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THE MAJLIS AL-MUSTACHARIN - THE HOUSE OF COUNCILLORS OF MOROCCO

I - COMPOSITION

 

270 councillors elected by indirect voting.

 

II - ELECTORAL SYSTEM

 

A - 162 councillors (= three fifths) are elected in each region by an electoral college composed of representatives of the local authorities (local and regional councils, prefectural and provincial assemblies).

 

B - 108 councillors (two fifths) are elected in each region by electoral colleges composed of members of the professional chambers (industry, agriculture, the craft industry, commerce, services, marine fishing) and members elected at national level by an electoral college composed of employee's representatives.

 

C - Term of office : 9 years, renewable by one third every 3 years.

 

D - First election : 5 December 1997

Most recent election : September 2006

 

III - ORGANISATION OF SESSIONS

 

A - ORDINARY SESSIONS

 

2 per year :

 

- the first one commences on the 2nd Friday in October ;

 

- the second commences on the 2nd Friday in April.

 

Closure of the session may be announced by decree when Parliament has been in session for at least three months.

 

B - EXTRAORDINARY SESSIONS

 

- either at the request of an absolute majority of the members of one of the two houses ;

 

- or by decree ;

 

on a specific agenda.

 

The session is closed by decree when the agenda is completed.

 

IV - RELATIONS WITH THE OTHER CHAMBER AND THE EXECUTIVE

 

A - LEGISLATIVE POWERS

 

1) Right to propose legislation

 

Yes, in conjunction with the Prime Minister and the representatives.

 

But bills are inadmissible when passing them would give rise, in relation to the finance law, to either a reduction in public funds, or the creation of or increase in a public expense.

 

Furthermore, only the Government may table bills that change the investment expenditure arising from the development plans approved by Parliament.

 

2) Right of amendment

 

Yes, in conjunction with the Government and the representatives.

 

But bills are inadmissible when passing them would give rise, in relation to the finance law, to either a reduction in public funds, or the creation of or increase in a public expense.

 

3) Legislative procedure

 

a) Tabling and shuttle

 

Bills are tabled before the Office of one of the two chambers and sent to a committee for examination.

 

Government and private bills are examined successively by the two chambers until an identical text is passed.

 

After two readings by each assembly (one only in a case of urgency declared by the Government), the latter may instigate the meeting of a joint committee with equal representation. The text drawn up by this committee can be submitted to the two chambers to be passed by the Government. No amendment is admissible without the Government's agreement.

 

In the event of failure of the joint committee with equal representation or rejection of the text that it has drawn up, the Government can leave the last word with the House of Representatives which may only then pass the text - modified, where applicable, by amendments resulting from parliamentary discussion and accepted by the Government - with an absolute majority of its members.

 

b) Special measures

 

1- Organic laws relating to the House of Councillors must be voted on in the same terms by both chambers.

 

2- Treaties committing State finances may not be ratified unless they are first approved by law.

 

3- Legislative decrees

 

In between sessions, the Government may make legislative decrees with the agreement of the relevant committees of both chambers, within a period of 6 days, and these must be subject to ratification by Parliament during the following ordinary session.

 

In the case of disagreement between the two committees, the Government may ask for a joint committee to be set up with equal representation.

 

The agreement is deemed to have been refused if the joint committee with equal representation does not reach a solution within 3 days of its referral or if the decision proposed by it is not passed by the relevant committees within 4 days.

 

c) The agenda of the House of Councillors (like that of the House of Representatives) is drawn up by its Office.

 

It gives priority, and in the order set by the Government, to the discussion of bills tabled by the Government and private bills accepted by it.

 

B - SUPERVISORY POWERS

 

1) Questions

 

One sitting per week is reserved as a priority for questions by councillors and for the replies of the Government.

 

The Government's response must be given within 20 days of the date the question is referred to it.

 

2) Commissions of inquiry

 

These may be set up at the request of the majority of councillors (or of the King) to gather the relevant information on the facts defined. Their task comes to an end when they file their report. They may not be set up when the facts have given rise to legal proceedings and for as long as these proceedings are in progress.

 

If a commission has already been set up, its task ends immediately upon the institution of a preliminary investigation relating to the facts which gave rise to its being set up.

 

3) Responsibility of the Government

 

Following appointment of the members of the Government by the King, the Prime Minister presents himself before each of the two chambers to set forth the Government's programme.

 

This is then subject to a debate but not followed by a vote before the Chamber of Councillors.

 

4) Motions of warning or of no confidence

 

a) The House of Councillors may vote on a motion of warningto the Government, which must be signed by at least one third of the councillors.

 

It must be voted for by an absolute majority of the members composing the house The vote may only take place three clear days after the tabling of the motion, the text of which is immediately sent to the Prime Minister and he has a time limit of 6 days to present to the house the Government's position on the grounds for the warning.

 

The Government declaration is followed by a debate without a vote.

 

b) A motion of no confidence is only admissible if it is signed by at least a third of the members composing the House of Councillors.

 

It must be voted for by a two-thirds majority of the councillors. The vote may only take place 3 clear days after the tabling of the motion.

 

A vote of no confidence leads to the collective resignation of the Government.

 

C - DISSOLUTION

 

The King may, after having consulted with the Presidents of both chambers and the President of the Constitutional Council and having addressed a message to the Nation, dissolve the two chambers of Parliament or just one of them by dahir or decree.

 

An election is held at the latest 3 months following the dissolution.

 

In the meantime, the King exercises the powers devolved to Parliament in legislative matters.

 

A further dissolution may only take place one year after the election of the new house.

 

V - SPECIAL MEASURES

 

A - CONSTITUENT POWERS

 

1) Right to propose revision of the Constitution

 

This rests with the members of the House of Councillors in conjunction with the King and the members of the House of Representatives.

 

2) Passing of revisions

 

A draft revision arising from parliament may only be passed by a vote by a two-thirds majority of the members composing the chamber from which it is issued.

 

It is submitted to the other chamber which may pass it by a two-thirds majority of its members.

 

The revision is final once it has been passed by referendum.

 

B - THE PRESIDENT OF THE CHAMBER OF COUNCILLORS IS A MEMBER OF THE REGENCY COUNCIL

 

C - STATE OF EMERGENCY

 

Proclaimed by dahir by the King when the integrity of the national territory is threatened or events arise that are likely to call into question the operation of constitutional institutions.

 

The Presidents of the assemblies as well as the President of the Constitutional Council must have first been consulted and a message addressed to the Nation.

 

A state of emergency does not lead to the dissolution of Parliament.

 

D - EXTENSION OF MARTIAL LAW BEYOND 30 DAYS MUST BE BACKED UP BY A LAW

 

E - CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY OF MEMBERS OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR CRIMES AND MISDEMEANOURS COMMITTED IN THE EXERCISE OF THEIR DUTIES

 

1) Indictment before the High Court by both chambers of Parliament.

 

The proposal for indictment must be signed by at least a quarter of the members of the house before which it is initially presented.

 

It must be approved by an identical vote given in each chamber by secret ballot and with a two-thirds majority of its members, with the exception of those called upon to participate in the proceedings, in the investigation or in the judgement.

 

2) The High Court is composed on an equal basis of councillors and elected representatives.

 

F - SUPERVISION OF CONSTITUTIONALITY

 

The President of the House of Councillors or a quarter of its members may refer laws to the Constitutional Council before their promulgation.

 

3 of the 12 members of the Council are appointed by the President of the House of Councillors, after consultation with the groups.