​The Autumn Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) was held at ExpoForum in St Petersburg from 14 to 18 October at the invitation of the Russian parliament.
Nearly 1,500 delegates from 173 IPU member countries took part in this global conference. The Swiss Federal Assembly was represented by the following members:

  • Margret Kiener Nellen, National Council, delegation president;
  • Andrea Caroni, Council of States, delegation vice president;
  • Céline Amaudruz, National Council;
  • Claude Hêche, Council of States;
  • Christian Lohr, National Council;
  • Filippo Lombardi, Council of States;
  • Felix Müri, National Council.

The 137th IPU Assembly:

The following main topics were addressed in the discussions:

Significant events for the Swiss delegation:

  • Margret Kiener Nellen was elected member of the IPU Executive Committee. She joins three other representatives of the European geopolitical group (of which there are 50 members) on this governing body of the IPU.
  • Andrea Caroni was elected member of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians. This committee does particularly important work examining, documenting and highlighting the situation of members of parliament, most frequently members of the opposition, who are threatenened, prevented from carrying out their mandate, imprisoned or even assassinated in the countries of IPU member parliaments.
  • Philippe Schwab, secretary general of the Federal Assembly, was elected president of the Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments (ASGP), which brings together the secretaries general of all the national members of the IPU. The ASGP is an independent organisation but it maintains close ties with the IPU, for which it acts as an advisory body. It meets each year at the same time and in the same place as the IPU.
  • The Swiss delegation made the most of its stay in St Petersburg and visited the Arctic and Antarctica Research Institute, with which Swiss researchers actively cooperate.
  • The Swiss consul general in St Petersburg Roger Kull held an evening reception at the embassy in honour of the delegations from Switzerland and Liechtenstein, to which members of the Swiss community in the city, representatives of the local authorities and members of the Russian parliament were also invited.
  • Furthermore, on the fringe of the assembly members of the Russian parliament tried to address the tensions marring the relations between the Council of Europe and Russia. The Russian parliament left the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) after the Russian delegation saw its voting rights provisionally withdrawn in response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimea. The vice president of the Duma,Piotr Tolstoy, and Konstantin Kosachev invited all the delegates who are members of both the IPU and the PACE to discuss the matter. Council of States member Filippo Lombardi attended this meeting in his role as vice president of the Swiss delegation to the PACE. Those present discussed the conditions under which the Russian delegation might be readmitted to the PACE.

For further information, please go to the IPU website.