NATO PA elects new leadership with majority of women

25 November 2020

At their Annual Session, held online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, legislators from NATO member states elected five new Vice-Presidents of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA), alongside choosing US Congressman Gerald E. Connolly as new Assembly President. 

The five legislators were elected as Vice-Presidents for one-year terms and can be re-elected once.

•    Attila Mesterhazy (Hungary), whose term as NATO PA President came to an end yesterday as he was not eligible for re-election, will continue to serve in the Assembly leadership as Vice-President. Mr Mesterhazy has been a member of the Hungarian parliament since 2004 and is currently a vice-president of its Foreign Affairs Committee. In 2010-2014, he was the leader of the party he represents and a candidate for the office of Prime Minister. He served as NATO PA President from December 2019 until November 2020.

•    Mimi Kodheli (Albania), who has a PhD in economics, has served as Albania’s first female Defence Minister between 2013-2017. She has been a member of the Albanian parliament since 2009.

•    Karen McCrimmon (Canada) has had a 31-year military career. She became Canada’s first female air navigator and the first woman to command a Canadian Forces flying squadron. A veteran of Afghanistan, she has served in the Canadian parliament since 2015.

•    Senator Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam (France), a lawyer by training, has worked for numerous national and international institutions. She served as the first vice-president of the Assembly of French Expatriates before entering the French Senate in 2004 as a representative of French citizens living abroad. 

•    Marietta Giannakou (Greece) has held seats in the European Parliament and the Hellenic Parliament since 1984. She has carried out many distinguished parliamentary and government duties, notably as Minister for Health, Welfare and Social Security and Minister for National Education and Religious Affairs. She is a neurologist–psychiatrist by training.

The newly elected President and Vice-Presidents join Treasurer Wolfgang Hellmich (Germany) and Secretary General Ruxandra Popa on the Bureau of the NATO PA. Both started their tenures earlier in 2020.

Established in 1955, the NATO PA brings together members of parliaments from all NATO member countries and some associate parliaments. The Assembly is a forum for discussion on a wide range of security, political and economic matters and is NATO’s link to national parliaments and therefore citizens in the trans-Atlantic area.

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