|130th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. ©IPU/Pierre Albouy|
Cameroonian Martin Chungong has been elected as the new Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the first African to hold the post in its125-year history.
A record attendance of IPU Members made their choice on the closing day of the 130th IPU Assembly in Geneva.
Chungong, who is the current IPU Deputy Secretary General, will take over from Anders B. Johnsson who officially retires at the end of his fourth mandate on 30th June this year.
Chungong had worked in the Cameroonian parliament for14 years before joining IPU in 1993. His career at the Organization has focused on developing and leading programmes aimed at strengthening parliaments by being more modern, representative and effective institutions that are better able to fulfill their democratic mandate.
“This is a truly exciting time to take on this challenge. Issues relating to peace and democracy are at the heart of many of the major issues facing the world today,” says Chungong. “People everywhere are demanding more from their political representatives and from their parliaments in a rapidly evolving age. My commitment is to help parliaments meet this challenge head on.”
The Secretary General elect ran against two other candidates – Shazia Z. Rafi (Pakistan), former Secretary General of Parliamentarians for Global Action and Geert Versnick, former Belgian MP.
He speaks fluent English and French as well as Cameroonian dialects.
Chungong will be IPU’s eighth Secretary General since the Organization was created in 1889. All previous incumbents have been Europeans.