The newly-elected Chairperson of the CPA Small Branches, Hon Niki Rattle, Speaker of the Parliament of the Cook Islands pledged that the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) would have a strengthened and renewed focus on assisting Small Branches and their Parliaments and Legislatures.
The Members of the CPA attending the 37th CPA Small Branches Conference elected the Speaker of the Cook Islands, Hon. Niki Rattle as the new Chairperson of Small Branches. The role of Chairperson of Small Branches is an Officer role within the CPA’s governance structure and the new incumbent will sit on the CPA International Executive Committee to bring a voice for Small Branches to the governing body of the CPA.
In their acceptance remarks, the newly elected Chairperson of CPA Small Branches, Hon. Niki Rattle expressed their gratitude to the Members of the CPA Small Branches, who have shown great trust in electing her as their Chairperson.
Hon. Niki Rattle spoke about the pressing need of small Legislations within the Commonwealth to come together, within their smallness to address common difficulties and strengths and share experiences of their Parliaments or Legislative Assemblies. As small states in the Commonwealth, among other small countries, the CPA Small Branches have learnt to appreciate their strengths while being flexible enough to be able to work with other larger Parliaments and to be influential.
Hon. Niki Rattle was appointed as the Cook Islands’ Speaker and CPA Cook Islands Branch President in 2012; being reappointed in 2014 and 2018. She is an extremely active Parliamentarian and former CPA Executive Committee Representative for the CPA Pacific Region. A registered nurse, she was the first Pacific Chairperson of the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and she is highly regarded internationally for her skills of conciliation, strategic leadership, and advocacy.
She was an eminent member of the International Federation Election Committee, and she is known for her contribution to rules of procedures and ethics. Confronted with complex procedural issues, she pushed for enhanced legislative and financial scrutiny and development of the Parliament. She is an advocate for economic, social, and political empowerment in Small Island and Developing States (SIDS) and is committed to fostering strong, connected Legislatures. She is passionate about community, prevention of violence, women’s leadership, health, and disaster-risk reduction.
The outgoing CPA Small Branches Chairperson is Hon. Angelo Farrugia, MP, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Malta who has held the office from 2016 until 2019. Hon. Angelo Farrugia has worked tirelessly in promoting the CPA Small Branches within the wider CPA network and establishing a CPA Small Branches strategic plan which has given increased focus to the work of the CPA in areas such as climate change which severely impacts on the smallest jurisdictions in the Commonwealth.
The outgoing CPA Small Branches Chairperson, Hon. Angelo Farrugia, MP and the CPA Chairperson, Hon. Emilia Lifaka, MP both congratulated Hon. Niki Rattle on her election.
The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Mr Akbar Khan said: “I congratulate Hon. Angelo Farrugia, MP, outgoing CPA Small Branches Chairperson for the important achievements he has made during his term in office as the first CPA Small Branches Chairperson. On behalf of the entire CPA Membership, we are incredibly grateful to him for his leadership over the past three years. I very much look forward to working with Hon. Niki Rattle, the new CPA Small Branches Chairperson during the next three years and wish her all the very best in this important role.”
Under CPA election rules only delegates from CPA Small Branches to the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference could take part in the vote to elect a new CPA Small Branches Chairperson. There were two candidates for the position of CPA Small Branches Chairperson: Hon. Niki Rattle, Speaker of the Cook Islands Parliament; and Hon. Juan Watterson, SHK, Speaker of the House of Keys at the Parliament of the Isle of Man (Tynwald).
The election of the new Chairperson of Small Branches took place at the 37th CPA Small Branches Conference held in Kampala, Uganda as part of the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference.
Of the over 180 Branches of the CPA, forty-three Branches are classified as ‘Small Branches’ which are defined as jurisdictions having a population below 500,000 people. The CPA Headquarters Secretariat works closely with Small Branches in all Regions of the CPA to identify their unique needs and requirements in parliamentary strengthening, development and cooperation.
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