the USAID "RADA" programme, called trust to parliament to be the debate’s keynote issue along with the aspects that are peculiar to building this trust.

The Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Switzerland to Ukraine and Moldova Guillaume Scheurer clued up that Christa Markwalder had been of great help in setting the cooperation and exchange of experience going between the parliaments of Switzerland and Ukraine.

Christa Markwalder dwelt at length on the key principles of parliamentary activity.  Referring to the MPs, she underlined that they are part of society, that they represent the people in general, and not just the part that voted for them.  "It serves for economic well-being and prosperity of a country as a whole.  All this is to be taken into account when you make a decision and vote," stressed the Swiss politician. She also said there must be joint experience among members of parliament, room to build up the trust at the people-to-people level, to establish interrelationships, ability to understand each other in tries to make joint resolutions. The former president of the National Council spoke about the peculiarities of the parliamentary activities in Switzerland.

The participants of the event also noted that notwithstanding the Ukrainian parliament had become rather open, yet the desired trust level of the society and the citizens has not been achieved. It was noted that more closed institutions of power have greater trust on the part of the citizens.

Being asked of the trust-to-parliament tools usable in Switzerland, the Swiss dignitary replied that first of all a parliament is not the institution that must have the highest level of confidence. To achieve the goal, the body ought to be authoritative and upright, always walking the talk. As institution, a parliament may frame certain rules, a code of ethics and performance regulations, setting transparency as a keynote for building up a greater trust.

During the meeting, there also were discussed the following  issues: openness and accountability of parliament and MPs, involvement of citizens (the role of civil society in drafting bills), compliance with regulations and parliamentary procedures, building a consensus between political parliamentary factions/formation of an agenda, the role of parliamentary ethics in raising confidence to parliament and the like.

Worthy of note

Christa Markwalder is...

Degrees in Law and General Ecology, Universities of Berne, Switzerland and Nijmegen, Netherlands. Started political career as a Member of the Municipal Council of Burgdorf, Switzerland, subsequently in the Parliament of the Canton of Berne. 2003, elected Member of the National Council, the House of Representatives in the Swiss Parliament, for the Liberal Democratic Party; 2007, 2011 and 2015 re-elected; currently serves on the National Council's Foreign Affairs Committee (Chair in 2010 and 2011), on the Committee for Legal Affairs, and on the Federal Assembly's Committee on Pardons. President, Parliamentary Association Switzerland-USA; co-chairs various parliamentary groups on renewable energy, ecologically sustainable economies, relations with Eastern Europe and promotion of voluntary work. 2015-16, Speaker of the National Council and the Federal Assembly. Since 2008, Senior Legal Counsel Zurich Insurance Group. Young Global Leader Alumna, World Economic Forum.