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THE SENATE OF THE FIJI ISLANDS

 

After the military coup perpetrated on 5 December 2006, the parliament was dissolved.

I - COMPOSITION

 

32 members appointed by the Head of State, consisting of :

 

- 14 proposed by the Grand Council of Chiefs (Bose Levu Vakaturaga),

 

- 9 proposed by the Prime Minister,

 

- 8 proposed by the leader of the Opposition,

 

- 1 proposed by the Rotuma Council.

 

Term of office: the same as for representatives (5 years, except in the event of dissolution).

 

Most recent election: 6 June 2006

 

Minimum age : 21.

 

II - ELECTORAL SYSTEM

 

Not applicable.

 

III - ORGANISATION OF SESSIONS

 

A - ORDINARY SESSIONS

 

Parliament is convened by the President of the Republic at the proposal of the Prime Minister, but no more than six months may intervene between sessions.

 

B - EXTRAORDINARY SESSIONS

 

The President of the Republic may convene Parliament in an extraordinary session at the written request of at least 18 deputies.

 

C - HOLDING OF SITTINGS

 

When Parliament is in session but the House of Representatives has not held a sitting for over two months, the President of the House, at the written request of at least 18 deputies, may arrange a sitting no later than two weeks after the date of the request.

 

IV - RELATIONS WITH THE OTHER CHAMBER AND THE EXECUTIVE

 

A - LEGISLATIVE POWERS

 

Legislative powers are conferred upon a Parliament composed of the President, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

 

1) Right to propose legislation

 

No.

 

2) Right of amendment

 

Yes, except in fiscal matters or relating to the allocation of revenue. Furthermore, the Senate is not allowed to increase the burden of taxation on citizens.

 

3) Legislative procedure

 

a) Ordinary procedure

 

Once they have been examined by the House of Representatives, bills are passed on to the Senate.

 

If the Senate amends a text, the House of Representatives may either accept it, reject it or pass the text with changes.

 

If the House of Representatives rejects an amendment by the Senate, the bill is returned to it in the version in which it has already been passed by the House.

 

If the House of Representatives passes a bill in the course of two successive sessions and with an interval of at least six months, and, in both cases, the Senate rejects the bill or passes it with changes which are not agreed to by the House, the bill may be presented to the President of the Republic for approval (which he may not refuse provided the procedure has been complied with).

 

If the House sees fit, it may include amendments in a bill that has been rejected or passed by the Senate with modifications that the House has not accepted, which, if they are accepted by the Senate, would be acceptable for the House.

 

If the Senate passes a bill under these conditions, the amendments are considered as amendments by the Senate, accepted by the House of Representatives.

 

b) Emergency procedure

 

When the Prime Minister certifies in writing to the President of the Senate that a bill passed by the House is an urgent measure, the text is passed on to the Senate at least seven days of sitting before the end of the session

 

If the Senate does not pass the bill within this period of seven days from its being transmitted or if it passes it with modifications that are not accepted by the House within this period, the text is passed on to the President for approval.

 

c) Procedure in financial matters

 

If a bill, passed by the House of Representatives and certified by its President as being a credit bill, is not voted in accordance by the Senate at the end of the sitting following the day it is transmitted, this text must be presented to the President for approval unless the House of Representatives decides otherwise.

 

A finance bill (other than those referred to above) passed by the House of Representatives and certified as such by the President of the House is passed on to the Senate at least 21 days of sitting before the end of the session. If the Senate does not pass it in accordance within the time limit of 21 days' sitting after its transmission, this text must be presented to the President for approval unless the House decides otherwise.

 

d) Special procedures for certain acts establishing public rights

 

1 - The modification of certain acts concerning the development of Fiji and its territories cannot be presented to the President for approval until it has had three readings in each assembly and provided it has not been rejected by the Senate unless, on its third reading, the text is approved by at least 9 of the 14 members proposed by the Grand Council of Chiefs.

 

2 - Modification of the Act concerning owners and tenants of agricultural land may not be submitted to the President for approval before three readings in each assembly and on condition that, on its third reading, the text is approved by the vote of at least two thirds of the members of each assembly and, in the Senate, by the votes of at least 9 of the 14 senators proposed by the Grand Council of Chiefs.

 

B - ANNUAL BUDGET

 

Each year, the relevant minister presents the Senate (and the House of Representatives) with the annual budget showing his estimates of revenue and ordinary and capital expenditure in respect of the normal services of the Government and of Parliament.

 

C - SUPERVISORY POWERS

 

No supervisory powers.

 

V - SUNDRY MEASURES

 

A - CHANGING THE CONSTITUTION

 

Any bill to change the Constitution must, whether amended or not, go through three readings in each assembly.

 

On the 2nd and 3rd readings, it must be passed by the votes of at least two thirds of the members of each assembly.

 

As for certain provisions relating to the House of Representatives, changes to the provisions concerning the rights of communities or those referred to in this paragraph must, to be passed by the Senate, receive the votes of at least 9 of the 14 senators proposed by the Grand Council of Chiefs on their 3rd reading.

 

The procedure provided for in the 4th paragraph of section IV/A/3/a) is not applicable, nor is the emergency procedure.

 

B - THE OMBUDSMAN

 

1) At the request of a senator (or of a deputy, or a parliamentary committee or on his own initiative), the ombudsman inquires into the actions taken in the scope of the administration of a department or an established authority.

 

2) If within a reasonable period, the measures prescribed by the ombudsman to settle a problem have not been taken, he presents the Senate (and the House of a Representatives) with a report comprising the comments of the department or authority concerned.

 

3) The ombudsman presents the Senate (and the House of Representatives) with a copy of his Annual report to the President.

 

C - THE GENERAL REGULATOR OF PUBLIC FINANCE

 

The general regulator submits a report to Parliament on the inspections he has carried out, at least once a year.

 

The Parliament may confer duties and powers upon the general regulator.

 

Within thirty days of its being filed, or if parliament is not sitting on the first day of sitting after the end this period, the President of the House of Representatives may invite the leader of the opposition of each of these two assemblies to submit the general regulator's report to them.