ZUPANIJSKI DOM - THE CHAMBER OF THE DISTRICTS OF CROATIA
N.B. - In March 2001, the House of representatives has passed the abolition of the House of the districts where the opposition was in the majority.
I - COMPOSITION
Representation is regionally based :
3 seats for each of the 21 districts (Zupanijas) of the country,
- i.e., 63 members ;
- 5 members appointed by the Head of State.
In all, therefore, there are 68 members.
In addition, the President of the Republic, after the conclusion of his term of office becomes a life-member of the Chamber of Districts, unless he specifically renounces this office.
II - ELECTORAL SYSTEM
Method of voting : direct universal suffrage by proportional representation.
District lists which poll less than 5 % of votes are excluded from the distribution of seats.
Term of office : 4 years.
Most recent election : April 13, 1997.
Age of eligibility : 18 years.
III - ORGANISATION OF SESSIONS
A - ORDINARY SESSIONS
Two per year :
- the first from January 15 to June 30 ;
- the second from September 15 to December 15.
B - EXTRAORDINARY SESSIONS
On the request of the President of the Republic, of the Government or of the majority of the members of this chamber.
IV - RELATIONS WITH THE OTHER CHAMBER AND THE EXECUTIVE
A - LEGISLATIVE POWERS
1) Powers to initiate legislation
Possessed by the Chamber of Districts, as well as by the members and the committees of the Chamber of Representatives and the Government.
2) Right of amendment
3) Legislative Procedure
A law is voted on by the Chamber of Representatives.
a) Normal procedure
Within 15 days following the voting through of a law by the Chamber of Representatives, the Chamber of Districts may send back the law for a second reading, accompanied by its reasoned arguments. In this case, the Chamber of Representatives votes through the law by a majority of the total number of members of the assembly, except for laws which have to be passed by a 2/3 majority.
b) Special provisions
With regard to laws relating to the sovereign rights of the nation, or those having an effect on the human and civil rights and freedoms established by the Constitution, the electoral system, the organisation, the conferred powers and means of action of State bodies, and on the organisation of free local administration and management, the Chamber of Districts is to give its preliminary advice to the Chamber of Representatives.
B - REVIEW POWERS
1) Rights of the members of the Chamber of Districts to ask questions of the Government and to ministers personally.
2) Capacity to create committees of enquiries on any topic of public interest.
3) Report to the Parliament, once a year, by the President of the Republic on the state of the Republic.
C- ADVISORY POWERS
Right of the Chamber of Districts to debate and give its opinion on questions which fall within the competence of the Chamber of Representatives.
V - SPECIAL PROVISIONS
A - DISSOLUTION OF THE CHAMBER OF DISTRICTS
On the decision of the majority of its members.
B - WITH RESPECT TO REVISIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION
The Chamber of Representatives must take the sense of the Chamber of Districts before deciding to proceed to make such revisions.
Similarly, a preliminary briefing must be given to the Chamber of Districts before the Chamber of Representatives revises a bill. .
C - RIGHT TO PROPOSE RECOURSE TO A REFERENDUM.
D - ASSOCIATION WITH OTHER STATES
1) An initiative to propose a procedure of association between Croatia and other States may emanate from 1/3 or more of the members of Parliament (as well as from the President of the Republic and the Government).
A preliminary decision of association is voted through by Parliament by a majority of 2/3 of the totality of its members (the decision is then submitted to a referendum).
2) The same procedure applies to a "disassociation", except in the case where, by reason of exceptional circumstances and on the proposal of 1/3 of its members or of the President of the Republic or of the Government, the Parliament is allowed to decide on the "disassociation" with a view to preserving the sovereignty of the Republic, by a majority of 2/3 of the votes of the members present.
E - EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES
1) A decision to issue a declaration of war and also a conclusion of peace is within the remit of the President of the Republic, on the basis of the previous decision of Parliament.
2) Limitation of certain rights and freedoms constitutionally guaranteed by Parliament with a majority of 2/3 of all its members in the case of war, natural calamities or if the independence and unity of the Republic are directly threatened.
If Parliament is prevented from meeting, the decision is taken by the President of the Republic.
F - PARLIAMENT HOLDS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE NATIONAL BANK OF CROATIA.
G - PROTECTION OF MAGISTRATES
A magistrate who has been suspended has the right to request protection from the Parliament, through the Chamber of Districts.
H - APPOINTMENTS
1) Appointment of the President and the members of the Higher Council of the Magistracy.
2) Appointment of the judges of the Constitutional Court by the Chamber of Representatives, on the proposal of the Chamber of Districts.