THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
On 6 March 2003 the transition draft Constitution was approved in Pretoria , South Africa adopted solemnly by the delegates in the inter-Congolese dialogue (icd) on 1 April 2003 .
The transition Parliament is bicameral. The Senate is in charge of designing the draft Constitution, which will then be submitted to referendum. Moreover, the Senate has a mandate as a mediator in political conflicts between institutions.
The signature of the inter-Congolese dialogue final paper, on 2 April 2003 in Sun City , South Africa , symbolises the beginning of the transition period. Both chambers of the transition parliament opened their first ordinary session on 6 October 2003 .
I - COMPOSITION
The Senate is composed of 120 members of at least 40 years old, appointed by ICD bodies and entities.
The Senate is designed to ensure the representation of all provinces as well as a significant number of women.
Each of the 8 members of the Senate Bureau shall come from a different body or entity.
The 120 senators have been chosen by each ICD body - belligerents, civil society and political opposition - regarding the representation of these bodies in the national forum that ended in the government global agreement on 17 December 2002 .
II - SESSIONS SYSTEM
A - ORDINARY SESSIONS
Two ordinary sessions per year, each one of a maximal duration of 3 months :
- the first opens on the first Monday of April
- the second opens on the first Monday of October
B - EXTRAORDINARY SESSIONS
On a determined agenda, convened by :
- the President of the Republic on government's request, and decided by the Council of Ministers ;
- the President of the Senate on Bureau's decision or on written request signed by the absolute majority of senators (within the range of competence of the Senate).
III - RELATIONS WITH THE OTHER ASSEMBLY AND THE EXECUTIVE
A - LEGISLATIVE POWER
Regarding the legislative field, texts dealing with nationality, decentralisation, public finance, the electoral system, and institutions supporting democracy, shall be submitted to the Senate.
1) Legislative initiative
Belongs to every senator within the range of competence of the Senate, together with the government and every deputy.
Before their examination, private bills shall be notified for information to the government. Within ten days, the government shall refer to the assembly's Bureau for its possible observations.
2) Right to amendment
Belongs to government, deputies and senators.
3) Legislative procedure
Within the range of competence of the Senate, texts shall be adopted in identical terms by the National Assembly and the Senate.
In the event of disagreement between the two assemblies or in case of emergency declared by the government, a joint committee shall be in charge of producing a text that must be adopted simultaneously in both chambers.
In the event there is still a disagreement between the two parliamentary assemblies, the last decision shall belong to the National Assembly.
4) Other deliberation
Within the deadline of promulgation (15 days after the end of the period of submission to the High Court of Justice - see below), the President of the Republic may, through a justified message, ask the National Assembly and the Senate - within its range of competence - for another deliberation of the bill or some of its articles.
The concerned text shall be adopted with a 2/3 majority of present members of the National Assembly and Senate, either in its initial form or after modification.
5) Constitutional control
The High Court of Justice can be submitted an action for unconstitutionality by :
- the President of the Republic within six clear days after transmission of the bill finally adopted ;
- at least 1/10th of deputies within six clear days after the final adoption ;
- at least 1/10th of senators within six clear days after the final adoption of the bill within the range of competence of the Senate.
6) Special measures relating to organic laws
Organic laws shall be adopted with the absolute majority of members composing the National Assembly and the Senate.
They shall necessarily be submitted to the constitutional control of the High Court of justice.
They cannot be considered by enabling legislation.
B - CONTROLLING POWER
Within its range of competence, the means of information and control of the Senate on the government, companies, public institutions and services are :
- oral or written questions, with or without discussion, but not followed by voting ;
- questions on matters of current interest ;
- questions put to ministers;
- commissions of inquiry ;
- hearings by the commissions.
C - RELATIONS WITH THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC