Gylian Parliament

Gylian Parliament

Parlement gylienne (French)
12th Parliament
Type
Type
Houses
History
Founded
  • 28 April 1958 (Popular Assembly)
  • 1 February 1962 (Gylian Parliament)
Preceded byGeneral Council of the Free Territories
Leadership
Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies
Veþi Duósu, Independent
Speaker of the Senate
Þene Lamlyn, Independent
Structure
Seats800
500 Deputies
300 Senators
200px
Chamber of Deputies
political groups
Government
     National Bloc
     Centre Group
     Union for a New Republic
     Independent Regional Alliance for Minorities
Opposition
     Progressive Alliance
     Liberal Union
     Union for Freedom and Prosperity
     Non-inscrits and independents
Gylias-Senate-2000.svg
Senate
political groups
     Independents
Joint committees
28
Elections
Single transferable vote
Sortition and appointment by the President based on advice
Chamber of Deputies
last election
22 January 2020
Chamber of Deputies
next election
22 January 2024
Meeting place
Parliament Building, Mişeyáke, Mişeyáke
Website
http://www.parliament.gls/
GyliasSeal.png
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Gylias


The Gylian Parliament (French: Parlement gylienne) is the bicameral federal legislature of Gylias. It consists of the Chamber of Deputies (Chambre des députés) and Senate (Senat). Both assemblies meet in the Parliament Building in Mişeyáke, in separate chambers, and can meet jointly in certain circumstances.

The Chamber of Deputies is the lower house and primary legislative body at the federal level. It represents the people of Gylias, electing 5 members from multi-member districts known as circonscriptions. It currently has 500 members.

The Senate is the upper house. It represents the federation of Gylias. Previously elected from 1962 to 1995, since 2000 its members are chosen through sortition and appointment by the President based on advice. It currently has 300 members.

The Parliament took its current form with the Law on Electoral Representation of 1960, which provided for a bicameral federal parliament elected through single transferable vote. It is the successor of the unicameral Popular Assembly of 1958–1962, and thus the General Council of the Free Territories. Since 2000, members of Parliament are elected every four years in fixed-term elections.

Like all other legislatures in Gylias, the Parliament is a popular legislature, with its members serving part-time. Currently, 43 parties are represented in Parliament, forming various parliamentary groups within its chambers.

History

The Gylian Parliament was created during the transition from the Free Territories to Gylias. One notable element of this transition was the replacement of the indirectly-elected General Council of the Free Territories, formed of delegates chosen from local communal assemblies, with a directly-elected federal legislature, known as the Popular Assembly.

The only election for the Popular Assembly took place in 1958, using national party-list proportional representation. The Assembly served a term of four years, overseeing the formalisation of the Free Territories' anarchist governance, including the passage of the Constitution of Gylias and six codes of law.

The legislature was reorganised by the Law on Electoral Representation of 1960, gaining an additional chamber. The change from proportional representation to single transferable vote aided the growth of Gylias' multi-party system, and the formation of ideology-based electoral blocs. The Constitution renamed the Popular Assembly to the Chamber of Deputies, while the new chamber was named the Senate.

The first election for the Gylian Parliament took place in 1962. The election ushered in the modern Gylian political system, with five-party electoral blocs and Non-inscrits. To keep the locus of governance at the local level, based on principles of subsidiarity, the Parliament was made a popular legislature, and initially had a seven-year term.

The two chambers evolved different identities. The Senate became a means of acknowledging the contributions of esteemed civil society and artistic figures — jokingly likened by Dæse Şyna to a retirement home for respected political pensioners.

Parliament's term of office was shortened to 5 years before the 1976 election, with the 1980 election being held a year ahead of schedule to not overlap with the 1981 presidential election.

Its size was capped by the Law on Legislature Sizes of 1989 to prevent it from growing to the point of usurping the prerogative of direct democracy.

Three more elections were held five years apart before the term was fixed at 4 years starting with the 2000 election. The current cycle allows federal and regional elections to be held two years apart.

Various projects for parliamentary reform have been proposed. The most successful, supported by the New Alliance for the Future, took place in the 1990s and changed the Senate into a body chosen by sortition and appointment.

Legislative functions

The Parliament represents the federal legislative branch of Gylias. Its responsibilities are limited by law in order to avoid usurpation of self-governance from the communal assemblies and municipalities, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.

The Parliament thus performs more of a deliberative and delegative role in Gylian politics. It scrutinises, debates, and advances proposals and works to gather a consensus from the public and all levels of government regarding matters of federal importance.

Members of Parliament are subject to imperative mandates and recall from their constituents.

The Parliament is imperfectly bicameral: the Chamber of Deputies is the responsible house, and the only one where federal budget bills are introduced. The Chamber of Deputies meets in two regular sessions, as specified in the Constitution:

  • The first session begins in February and cannot last beyond the end of June.
  • The second session begins in September and cannot last beyond the end of December.

Extraordinary sessions may be called during the summer and winter recesses.

The Senate meets in yearlong sessions, coinciding with the calendaristic seasons.

Bills may be introduced by any member of either chamber (except budget bills) and there is no distinction between bills introduced by members of government or opposition parties.

Legislative procedure

The Parliament's legislative procedure has four stages:

  1. Proposal: can be made by the people (in the form of a popular initiative), civil society or professional organisations, municipal or regional councils, individual members of Parliament, or members of the government.
    1. The bill in question is subject to a general discussion, and afterwards referred to the relevant committee for review.
    2. The committee prepares a report on the bill, with the advice of other committees, and presents it to Parliament.
    3. The chamber where the bill originated votes to either request a further report or proceed to debate. (A vote to reject the bill ends the legislative process.)
  2. Drafting: takes place in parliamentary committees, with public hearings and consultations.
    1. The bill is brought to the relevant committees for review and drafting.
    2. The committees discuss, propose, and compose the final text of the bill. During the drafting process, members of the public are also consulted on the bill, and expert witnesses are called to provide input.
    3. The final draft is reviewed article-by-article, and presented to the Parliament.
  3. Approval: takes place in both chambers of Parliament.
    1. The Parliament debates and proposes further amendments to the bill. (It can also vote to refer the bill back to committees for further consideration, returning it to the drafting stage.)
    2. The bill is sent to the Constitutional Court for inspection.
    3. Once cleared by the Constitutional Court, the chamber where the bill originated votes on it.
    4. If the bill passes the chamber, it is sent to the other chamber where it must be voted through without further changes.
    5. If the other chamber modifies the bill, it must be returned to the original chamber to approve the changes.
    6. To prevent repeated passing of the bill between the two chambers, the Chamber of Deputies can overrule the Senate's rejection of a bill by majority vote.
  4. Promulgation: done by the President of Gylias.
    1. Once a bill is passed, it is sent to the President for promulgation into law.
    2. The President can reject a bill with a written justification, returning it to Parliament. (It is customary for the justification to be that the bill is unconstitutional or would affect popular self-governance.)
    3. If the bill is returned, Parliament debates it anew.
    4. If the Parliament approves the bill without modifications, the President must sign it into law.

After the President has promulgated it, a law is publiced into the Official Gazette and commences after 15 days, unless a longer time period is specified.

Responsibilities

Other responsibilities of the Parliament include:

  • Providing a forum for debating and discussing matters of public importance through popular petitions, motions, and bills.
  • Debating amendements to the Constitution.
  • Reviewing the actions of government, both policy and routine administration.
  • Approving federal budgets.

Parliamentary procedure

Both chambers of Parliament have a presiding Speaker, chosen from the members at the beginning of a new term and renouncing party affiliation. Speakers carry out administrative tasks: they maintain order during debates, determine the order in which members speak, make rulings on procedure, and announce vote results. Speakers may not vote in a debate except in the event of a tie, where they will vote in favour of further debate or the status quo.

The Gylian Parliament does not have rules on unparliamentary language, giving it a more informal atmosphere compared to other state legislatures, but members are not allowed to interrupt other members while they are speaking. Members can directly speak amongst themselves or address their remarks to the Speaker; the former is more common. They can refer to each other by full name, or as "Deputy" or "Senator" for short according to the chamber they serve in.

Members are not allowed to directly insult another member's family members or non-parliamentary friends. Members of Parliament do not have parliamentary immunity, but have parliamentary privilege for their statements.

All votes in Parliament are made electronically.

Each day of parliamentary session has 30 minutes reserved for Question Time, during which Deputies and Senators address questions to the Cabinet and Prime Minister. The Prime Minister transfers questions that are not their direct responsibility to the relevant cabinet members.

As a result of the large number of parties represented and stricter moderation by the Speakers, Question Time sessions in Gylias are known for their lively but civilised atmosphere. Questions during this period are required to be relevant to policy, even from members of government parties. Speakers routinely disallow pre-arranged questions for the purpose of criticising the opposition.

Both chambers of Parliament meet and conduct their sessions separately, but joint meetings of both chambers can take place to receive addresses from visiting heads of state or government. The most recent joint sitting occurred on 31 May 2013, when Queen Anelyn I addressed the Gylian Parliament during her state visit. Deputies and Senators take the oath of office together when a new Parliament is sworn in.

Members

Members of Parliament serve part-time, in accordance with the popular legislature principle. They are paid a salary equivalent to an average worker's wage, and must handle their own accommodation and transportation.

Members of Parliament cannot consume alcohol, drugs or any similar mind-altering substances while on duty. Parliamentary sessions adjourn for the day at 16:00, and no meetings take place on weekends.

Proxy voting is used if a member of Parliament is unable to attend a vote in person.

Parliamentary groups

Parties and independents form parliamentary groups in the Chamber of Deputies, in order to simplify organisation and determine membership of committees and speaking order during debates. Groups also receive allowances to support their activities.

Six groups have been represented in the Parliament since 1989: five electoral blocs and the non-inscrit group, which reunites all unaffiliated parties and independent members.

The parliamentary groups represented in the current legislature are:

Group Constituent parties
Progressive Alliance group DCP, SP, SDP, DL, LSL
Liberal Union group NUP, NLP, PRRA, LLR, FSP
Centre Group group MCP, RDC, RCP, IPR, CCM
National Bloc group CNP, NPR, PDU, UND, MRR
Union for Freedom and Prosperity group PP, IFP, PFG, FEP, ECM
Non-inscrits group APP, ARENA, FLP, FVU, GP, HP, IRAM, LND, LSDP, NAF, NPP, PPFN, PP-CM, Pirates, RFS, RJU, UNR, UI, UM

Committees

Much of the Gylian Parliament's work is done in committees, which have a strong role in scrutinising legislative proposals. The committees' roles is to examine policy and legislation, take evidence from witnesses, and conduct inquiries. They provide the opportunity for the public and experts to participate in the legislative process, and members of Parliament to ask questions and review proposals.

There are two types of committees. Permanent Committees are established on a permanent basis, responsible for scrutinising bills and topics referred to them by the chambers, examining the government's budget and activities, and providing guidance and research during the bill-drafting process.

There are currently 28 Permanent Committees, representing the majority of parliamentary committees. They form a significant contribution to grey literature published in Gylias, including white papers and green papers, and serving on a Permanent Committee or chairing it is a prestigious position.

The current Permanent Committees are:

  • Civil, Political, Economic, and Social Liberties
  • Community Affairs
  • Constitutional Affairs and Public Administration
  • Culture, Arts and Leisure
  • Defense
  • Education and Learning
  • Equality and Social Integration
  • Economy and Finance
  • Environment and Resources
  • Federal and Regional Coordination
  • Foreign Relations
  • Justice and Human Rights
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Intelligence and Security
  • Labour
  • Law Enforcement and Public Safety
  • Local Government
  • Natural Resources
  • Parliamentary Procedures and Matters
  • Planning and Development
  • Public Accounts
  • Public Standards and Integrity
  • Public Petitions
  • Publications and Parliamentary Library
  • Science and Technology
  • Social Policy
  • Trade
  • Transport and Infrastructure

Temporary Committees are established to deal with particular issues, and work closely with Permanent Committees. Different Prime Ministers have established Temporary Committees that reflected their program.

The Parliament has no internal committees. Administration of parliamentary affairs, from procedures to budgeting and appointing the members of committees, is handled by the Permanent Committee on Parliamentary Procedures and Matters, which in turn has a sub-committee for commitee memberships and appointments.

All parliamentary committees are joint committees, including both Deputies and Senators. A committee has 20 members in total, half from each chamber, with membership equally divided between the government and opposition. The membership of the committees is established through negotiation and consensus, with the aim of ensuring representation and participation from all members.

Broadcasting

Parliamentary proceedings are broadcast by GTV Parliament. The channel broadcasts only while Parliament is in session, and does not operate outside those times.

List of Parliaments

Election Parliament
1958 Popular Assembly
1962 1st Parliament
1969 2nd Parliament
1976 3rd Parliament
1980 4th Parliament
1985 5th Parliament
1990 6th Parliament
1995 7th Parliament
2000 8th Parliament
2004 9th Parliament
2008 10th Parliament
2012 11th Parliament
2016 12th Parliament
2020 13th Parliament