History of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA)


The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) was founded in 1911 as the Empire Parliamentary Association and its affairs were administered by the United Kingdom Branch. The original member Branches were Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Evolving with the Commonwealth, the CPA in 1948 adopted its present name, changed its rules to enable all member Branches to participate in the Association’s management, and established a separate Secretariat to manage its affairs.

Today’s resurgence of parliamentary democracy is evident in the growth of the CPA. In the last decade, more than 50 new Parliaments and Legislatures joined or rejoined the CPA: Cameroon; new devolved Assemblies in Canada, India and the United Kingdom; Maldives; Mozambique; Nigeria and most of its states; Seychelles; South Africa and its provinces; Uganda, and Zanzibar in Tanzania.  Pakistan and its provinces, active members until the country’s 1999 military coup, rejoined the CPA in 2004.  In late 2003, Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth and the CPA. Fiji Islands returned to the CPA in 2002 and was an active member till its 2006 military coup returning again in 2016. Rwanda, which joined the Commonwealth in November 2009, is the newest Member of the CPA, having joined the CPA in 2011.

In 2013, an Executive decision had been taken by the Government of the Republic of The Gambia to withdraw from the Commonwealth 
(see Commonwealth statement here) with effect from 3 October 2013.

The CPA in 1989 created the constitutional posts of Patron and Vice-Patron. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of the Commonwealth consented to become Patron. The Vice-Patron is normally the Head of State or Government of the CPA Branch hosting the coming plenary conference.