PART FOUR. THE NATIONAL LEGISLATURE
CHAPTER I. COMPOSITION AND FUNCTIONING OF THE NATIONAL LEGISLATURE
83. Composition of the National Legislature
- There shall be established a National Legislature composed of the following two chambers:-
- The National Assembly and
- The Council of States.
- The National Legislature shall conduct its business as prescribed in this Constitution in joint sittings of the two Chambers, chaired by the Speaker of the National Assembly and deputized by the Speaker of the Council of States.
- Vote count shall be separate for each Chamber and governed by the quorum specified in this Constitution.
- Each Chamber shall sit separately to conduct its business as prescribed in this Constitution.
- The National Legislature, as well as each of its Chambers, shall make its own internal regulations.
84. Composition of the National Assembly
- The National Assembly shall be composed of members elected in free and fair elections.
- The National Elections Law shall determine the number of members and composition of the National Assembly.
85. Composition of the Council of States
- The Council of States shall be composed of two representatives from each state, elected by the state legislature in accordance with the National Elections Law and regulations set forth by the National Elections Commission.
- Abyei Area shall have two observers at the Council of States, elected by Abyei Area Council.
86. Eligibility for Membership of the National Legislature
- The candidate for membership of either Chamber of the National Legislature shall:-
- be a Sudanese,
- be at least twenty-one years of age,
- be of sound mind,
- be literate,
- not have been convicted during the previous seven years of an offence involving honesty or moral turpitude.
- Membership of the National Assembly shall not be combined with representation at the Council of States.
- Members of Southern Sudan Assembly or Executive, Governors and members of state legislatures or executives, shall not be eligible for membership of the National Legislature while occupying any of the aforementioned positions.
- Representation at the Council of States shall not be combined with membership of the National Council of Ministers.
87. Lapse of Membership of the National Legislature
- Membership of the National Legislature shall lapse by a resolution passed by the appropriate Chamber in any of the following cases:-
- mental infirmity or physical incapacity,
- conviction for an offence involving honesty or moral turpitude,
- absence from one full session of the appropriate Chamber without permission or acceptable excuse,
- announcement of his written resignation in the appropriate Chamber,
- change of political affiliation, identity or party on which he was elected to the National Assembly,
- relief by the appropriate state legislature by a decision supported by two-thirds of its members in the case of representatives at the Council of States,
- assumption of the office of minister in the Government of Southern Sudan, Governor or state minister,
- Upon vacation of the seat of a member or representative, his successor shall be elected in the appropriate manner prescribed by this Constitution within a period of ninety days.
88. Seat of the National Legislature
- The National Legislature shall convene at the seat of the National Assembly. However, the two Speakers may agree, for exceptional reasons, to convene a sitting of the National Legislature elsewhere.
- The National Assembly shall convene at its seat in Omdurman; however its Speaker may exceptionally call it to convene elsewhere.
- The Council of States shall have its seat in Omdurman, however, it may also hold sessions in the Capital City of Southern Sudan or of any state, as may be decided by its Speaker or the majority of the representatives.
89. Oath of Member of the National Legislature
To assume his functions, every member of the National Legislature shall take the following oath before the appropriate Chamber:
“I…………………having been elected as Member of the National Assembly/Representative at the Council of States, do hereby swear by Almighty God that I will bear faith and allegiance to the Republic of the Sudan and its people; that I will obey and, respect the Constitution of the country and abide by the law; and that I will faithfully and conscientiously discharge my duties as a member of the National Legislature and serve the people to the best of my ability; and God is my witness.”
90. Term of the National Legislature
The term of each Chamber of the National Legislature shall be five years commencing from the date of its first sitting.
91. Functions of the National Legislature
- The National Legislature represents the will of the people and shall foster national unity, exercise national legislative functions, oversee the National Executive, and promote the decentralized system of government.
- Without prejudice to the generality of sub-Article (1) above, the National Legislature shall convene for the following purposes to:-
- amend this Constitution and approve amendments affecting the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that are presented by its signatories in accordance with Article 224 of this Constitution,
- discuss addresses by the President of the Republic,
- authorize annual allocation of resources and revenues, in accordance with Article 110 of this Constitution,
- reconsider a bill which has been rejected by the President of the Republic under Article 108(2) herein,
- promulgate the Southern Sudan Referendum Act provided for in Article 220(1) herein,
- approve declaration of war,
- confirm declaration of state of emergency or termination thereof,
- impeach the President of the Republic or the First Vice President,
- perform any other function determined by this Constitution or law.
- The National Assembly shall be competent to:.
- assume legislation in all national powers, subject to sub-Article (5)(b),
- approve plans, programmes and policies relating to the State and society,
- approve the annual national budget,
- ratify international treaties, conventions and agreements,
- oversee the performance of the National Executive,
- adopt resolutions on matters of public concern,
- summon national ministers to present reports on the executive performance of the government in general or of specified ministries or particular activities,
- interrogate, at will, national ministers about their performance or the performance of their ministries and may recommend to the President of the Republic, in a subsequent sitting, the removal of a national minister, if he is deemed to have lost the confidence of the National Assembly.
- The Council of States shall be competent to:.
- initiate legislations on the decentralized system of government and other issues of interest to the states and pass such legislations with two-thirds majority of all representatives,
- issue resolutions and directives that may guide all levels of government in accordance with the provisions of Articles 24, 25 and 26 of this Constitution,
- approve by two-thirds majority of all representatives, the appointment of the Justices of the Constitutional Court,
- approve, by a two-thirds majority, national legislation referred to in Article 5(3)(a) of this Constitution or initiate national legislation which will provide for such necessary alternative institutions, according to Article 5(3)(b) of this Constitution, as appropriate,
- supervise the National Reconstruction and Development Fund,
- decide on objections by states referred to it by the National Petroleum Commission according to the provisions of Article 191(4)(d) of this Constitution,
- request statements from national ministers concerned regarding effective implementation of the decentralized system and devolution of powers.
- While sitting separately to transact business that falls within its competence, each Chamber shall observe the following rules:-
- any bill on a matter falling within the competence of either Chamber, shall be tabled in that Chamber,
- a bill passed by the National Assembly shall be referred to a standing Inter-Chamber Committee for scrutiny and decision on whether it affects the interests of the states. Should the Committee decide that the bill affects the interest of the states, the bill shall be referred to the Council of States,
- should the Council of States introduce any amendments in the referred bill, by a two thirds majority of the representatives or pass it as is, the bill shall be sent to the President of the Republic for his assent without being returned to the National Assembly,
- no Chamber shall discuss any business of which the other Chamber is seized, until it is finally referred to it.
92. Immunity of Members of the National Legislature
- Except where he is caught in the act of crime, no criminal proceedings shall be initiated against a member of the National Legislature; neither shall any measure be taken against his person or belongings without permission from the Speaker of the appropriate Chamber.
- In case the member or representative is charged with a serious crime the appropriate Chamber may waive the immunity of the accused member or representative.
93. Sessions of the National Legislature
- Each Chamber of the National Legislature shall hold its first sitting upon convocation by the President of the Republic within thirty days following the official declaration of the results of the elections. The first sitting shall be chaired by the eldest of the members/representatives present.
- Without prejudice to Article 58(2)(d), each Chamber shall determine the commencement and closure dates of its sessions.
- Either Chamber may convene an emergency or extraordinary session on the request of half of its members or representatives or upon call from the President of the Republic.
94. Officers of the National Legislature
- Each Chamber shall have a Speaker and Deputy Speakers to be elected from among its members at the first sitting.
- The Speaker shall preside over sittings of his Chamber, control order and supervise the administrative affairs thereof. He shall represent the Chamber inside and outside the Sudan.
- Each Chamber of the National Legislature shall elect its leaders, chairpersons and members of the specialized committees and any other committee as may be determined by the internal regulations.
- The Speaker shall, upon approval of his Chamber, appoint a Secretary General for the Chamber; who shall not be a member or a representative. The Secretary General shall be responsible for preparing the sessions of the Chamber and running its administrative affairs under the supervision of the Speaker.
- The National Assembly may consider broad inclusiveness in the apportionment of its positions.
95. Committees of the National Legislature
- Each Chamber, in accordance with its internal regulations, shall have standing specialized committees and ad hoc committees.
- The two Chambers may form inter-chamber standing or ad hoc committees for specific matters that are of concern to the two Chambers.
96. Regulations of the National Legislature
- Each Chamber of the National Legislature shall, on the initiative of its Speaker, make regulations for the conduct of its business.
- The National Legislature shall make internal regulations on the initiative of the Speakers of the two Chambers.
- The ordinary quorum for the sittings of the National Assembly shall be more than half of the members; however, internal regulations may provide for a reduced quorum that may not apply for the final presentation of bills.
- The quorum for the sittings of the Council of States shall be more than half of the representatives.
98. Publicity of Sittings of the National Legislature
The sittings of the National Legislature and either of the two Chambers shall be open to the public; their proceedings shall be published and may also be broadcast. However, the National Legislature or either Chamber, may decide according to its internal regulations that certain deliberations take place in camera.
99. Passing Legislative Resolutions
Resolutions of the National Legislature and either Chamber shall, whenever possible, be taken by unanimity or consensus. Alternatively, resolutions shall be passed by simple majority of those present, save in cases where this Constitution provides otherwise.
100. Prerogative of Members of the National Legislature
Members of the National Legislature shall freely and responsibly express their opinions, subject only to the provisions of the regulations of the appropriate Chamber. No legal proceedings shall be initiated against any member, nor shall he be accountable before any court of law only by reason of views or opinions that he may have expressed in the course of performing his duties.
101. Address by the President of the Republic
The President of the Republic may personally or by a message address the National Legislature or any of its Chambers. The National Legislature shall accord priority to such request over any other business. The President of the Republic may also request the opinion of the National Legislature on any subject.
102. Addresses by the Two Vice Presidents and Statements by National Ministers and Governors
- Any of the two Vice President of the Republic or the President of the Government of Southern Sudan may request to address either Chamber of the National Legislature. The concerned Chamber shall provide an opportunity for hearing such address as promptly as possible.
- A national minister may request to deliver a statement before either Chamber of the National Legislature, whereas a Governor may request to make a statement before the Council of States.
103. Addressing Questions by Members of the National Legislature
Members of the National Legislature may, in either Chamber, within the competence of that Chamber and subject to its regulations, address questions to a national minister on any subject relating to his duties; the said minister shall provide the appropriate Chamber with a prompt reply.
104. Requesting Statements
Subject to the regulations of the concerned Chamber, either Chamber of the National Legislature or any of its committees may request a national minister to deliver a statement on any matter of concern.
105. General Summons
- The National Assembly or any of its committees may summon any public official or any person, other than the President of the Republic and the two Vice President to testify before it, give opinion to the Assembly or any of its committees.
- Inquiry on any matter that falls within the direct responsibility of the National Executive may only be made after notifying the President of the Republic.
106. Tabling of Bills
- The President of the Republic, the Presidency, the National Council of Ministers, a national minister or a committee of the National Legislature may table a bill before either Chamber of the National Legislature subject to their respective competences.
- A member of the National Legislature may table a private bill before the Chamber to which he belongs on a matter that falls within the competence of that Chamber.
- A private member bill shall not be tabled before the appropriate Chamber save after being referred to the concerned committee to determine whether it involves an issue of important public interest.
107. Procedures for Presentation and Consideration of Bills
- Bills presented to either Chamber of the National Legislature shall be submitted for the first reading by being cited by title and thereby deemed to be tabled with the appropriate Chamber. The bill shall then be submitted for a second reading for general deliberation and approval in principle. Should the bill be passed in the second reading, there shall be a third reading for deliberation in detail and introduction of, and decision upon, any amendment. The bill shall then be submitted in its final form for the final reading, at which stage the text of the bill shall not be subject to further discussion and shall be passed section by section and then passed as a whole.
- After the first reading, the Speaker shall refer the bill to the appropriate committee which shall make a general evaluation report for the purpose of the second reading. The committee shall also present a report on the amendments that the committee might or might not have endorsed in the third reading; the Speaker may also refer the bill once again to the appropriate committee to prepare a report on the final drafting in preparation for the final reading.
- The Speaker or the appropriate committee, may seek expert opinion on the viability and rationale of the bill; an interested body may also be invited to present views on the impact and propriety of the bill.
- The Chamber may[,] by a special resolution, decide on any bill as a general committee or by summary proceedings.
108. Assent of the President of the Republic
- Any bill approved by the National Legislature shall not become law unless the President of the Republic assents to it and signs it into law. If the President withholds assent for thirty days without giving reasons, the bill shall be deemed to have been so signed.
- Should the President of the Republic withhold assent to the bill and give reasons within the aforementioned thirty days, the bill shall be re-introduced to the National Legislature to consider the observations of the President of the Republic.
- The bill shall become law if the National Legislature again passes it by a two-thirds majority of all the members and representatives of the two Chambers; the assent of the President of the Republic shall not be required for that bill to come into force.
109. Provisional Orders
- Should the National Legislature not be in session, the President of the Republic may, on an urgent matter, issue a provisional order having the force of law; however, such provisional order shall be submitted to the appropriate Chamber of the National Legislature as soon as it is convened. Where the National Legislature ratifies the provisional order as it is, it shall be promulgated as law, but where the same is rejected by either Chamber or where the parliamentary session ends without it being ratified, the provisional order shall lapse with no retrospective effect.
- Notwithstanding sub-Article (1) above, the President of the Republic shall not make any provisional order on matters affecting the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Bill of Rights, the decentralized system of government, general elections, annual allocation of resources and financial revenues, penal legislations, international conventions or agreements altering the borders of the State.
- Every law which was repealed or amended pursuant to a provisional order that later lapsed, shall revive into force as it is, starting from the date when the provisional order lapsed.
- The National Assembly may delegate to the President of the Republic the power to ratify international conventions and agreements while the National Assembly is not in session; however, such ratified conventions or agreements shall not be subject to subsequent ratification by the National Assembly and shall be deposited before the National Assembly as soon as it is convened.
110. Allocation of Resources and Revenues Bill
The President of the Republic shall cause to be presented to the National Legislature, before the beginning of the financial year, a bill of the allocation of resources and revenues in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. The National Legislature shall convene to approve that bill.
111. National Budget Bill
- The President of the Republic shall cause to be presented to the National Assembly before the beginning of the financial year the bill on the general budget of the State, including a general evaluation of the economic and financial situation of the country, detailed estimates of proposed revenues and expenditure for the forthcoming year compared to those of the previous financial year, a statement of the general budget, any reserve funds, transfers thereto or allocations therefrom, explanations of any special budgets or financial estimates, policies or measures to be taken by the State in the financial and economic affairs within the framework of the general budget.
- The President of the Republic shall cause to be submitted to the National Assembly proposals of total expenditure entered into the budget as an appropriation bill and proposals for taxes, fees and other levies as well as borrowing, investment or State saving bonds as financial bills.
- The National Assembly shall adopt the general budget bill, chapter by chapter including schedules, and it shall adopt the total appropriation bill. Where the law is passed, detailed estimates as specified in the general budget shall not be exceeded save by a supplementary law. Surplus funds over revenue estimates and funds out of the legal reserve shall not also be spent save by a supplementary appropriation law.
112. Private Member Financial Bills
No member of the National Assembly shall, outside the context of the deliberations of the draft general budget, present any private financial bill that entails abolition, remittance or alteration of any tax, fee or other public revenue source or appropriation or levy upon public funds other than service fees or pecuniary penalties.
113. Provisional and Supplementary Financial Measures
- Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 109(2) above, the President of the Republic may wherever he deems it appropriate for public interests, make a presidential order having the force of law, providing that the imposition of any tax, or fee or the amendment thereof shall come into force, pending submission of a bill requiring the same to the National Assembly. When that financial bill is adopted or rejected, the force of the presidential order shall cease without the rejection or amendment of the bill having retrospective effect.
- Where the procedure of adopting the general budget and the appropriation bill is delayed beyond the beginning of the financial year, expenditure shall continue pending adoption of the general budget, in accordance with the estimates approved for the previous year, as if the same has been appropriated by law for the new year.
- Whenever new circumstances occur or a matter of public concern proves not to have been satisfactorily addressed by the general budget, the President may during the financial year cause to be submitted a financial bill, a supplementary appropriation or an allocation out of the reserve funds, to which shall apply the same provisions set out in respect of the general budget bill.
114. Final Accounts
The President of the Republic shall cause to be presented to the National Assembly during the six months following the end of the financial year, final accounts for all revenues and expenditure as are set forth in that year, as well as expenditure withdrawn from the reserve funds; the Auditor General shall present his report on such accounts to the National Assembly.
115. Delegation of Powers of Subsidiary Legislation
The National Legislature or any of its Chambers may, by law, delegate to the President of the Republic, the National Council of Ministers or any public body, the power to make any subsidiary regulations, rules, orders or any other subsidiary instrument having the force of law; provided that such subsidiary legislation shall be tabled before the concerned Chamber and be subject to adoption or amendment by a resolution of that Chamber in accordance with the provisions of its regulations.
116. Validity of the Proceedings of the National Legislature
No court or other authority shall call into question the validity of any proceedings of the National Legislature or any of its Chambers on the basis of violation of its internal regulations. A certificate duly signed by the appropriate Speaker shall be deemed to be conclusive evidence of the validity of the said proceedings.
CHAPTER II. INTERIM PROVISIONS FOR THE NATIONAL LEGISLATURE
117. Composition of National Legislature Prior to Elections
- Pending elections, the National Assembly shall be composed of four hundred and fifty members who shall be appointed by the President of the Republic in consultation with the First Vice President, according to the seventy percent and thirty percent north/south ratio, as follows:-
- The National Congress Party shall be represented by fifty-two percent (forty-nine percent for Northerners and three percent for Southerners),
- Sudan People’s Liberation Movement shall be represented by twenty-eight percent (twenty-one percent for Southerners and seven percent for Northerners),
- Other Northern political forces shall be represented by fourteen percent,
- Other Southern political forces shall be represented by six percent.
- Until the elections are held, the representatives of states at the Council of States and observers of Abyei Area shall be appointed by the President of the Republic after consultation within the Presidency and, in the case of Southern Sudan, on the recommendation of the President of Government of Southern Sudan after consultation with state institutions.
118. Interim Provisions for Tenure of the National Legislature
- Should the outcome of the referendum on self-determination confirm unity, the National Legislature shall complete its tenure in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
- In the event of a vote for secession by the people of Southern Sudan, the seats of the members and representatives of Southern Sudan in the National Legislature shall be deemed to have fallen vacant and the National Legislature, being so reconstituted, shall complete its tenure to the next elections.