International Parliamentary Institutions: Some Preliminary Findings and Setting a Research Agenda

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UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
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UNU-CRIS Working Papers
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This paper aims at exploring which factors may promote or inhibit the empowerment of international parliamentary institutions (IPIs). According to the literature (Cutler 2006), an IPI may be defined as an international institution that is a regular forum for multilateral deliberations on an established basis of an either legislative or consultative nature, either attached to an international organization or itself constituting one, in which at least three states or trans-governmental units are represented by parliamentarians, who are either selected by national legislatures in a self-determined manner or popularly elected by electorates of the member states. Their origin dates back to the creation of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in 1889, but they mushroomed after the Second World War, especially after 1989-1991 (new regionalism, also known as open regionalism especially in literature on Latin America), and today their presence is established almost everywhere in the world. However, they display sensibly different features in terms of institutional and organizational patterns, rules and procedures, legal status, membership, resources, functions and powers. In this sense, the study will mainly explore the formal and actual powers of IPIs, in particular consultative, budgetary, oversight and co-legislative, in order to  analyse whether and how they develop over time. The question to be answered, then, is the following: what are the exogenous (structural) and endogenous factors that may account for the development of IPIs’ powers? In this paper, some preliminary findings will be presented.