THE SENEGALESE SENATE
N.B. - The constitutional referendum of January 7th 2001 abolished the Senegalese Senate.
Nevertheless, in order to offset the poor representation - seen as a threat to solidarity, national cohesion and social consensus - of local authorities and Senegalese citizens living abroad (which used to be the role of the Senate) and of economic and social forces (represented at the Economic and Social Council, which equally no longer exists), the Constitution was modified on 9th May 2003 by National Assembly to establish a High Council of the Republic in charge of representing its interests. However, this institution - seen as a `Conseil des Sages', namely an assembly of wisemen - shall essentially have an advisory role.
Members of the Council of the Republic for economic and social affairs were nominated through a decree dated 9 August 2004. 50 councillors were designated by local representatives, 25 councillors are from the socio-professional sphere and 25 members were appointed by the President of the Republic.
Referred to by public authorities - President of the Republic, government, or National Assembly - or on its own initiative, the Council of the Republic gives advice and studies on any issue relating to economic, financial, social, cultural, administrative, scientific, and technical issues according to its fields of competence. These advice and studies are brought to public attention and published in the Official Journal. The Council of the Republic may also be referred to for the examination of public and private draft bills as well as draft decrees relating to economic and social issues, excluding finance bills.
It is necessary referred to, for advice, on program draft bills relating to economic and social issues as well as those related to planning.
Each year during the first quarter, the Council of the Republic adopts a piece of advice on the social, cultural, administrative, economic, and financial situation of the country.
60 senators including :
- 45 who represent the local authorities of the Republic,
- 3 who represent the Senegalese who are resident outside Senegal,
- 12 nominated by the President of the Republic.
The term of office for a senator is 5 years.
II.- ELECTORAL SYSTEM
1) The senators representing the local authorities are elected by indirect universal suffrage within the framework of the ten regions (four to seven seats per region).
Electoral College : members of Parliament, members of local, municipal or regional councils (approximately 13.000 electors).
2) The senators representing the Senegalese resident abroad are chosen from among the 75 delegates of the Higher Council of Senegalese Abroad, by the members of the Council.
Age at which allowed to stand for election : 35 minimum.
First elected January 24th 1999.
III - SESSION SYSTEM
A - ORDINARY SESSIONS
Two ordinary sessions of three months maximum each :
- The first opens during the first quarter of the year,
- The second opens during the second fortnight of October.
The opening dates and length of the sessions are set by the National Assembly following the President of the Senate's recommendation.
B - EXTRAORDINARY SESSIONS
Extraordinary sessions last 30 days at the most and follow a pre-determined agenda :
- On request from at least half the deputies plus one,
- Or on the initiative of the President of the Republic after a proposal by the Prime Minister.
IV - RELATIONSHIP WITH THE OTHER CHAMBER AND THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH
A - LEGISLATIVE POWER
1) Legislative initiative
The senators have this initiative jointly with the President of the Republic and the deputies.
But bills proposed by senators are first examined by the National Assembly.
Parliamentary proposals must not cause either a reduction in public resources nor the creation or increase in public expense, unless they are accompanied by proposals to increase income.
2) Right to amendment
The senators have this initiative jointly with the President of the Republic and the members of Parliament.
Parliamentary amendments must not cause either a reduction in public resources nor the creation or increase in public expense, unless they are accompanied by proposals to increase income.
3) Legislative procedure
The Senate is referred to in second place to examine bills and non-government bills.
Before the public session, all bills and non-government bills are transmitted to be examined by one of the seven technical committees according to their competence (the President of the Republic must be kept informed of the working agendas of the Senate committees. He has representation for this).
The Senate has to rule within 20 days from the date of receipt (7 days if the government declares the case urgent).
If there is disagreement between the two chambers or the Senate has not made a declaration within the time limit, the National Assembly rules definitively.
* Voting procedure in committees (delegations committee) :
By delegation of the Senate through a resolution that sets the duration and the competence of the delegation.
Within these limits, the delegations committee (one of the seven technical committees) adopts deliberations according to the conditions of the ordinary legislative procedure and they are promulgated like laws. They are presented to the Office of the National Assembly at the latest on the first day of the ordinary session that follows their promulgation.
If not modified by Parliament within the first 30 days of the session, they become definitive.
B - CONTROLLING POWER
- Written or oral questions with or without debate
- Creation of select committees
- Resolutions destined for the President of the Republic on the initiative of the committees
V - SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS
A - CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
The senators have the initiative in matters of constitutional revision jointly with the President of the Republic and the members of Parliament.
Adoption procedure identical to the legislative procedure except that, in addition, the government or non-government revision proposal (if not put to a referendum) must be adopted by both chambers united in Congress with a three fifths majority of the vote.
B - Interim of the President of the Republic who resigns, is incapacitated or dies :
The President of the Senate if the National Assembly is dissolved (as it is the President of the National Assembly who would normally be acting President).
C - Election of half of the parliamentary judges to the High Court of Justice.