DOM NARODA - THE HOUSE OF PEOPLES OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
The House of Peoples has a specific mandate to preserve the vital interests of Bosnia-Herzegovina's Muslim, Croat and Serbian communities.
A constitutionnal revision is now under discussion. Among the points studied, the legislative process is being debated.
I - PARLIAMENTARY COMPOSITION
15 delegates appointed by two local assemblies as follows:
- 10 by the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (5 Croats and 5 Muslims);
- 5 by the Republika Srpska (5 Serbs).
The House has a revolving chairmanship, as such the office of the chairman is successively held by a Serb, a Muslim and a Croat.
II - SYSTEM OF APPOINTMENT
The ten delegates from the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (five Croats and five Muslims) are designated by the delegates of the same communities to the local House of Peoples of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Delegates from the Republika Srpska are designated by the National Assembly of that same Republic.
Term of office: 2 years.
Last reappointed: 5 October 2002
Age for eligibility: 18 years.
III - PARLIAMENTARY SESSIONS
The House of Peoples meets in full session at the chairman's behest, or at the demand of one of his co-chairmen, the presidency, the council of ministers, or of any four members of the House.
If the Chairman does not convene the House within seven days following a request, the first co-chairman may convene the assembly.
The House of Peoples may sit throughout the year if it so decides.
IV - RELATIONS WITH OTHER HOUSE
AND EXECUTIVE POWER
The Parliament comprises two houses, the House of Representatives and the House of Peoples.
A - LEGISLATIVE POWER
1) Powers to initiate legislation
This power is extended to members of the House of Peoples as well as deputies of the House of Representatives, members of the presidency or the council of ministers or one or more of the parliamentary committees of each house.
2) Powers of amendment
3) Legislative procedure
Legislative bills must be approved by both houses.
Unless otherwise decided by the author of a proposal, bills are first presented before the House of Representatives.
Legislative bills are examined by one of the eight standing committees of the House of Peoples.
In each assembly, legislation must be voted by at least two-thirds of the representatives of each national assembly. Where this is not the case, a college of the chairman and the co-chairmen meets to obtain the necessary consent within three days of the vote. Should these efforts fail, a decision may be taken by a majority of delegates present, on condition that two-thirds or more of the members of each national assembly do not vote against the motion.
Once a bill has been adopted by one house, it is transmitted to the other within seven days. Where the other house amends it, the bill is returned before the first house which submits it to the other assembly for a definitive vote with or without its proposed amendments.
Procedure for defence of vital interests
A legislative proposal may be declared contrary to the vital interests of any one of the constituent peoples by a majority of the Muslim, Croat or Serb delegates. To be adopted by the House of Peoples, such proposals must be backed by a majority vote of the Muslim, Croat and Serb delegates.
Where a vital interest is thus invoked, and a majority of the Muslim, Serb or Croat delegates oppose the concerned measure, the chairman of the House of Peoples must immediately appoint a tripartite commission (Muslim, Croat and Serb) to resolve the problem.
At the end of a five-day period, should the commission's efforts fail to resolve this problem, the proposal is referred to the Constitutional Court, which examines its admissibility under an emergency procedure. Where the Court moves in favour of the proposal's admissibility, it is submitted for a vote of the House of Peoples within ten days. To be passed, the proposal in question must be voted by a majority of the Muslim, Croat and Serb delegates.
B - POWERS OF SCRUTINY
1) Vote of no confidence
The House of Peoples may censure the Council of Ministers which must then submit its resignation.
2) Ratification of treaties
International treaties may only be ratified with the Parliament's agreement.
3) Report on activities of institutions of Bosnia-Herzegovina
The Council of Ministers presents an activity report to the Parliament on matters concerning common institutions.
At least once yearly, this report includes a summary of public spending.
C - DISSOLUTION
The House of Peoples may be dissolved by the tripartite presidency (comprising three members, a Muslim, a Croat, and a Serb) or may dissolve itself by a decision which is approved by a majority of members representing at least two peoples.
V - SPECIAL PROVISIONS
REFERRAL BEFORE THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
Institutional disputes between the entities, between the entities and Bosnia-Herzegovina, or between common institutions, are referred to the Constitutional Court by the President of the House of Peoples or by one-quarter of its members (as well as by a member of the Presidency, the President of the council of ministers, the President of the House of Representatives or by a quarter of its members and one-quarter of the members of each of the local assemblies).