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THE SENATE OF MEXICO

I - COMPOSITION

 

128 senators.

 

For each of the 31 States of the Federal District (the city of Mexico and its surrounding area) two seats are filled by a majority election in which only one candidate is returned in each constituency (i.e. 64 senators) and one seat is allocated to the largest minority (i.e. 32 other senators). The remaining 32 seats are allocated in proportion to the votes received by each party at national level.

 

II - ELECTORAL SYSTEM

 

32 constituencies (the 31 federate States and the federal district).

 

Method of voting:

 

- majority voting in which only one candidate is returned in each constituency for senators elected in each State and the Federal District,

 

- election in which the voter votes for a national party list for 32 seats.

 

Age of eligibility: 25 (from the elections of July 2000).

 

Term of office: 6 years, election to two consecutive terms is prohibited.

 

Most recent election: 2 July 2000.

 

One substitute is elected with each holder.

 

III - ORGANISATION OF SESSIONS

 

A - ORDINARY SESSIONS

 

2 ordinary sessions per year:

 

- the first from 1st September to 15 December;

 

- the second from 15 March to 31 April.

 

B - EXTRAORDINARY SESSIONS

 

When convened by the standing committee of the Congress of the Union (composed of 19 deputies and 18 senators) on a specific agenda, stated in the notice of convocation.

 

The Senate (or the Chamber of Deputies) can be convened alone or with the other assembly.

 

IV - RELATIONS WITH THE OTHER CHAMBER AND THE EXECUTIVE

 

A - LEGISLATIVE POWERS

 

1) Right to propose legislation

 

The right to propose legislation is exercised within the framework of the field of law defined restrictively by the Federal Constitution.

 

2) Right of amendment

 

The Senate has the right to amend the texts that are submitted to it.

 

3) Legislative procedure

 

Bicameral system where both chambers have equal power.

 

Bills are discussed indiscriminately by either chamber initially, except for finance acts which are given their first reading by Chamber of Deputies.

 

Prior examination of the texts in committee is required before examination in a plenary session.

 

B - SUPERVISORY POWERS

 

1) The Senate can set up commissions of inquiry.

 

2) Approval of treaties and diplomatic conventions (see V below).

 

V - SPECIAL MEASURES

 

EXCLUSIVE POWERS OF THE SENATE

 

The Senate is exclusively competent to:

 

 Debate foreign policy on the basis of annual reports by the President of the Republic and the Minister of Foreign Relations;

 

 approve international treaties and diplomatic conventions;

 

 ratify the appointments of the Principle State Prosecutor, ministers, diplomatic agents, consuls general, senior civil servants of the Finance Ministry, army, navy and air force colonels and field officers;

 

 authorise the sending of troops abroad, the passage of foreign troops on national soil and the stationing of foreign squadrons in territorial waters for a period of over one month;

 

 authorise the President of the Republic to move the National Guard outside their States of origin;

 

 appoint a provisional governor responsible for calling elections in any State where the constitutional powers are failing;

 

 judge appeals formulated by one or more institutions of a State where differences of opinion arise between them. The arbitral decisions taken must be in accordance with the federal Constitution and with the laws of the State concerned;

 

 set itself up as a trial bench to deal with cases of misconduct committed by public servants;

 

 approve the appointments of members of the Supreme Court of Justice and accept or refuse their resignation or their dismissal at the proposal of the President of the Republic.