RASTRIYA SABHA THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF NEPAL
NB - On april 2006, the King Gyanendra restored the Parliament that he had dissolved on May 2002. Peace negociations are in discussions in order to put an end to civil war.
I - COMPOSITION
- 60 members of whom:
- 10 are nominated by the King from among persons of high reputation who have rendered distinguished service in various areas of national life;
- 35 (of whom at least three are females) are elected by the Chamber of Representatives;
- 15 are elected indirectly.
II - ELECTORAL SYSTEM
- Method of voting: Proportional representation system with single transferable vote for the 35 members elected by the Chamber of Representatives and the 15 members elected in the five regions (three per region) at the level of villages, towns and districts
- Term of Office : 6 years, 1/3 elected every two years.
- Most recent election : June 27 2001.
- Eligibility : 35 years, Nepalese citizen.
- Persons ineligible to hold office in the Senate: Holders of profit-making positions, members of the other assembly.
III - ORGANISATION OF SESSIONS
The King convenes Parliament into session in the month following the elections of the Chamber of Representatives. The King convenes other sessions. The interval between two sessions may not exceed six months.
The King may prolong the session of one or both chambers of Parliament.
IV - RELATIONS WITH THE OTHER CHAMBER AND THE EXECUTIVE
A - LEGISLATIVE POWERS
1) Powers to initiate legislation
The National Council has the power to initiate legislation.
2) Right amendment
3) Legislative procedure
a) Consideration of bills
A bill may be tabled at the Office of one or other of the assemblies, with the exception of financial laws, which may only be tabled at the Office of the Chamber of Representatives.
A bill debated by one chamber of Parliament must be forwarded as quickly as possible to the other chamber. If the law is passed, it is forwarded to the King for approval.
A bill involving financial provisions must, after debate by the Chamber of Representatives, be forwarded to the National Council which must return it within 15 days to the Chamber of Representatives, with recommendations if required. If the Chamber of Representatives approves the recommendations, it forwards the bill to the King for approval.
If the National Council does not return the text within 15 days, the Chamber of Representatives may forward it to the King.
Any bill, with the exception of those embodying financial provisions, must be returned after the adoption of recommendations within two months following the date of receipt. If the National Council does not submit it, the Chamber of Representatives may, by the majority of the members present, forward the bill to the King.
If the bill is rejected or amended by the other chamber, it returns to the assembly which originated the text. If the Chamber of Representatives passes a text rejected or amended by the National Council such as it was or in an amended form, by a majority of those present, it is forwarded to the King for approval.
A bill against which amendments have been tabled and which has been forwarded to the National Council by the Chamber of Representatives, is submitted to the King for approval if the National Council tables a resolution to pass the amended text.
If the text is not passed, the two chambers meet conjointly. If passed, it is forwarded to the King.
The following bills are forwarded to a mixed committee of the two chambers:
- bills which, although passed by the National Council, have been rejected by the Chamber of Representatives ; or
- bills which have been returned by the National Council amended by the Chamber of Representatives, but on which the National Council has rejected the amendments.
If the mixed committee passes the text as it is or in an amended form, the originating chamber forwards it to the King for approval:
Draft bills debate on which has not finished at the end of the session are to be debated in the following session.
If the Chamber of Representatives is dissolved or if the legislature completes its term of office, the bill is nullified.
A proposed law may be withdrawn by its author with the approval of the chamber.
b) Request for further deliberation
Except for finance bills, if the King desires that deliberations should continue, he may return the bill to the original chamber, accompanied by a message, within a maximum period of one month. In this case, a joint committee of the two assemblies meets and the King then has 30 days to give his approval.
If he considers it necessary, the King may promulgate statutes when Parliament is not in session. These have the force of law. They must be presented at the next session before the two chambers, otherwise they cease to be effective after a period of six months from their promulgation or sixty days after the start of the session..
B - REVIEW POWERS
1) Expenditures which are covered by the Consolidation Fund (remuneration of the royal family, of the Parliament and of other bodies) must be approved annually by the Parliament.
2) Treaties must be ratified by 2/3 of the members present of both chambers meeting together as Congress.
C - RELATIONS WITH THE KING
The King may address one or other chamber, or the two chambers sitting together, and may convoke its members for this purpose. He delivers a speech at the first session following the election of the Chamber of Representatives and, before a joint sitting of the two chambers of Parliament, at the beginning of each annual session. He may address a message to one or the other chamber, which is then required to submit its views to him.
No debate may take place on the royal family.
D - DISSOLUTION
The National Council may be dissolved.
V - SPECIAL PROVISIONS
THE PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL
He is elected by all the members of the Council for a period of six years.
He is the fifth personality of the State.
He represents the Council within the public authorities and is a member by right of various constitutional proceedings external to Parliament.
He provides the representation of the Council within international organisations.
Within parliamentary proceedings, he only participates in voting and intervenes when the votes are equal.
The President of the National Council is a member of the Constitutional Council.