Article 73 of the Constitution and Article 84 of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament regulate the rights of ministers and MPs to submit bills and legislative proposals to Parliament. These articles stipulate that government ministers have the right to submit bills to Parliament, while all MPs, i.e. including opposition MPs, have the right to submit legislative proposals.
Article 85 of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament specifies the rules according to which bills and legislative proposals can be submitted, as well as the content they should have. This article stipulates that bills and proposals, “must not contain provisions unrelated to the main object” (of the legislation), while they must be “accompanied by an explanatory memorandum explaining the purpose of the proposed regulation.”
Although the above articles recognize the right of opposition MPs to submit bills, in December 2021 the MeRA25 party complained in a statement that, “the legislative initiative of the opposition parties manifested through the submission of bills is completely ignored.” This is because although these bills “should be discussed as a matter of priority once a month […] of the 20 bills tabled in the current parliamentary term, not a single one has been submitted for discussion to the relevant committee.”
Indeed, according to Article 74, paragraph 6 of the Constitution, once a month, on a day determined by the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament, pending legislative proposals should be included in the agenda for discussion in order of priority. Article 52 paragraph 2 of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament, states that pending legislative proposals are a priority for the agenda of the last Thursday of each month.
MeRA25 also criticized the ‘countless’ amendments that are submitted late; tabled even during the plenary debate, and which could be independent bills in themselves, with provisions irrelevant to the bill under discussion. These are put to a vote, they say, in clear violation of the Constitution and the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament. They also noted that MPs are only formally exercising parliamentary control over the government, rather than substantially, since “the government’s answers are superficial and not substantial.”
In a state governed by the rule of law, the right of opposition MPs to submit legislative proposals to Parliament is respected and applied in practice, meaning that they should be discussed in the competent committee within a reasonable time period.
The failure of the Government to submit these proposals for discussion in the relevant committee violates the relevant provisions of the Constitution and the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament.
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