THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF NAMIBIA
- Instituted in 1993.
- Represents the local authorities.
- Supervisory chamber.
I - COMPOSITION
26 members, i.e. 2 members for each of the 13 regions.
II - ELECTORAL SYSTEM
Election by indirect voting at regional level. Each region has its own electoral system.
Term of office : 6 years.
Most recent election : 26 November 2010
27 November 2010
Incompatibility : elected member of a local authority, salaried civil servant, conviction for an offence against Namibia since Independence, undischarged bankrupt.
III - ORGANISATION OF SESSIONS
Depends on the programme of sessions of the National Assembly which decides on their dates, on the understanding that there are two annual sessions (February to November with a recess in July and August).
IV - RELATIONS WITH THE OTHER CHAMBER AND THE EXECUTIVE
A - LEGISLATIVE POWERS
Laws voted on by the National Assembly are submitted to the President of the Assembly at the National Council for his opinion. Amendments may be proposed.
1) Right to propose legislation
2) Right of amendment
3) Legislative procedure
Bills are tabled before the National Assembly which, once it has examined them in the course of three readings, passes them on to the National Council which follows the same legislative procedure.
The National Council examines the bills that are passed on to it and submits reports containing recommendations. If the report supports the bill, the President may promulgate the law.
The National Council may reject a bill on principle, amend it or return it without amendment.
If the law is returned without amendment, it may be promulgated.
If the National Council proposes amendments, the bill returns to the National Assembly which re-examines it and may amend it, in the same way as the National Council or in a different way. The law, amended or not, is not sent back to the National Council. It is passed on to the President for promulgation.
The bill may be rejected in principle by a two-thirds majority of the National Council: this is then stated in the report. In this case, the report must then indicate whether amendments have been proposed. It is passed on to the National Assembly which may confirm its support for the bill with a two-thirds majority of all its members and therefore pass it on to the President of the Republic for promulgation. Otherwise, if the text is not amended, it becomes null and void. These provisions do not apply to bills concerning the levying of taxes and the use of public funds.
The National Council has a period of three months within which to submit its report, failing which it will be considered as having passed the bill.
For the National Council to be able to exercise its powers and carry out its duties, the presence of a majority of the members of the National Council is required for holding a meeting to exercise its powers and fulfil its functions.
Questions are decided by a majority of the votes of the members present. When the votes are equal, the President of the sitting has the casting vote.
B - SUPERVISORY POWERS
The National Council acts as a supervisory chamber.
It conducts inquiries on certain subjects of regional concern.
V - SPECIAL MEASURES
A - CHANGING THE CONSTITUTION
The Constitution may be repealed or amended by a joint meeting of both chambers, with a two-thirds majority in each of the chambers. If the two-thirds majority is not achieved at the National Council, the President may submit the act to a referendum.
B - THE PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL
The President of the National Council is elected for a term of six years.
He is the fourth most important figure of the State.
He makes ensures that all laws are constitutional.
He has a casting vote.