Addis Ababa June 24/2022/ENA/ The Second Annual Parliamentary Research Conference that aims at strengthening the role and power of the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) with scientific studies kicked off today.

Opening the conference, House Speaker Tagesse Chafo said the goal of the research conference is to promote the capacity, efficiency and effectiveness of the House of People’s Representatives in performing its overall roles and activities.

Since researches lay foundation for socioeconomic and democratic developments, the parliamentary research conference will also help to strengthen the capacity of the House in all spheres, he added.

Senior Researcher at the Ethiopian Foreign Relations Strategic Studies Institute, Tesfaye Molla, presented a research paper entitled “Parliamentary Oversight and Accountability in Foreign Policy and Diplomacy” and stressed that parliamentary oversight in the dominion of foreign policy has attracted remarkably little scholarly attention.

Though the House of People’s Representatives employed tools and procedures to scrutinize the work of the organs engaged in foreign affairs thereby making them more constructive accountable and beneficial to the people, it is less rigorous and effective, he added.

According to Tesfaye, cabinet dominated parliamentary system, strong party discipline, political culture and weak organizational structure, the confidentiality nature of diplomacy, limited resources, weak institutional coordination and lack of commitment are found to be some of the predicament.

He finally recommended the reorganization of internal structure, the provision of training on effective oversight, designing a salutary discipline for accountability, a collaborative approach with democratic institutions like Ombudsman and Human rights, systematic use of experts from academia to support the work of parliament.

Muluken Kassahun from Mettu University also presented a paper entitled “The Role of Parliament in Ensuring Inclusiveness of the National Dialogue Process in Ethiopia.”

Realizing the inclusiveness of the national dialogue process is not a task to be left to the National Dialogue Commission, but also requires the involvement of multiple actors, including the HPR.

He stressed that the parliament maintain the independence and impartiality of the National Dialogue Commission by employing different mechanisms to ensure the inclusiveness of key actors to be involved in all stages of the process.

This requires dealing with the challenges of balancing equilibrium between complexity and effectiveness, de jure and de facto representation, participation and boycotting, legitimacy and national ownership of the dialogue, old power structure and emerging group needs as well as constitutional and extra-constitutional solutions, Muluken underscored.

The two-day long annual parliamentary research will focus on roles of the House of People’s Representatives in the three thematic areas — democracy, national dialogue and digitalizing the HPR.

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