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THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF BURKINA FASO

The Constitutional reform of January 2002 abolished the House of Representatives.

 

It would be replaced with the National General Conference (Conférence générale de la Nation) ; but its nature, its composition and its competence were not yet specified.

I - COMPOSITION [1] 

178 representatives (currently 176) as follows : 

 60 representatives elected by Provincial Councils ;

 60 representatives of women’s associations, rural districts, the armed and paramilitary forces, trade unions, citizens living abroad, and the traditional community (10 from each category) ;

 20 representatives of associations in the field of sports, artists, youth, human rights and the informal sector (4 from each category) ;

 6 representatives of the Protestant and Catholic communities (3 each) ;

 4 representatives appointed by the President of Burkina Faso ;

 28 other representatives (14 categories with two representatives each). 

 

II – ELECTORAL SYSTEM 

Universal indirect election.

Term of office : 3 years.

Most recent election : April 1999. 

 

III – ORGANISATION OF SESSIONS  

A - ORDINARY SESSIONS  

Two full ordinary sessions are held every year at the same time as the National Assembly:

. the first opens on the first Wednesday of March;

. the second opens on the last Wednesday of September,

or, in the event of it coinciding with a public holiday, on the next working day.

No session may last more than 90 days. 

B - EXTRAORDINARY SESSIONS 

The House of Representatives meets in extraordinary session when convened by its President, or at the request of the President of Burkina Faso, the Prime Minister or two thirds of the members; it works to an agreed agenda. 

An extraordinary session is closed when the agenda has been exhausted, and may last no more than 15 days. 

 

IV – RELATIONS WITH THE OTHER CHAMBER AND THE EXECUTIVE 

A - LEGISLATIVE POWERS  

The House of Representatives has a consultative role, and has no legislative powers. It presents opinions: these are mandatory when required. 

The ability to ask the House of Representatives for a consultative opinion on a proposal or draft law deemed to be of national importance lies with :

. the Government ;

. the National Assembly ;

. the Permanent Office of the House of Representatives. 

The House’s opinion is sought on matters governed by constitutional rules. 

Since the constitutional reform voted by the deputies on April 11 2000, the House of Representatives must be consulted when the National Assembly is voting laws on :

. citizenship, civic rights and the exercise of public liberties,

. nationality, matrimonial regimes, successions and donations,

. the procedure under which customs are observed and harmonised into the fundamental principles of the Constitution,

. protection of freedom of the press and access to information,

. integration of national cultural values. 

It may :

. have referred to it draft laws and legal proposals ;

. have matters of national importance referred to it, or automatically deal with them itself;

. act as mediator ;

. file advance questions, interlocutory motions and counter-proposals relating to opinions and recommendations. 

B – SUPERVISORY POWER 

Power to set up Commissions of Inquiry

C – RELATIONS WITH THE EXECUTIVE 

The President of Burkina Faso communicates with the House of Representatives in person, or by way of messages read by the President of the House.

Members of the Government have access to the House and its Commissions, and may be assisted by experts.

Copies of all draft laws and of messages from the President of Burkina Faso and the Prime Minister are sent to them by the National Assembly.

The House of Representatives may ask for explanations or comments on any draft law or concerning any other matter on which its opinion has been sought. 

D – RELATIONS WITH THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY 

The President of the National Assembly communicates with the House of Representatives in person, or by way of messages read by the President of the House.

Presidents of Commissions of the National Assembly have access to the House and its Commissions.

Copies of all legal proposals lodged with the National Assembly are sent to the House.

The House may ask for explanations or comments on any legal proposals lodged with the National Assembly.

The National Assembly specifies the government and private bills on which it will be seeking an opinion at the Presidents’ Conference.

Opinions are set out in reports lodged with the Office of the National Assembly. 

 

V – SPECIAL MEASURES 

 

A – The President of Burkina Faso may, after consulting the Prime Minister and President of the House of Representatives, dissolve the National Assembly.

B - EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES  

When the country’s institutions are under threat, the President of Burkina Faso, after deliberations in the Council of Ministers and consultations with the Presidents of the National Assembly, the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court, takes whatever measures are dictated by the circumstances. 

C – The President of the House of Representatives is the fourth highest-ranking person in the State. 

 


[1] Constitution of 11 June 1991 revised 27 January 1997 : Resolution ratifying the mandate of members of the House of Representatives adopted on 28 September 1995.

 

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