10.05.2004 General News

C'wealth to launch principles on three arms of government

10.05.2004 LISTEN

Accra, May 10, GNA - The Commonwealth Secretariat is to launch its principles setting out the relationship between Parliament, the Judiciary and the Executive in Member countries on may 12, 2004 at the Secretariat in London.

A statement issued by the Secretariat in Accra on Monday said the principles would strengthen democracy and adherence to the Commonwealth's fundamental values in member states by outlining the limits of power in the three branches of government, to enable them to interact better in the promotion of good governance and the rule of law. It said the principles govern issues such as the harmonious balancing of power and the interaction between parliament, the executive and the judiciary in democratic societies.

They (Principles) set out in detail the consensus arrived at by representatives of the three branches of government in the Commonwealth on how each of their national institutions should interrelate in the exercise of their institutional responsibility.

It specifies restraint in the exercise of power within their respective constitutional spheres so that the legitimate discharges of constitutional functions by other institutions are not encroached on. The statement said the Commonwealth Principles were finalized by Commonwealth Law Ministers and endorsed by Commonwealth heads of government at their summit in Abuja, Nigeria in December 2003.

It said the Principles were developed from the Latimer House Guidelines on Parliamentary Sovereignty and Judicial Independence.

These were drawn up in 1998 by four prominent Commonwealth organizations- Commonwealth parliamentary Association; the Commonwealth Legal Education Association; the Commonwealth Magistrates' and Judges' Association and the Commonwealth Lawyers' Association.

The statement said the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon who announced the launch noted that the process by which the principles were drawn up provides an excellent example of how Commonwealth civil society could have a key impact on decisions made by member governments.

The principles also call for a constructive relationship between government and civil society and a broader opportunity for women to participate in the democratic process.

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