NDI Hosts International Parliamentarians [Archives:1998/48/Law & Diplomacy]

November 30 1998

The National Democratic Institute hosted three international guests in Yemen to work with the Yemeni parliament. Mr. Mohammed Bhabha of South Africa, Mr. Patrick Cooney of Ireland and Dr. Jim Hawkes of Canada spent approximately one week in Yemen meeting with Yemeni parliamentarians on the theme of caucus management.
Mr. Bhabha is a current member of the Africa National Congress in the Upper House of the South Africa parliament and a prominent lawyer in South Africa. Mr. Cooney was formerly a member of the Irish and European Parliaments, and served in various ministerial positions including Education, Justice and Defense. Dr. Hawkes was a member of the Canadian parliament for 14 years, and held various positions including Chief Government Whip, chairmanship of several parliamentary committees, and Parliament Secretary to the Deputy Minister of Canada.
The seminar in parliament aimed at helping the management, organization and functioning of the parliamentary caucuses. This helps them become more effective and able to contribute to the role of both political parties and the legislature in Yemen’s on-going democratization.
NDI’s trainers, all former or sitting members of their respective national parliaments, met with the caucus membership and leadership in various sessions and shared ideas and experiences.
Deputy Speaker Ja’far Ba-saleh helped chair the plenary sessions, with the cooperation of Sultan Barakani of the PGC and Dr. Ba-Fadhel of the Islah. Several ideas were proffered including the appointment of caucus whips to better manage and organize the work of the respective caucuses, the ordering of debates through speaker’s lists submitted by the caucuses, and the consideration of creating a parliamentary committee on rules and procedures to examine members privileges and abilities to work within the chamber.
The delegation, accompanied by NDI Field Representative in Yemen, Mr. Derek Butler and Program Assistant, Ms. Rebecca Haessig from Washington, also met with Parliamentary Speaker Sheik Abdullah bin Hussein Al-Ahmar and Prime Minister Abdulkarim Al-Iryani to discuss the work of the institute in Yemen.
NDI is a Washington-based non-governmental organization and has conducted nonpartisan democratic work in approximately 80 countries worldwide. Its programs focus on six broad areas, including political party building, civic organization, election processes, legislative strengthening, local governance and civil-military relations. The Institute’s political development programs rely on bringing together international political practitioners in conferences, symposiums, and hands-on technical assistance programs, structured to be multinational in scope. NDI has been working in Yemen since 1993.

Dr. Salah Haddash,
Yemen Times Managing Editor