Westminster Foundation for Democracy is launching a research paper on the role that parliaments have played so far during the COVID-19 crisis as part of our ongoing partnership with the University of Birmingham.
The pandemic generated challenges for all democratic institutions, and legislatures were no exceptions, having to consider how to adapt to debate, pass legislation and scrutinise the actions of governments. This was not just a question of ensuring an effective health response. During this period, we have witnessed considerable democratic backsliding, and so maintaining oversight and accountability has been important both for the public and democratic health of the nation. We therefore need to know the answers to key questions such as:
- What role have legislatures played in responding to COVID-19, particularly in scrutinising government’s actions to address the crisis?
- What have been the main enablers and barriers to effective legislative scrutiny?
- Which legislative actors have been involved in responding to Covid-19 and what is the role of leadership in their response?
To answer these questions, we developed the Legislatures During COVID-19 tracker, which monitors the legislative responses to COVID-19 in 65 countries, and also conducted in-depth case studies on Brazil, Nepal and Ukraine. Our findings reveal some surprising and interesting data that will be presented during the webinar:
- 52% legislatures sat regularly, with 35% sitting irregularly between 1 March and 1 June.
- 12% of parliaments had extremely limited or no sittings during this time period.
- The majority of parliaments (69%) had some legislative oversight over the executive’s initial response to the crisis between 1 March to 1 May, which increased to 77% having some form of legislative oversight related to COVID-19 between 1 March and 1 September.
Join us for a presentation of the research findings and a discussion about how we can effectively support and strengthen parliaments’ important oversight role during emergencies.
- Who:Professor Nic Cheeseman and Dr Rebecca Gordon,
University of Birmingham
- When:10-11am - Tuesday 19th January 2021