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Constitution of Morocco – 3: Organisation of Parliament

CHAPTER THREE
Organisation of Parliament

Article 36
The Parliament shall be made up of two Houses, the House of Representatives and the House of Counsellors. Members of the Houses shall hold their mandate from the Nation. Their right to vote shall be personal and cannot be delegated.

Article 37
Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a six- year term by direct universal suffrage. The legal legislative period shall end at the opening of the October session in the fifth year following the election of the House. The number of representatives as well as the voting system, eligibility requirements, incompatibility cases, legal contentions concerning elections shall be set out in an organic law. The President shall be elected first at the beginning of the legislative period, then at the April session in the third year of the said period and for the remaining portion thereof. Members of the Board shall be elected for one year; their number shall be in proportion to their respective groups.

Article 38
For 3/5 of its membership, the House of Counsellors shall consist of members elected in each region by electoral colleges made up of elected members of trade chambers as well as members elected at the national level by an electoral college consisting of wage earners’ representatives. Members of the House of Counsellors shall be elected for a nine-year term. One third of the House shall be renewed every three years. In the first and second renewal operations, seats shall be drawn by lot. The number of counsellors as well as the voting system, the number of members to be elected by each electoral college, the distribution of seats according to regions, eligibility requirements, incompatibility cases, ballot procedures mentioned above and legal contentions concerning elections shall be set out in an organic law. The President of the House of Counsellors and members of the Board shall be elected at the October session during each renewal operation in the House. Members of the Board shall be elected in proportion to the size of their respective groups. Upon the setting up of the first House of Counsellors or upon its election following the dissolution of the preceding House, the President and the members of the Board shall be elected at the beginning of the session which follows the election;they shall seek renewal of their term of office at the beginning of the October session during each renewal operation in the House.

Article 39
No member of Parliament shall be prosecuted, arrested, put into custody or brought to trial as a result of expressing opinions or casting a vote while exercising office functions, except when the opinions expressed may be injurious to the monarchical system
and the religion of Islam or derogatory to the respect owed the king. During parliamentary sessions, no member of Parliament shall be subject to prosecution or arrest for criminal charges or felonies, besides those mentioned in the preceding paragraph, without permission from the House except flagrante delicto. Outside parliamentary sessions, no member of Parliament shall be subject to arrest without permission from the Board of the House, except flagrante delicto, or in the case of authorised prosecution or final judgement. The imprisonment or prosecution of a member of Parliament shall be suspended if so required by the House, except flagrante delicto or in the case of authorised prosecution or final judgment.

Article 40
 The Parliament shall hold its meetings during two sessions a year. The King shall preside over the opening of the first session which shall begin on the second Friday in October. The second session shall begin on the second Friday in April. When the Parliament convenes for at least three months during one session, the session may be adjourned by decree.

Article 41
 The Parliament may be convened in special session either at the request of the absolute majority of the members of one of the two Houses or by decree. Special sessions of the Parliament shall be held on the basis of a defined agenda. Once the agenda fully addressed, the session shall be adjourned by decree.

Article 42
 Cabinet members may attend the meetings of each House and those of the committees thereof; they shall, in this respect, have the right to commission their own assistants. Apart from the standing committees referred to in the preceding paragraph,
parliamentary fact-finding committees may be established on the King’s initiative or upon the request of the majority of the members of one of the two Houses and within each House, with the mission of inquiring about specific facts and submitting findings thereon to that House. There shall be no fact-finding committees in cases involving prosecutions, and as long as these are being conducted. The mission of any fact-finding committee which may be established shall end with the opening of the judicial investigation pertaining to the instances bringing about the establishment thereof. Fact-finding committees shall by nature be temporary. Their mission shall end with the submission of their reports. The functioning of these committees shall be governed by an organic law.

Article 43
Meetings of the Houses of Parliament shall be open to the public. Proceedings of the debates shall be published in extenso in the Gazette. Each House may hold private meetings if so requested by the Prime Minister, or by a third of its members.

Article 44
Each House shall establish and vote on its own Rules of Procedure. These shall not, however, go into effect until they are declared by the Constitutional Council as consistent with the provisions of this Constitution.

POWERS OF PARLIAMENT

Article 45
Legislation shall be voted on by Parliament. For a limited period of time, and for a defined purpose, the Government may be empowered by law to take, by decree, measures normally falling within the purview of the law. Decrees shall become effective immediately after the publication thereof; however, they shall be submitted, for ratification, to the Parliament within the time limits set by the empowering law. Should either House be dissolved, such a law shall become void.

Article 46
In addition to jurisdiction matters explicitly assigned in other articles of the Constitution, the Legislative Power shall have competence in the following areas:

  1. the individual and collective rights enumerated in Chapter One of the present Constitution;
  2. determining offences and the appropriate penalties, the penal and civil procedure and the promulgation of new categories of jurisdiction;
  3. the statute of magistrates;
  4. the general statute of public offices;
  5. the fundamental guarantees granted civil and military personnel;
  6. the electoral system of local assemblies and councils;
  7. the regulation of civil and commercial liabilities;
  8.  the establishment of new public agencies;
  9.  the nationalisation of enterprises or the transfer thereof from the public to the private sector.

The Parliament shall be empowered to vote on basic laws pertaining to the fundamental
objectives of the activities of the State in economic, social and cultural areas.

Article 47
Matters outside the purview of legislature shall come under statutory jurisdiction.

Article 48
Legislated bills may be amended by decree, with the consent of the Constitutional
Council and when they fall within the jurisdiction of the authority holding statutory power.

Article 49
A state of martial law may be declared by Royal Decree for a period of thirty
days. This duration may be extended by law only.

Article 50
The appropriation law shall be voted on by the Parliament under conditions prescribed by an organic law. Capital expenditures resulting from development plans shall be voted on only at the time the Parliament approves such plans. These expenditures shall automatically be extended throughout the period of the plan. The Government alone shall have the prerogative to submit draft bills aimed at modifying programs thus adopted. If, by the end of the fiscal year , the budget is not voted on or is not promulgated as a result of its submission to the Constitutional Council in accordance with Article 81, the Government shall, by decree and in accordance with the budgetary proposals submitted for approval, be entitled to allocate funds necessary for the operation of the public services and the exercise of the functions thereof. In such a case, revenues shall be collected in accordance with the legislative and statutory prescriptions in force, except, however, those revenues to be cancelled under the proposed appropriation law. As for those to be cut down under the same law, they shall be collected at the proposed new rate.

Article 51
Proposals and amendments introduced by Members of Parliament shall not be acceptable when the adoption thereof might affect the proposed appropriation law by causing a decrease in public resources, an increase in a public expenditure or the creation of a new one.

THE EXERCISE OF LEGISLATIVE POWER

Article 52
The right to introduce laws shall equally be granted the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament. Draft bills shall be laid on the table of one of the two Houses.

Article 53
The Government may declare the unsuitability of any proposal or amendment considered outside the purview of the legislative power. In case of disagreement, the Constitutional Council shall take action within a period of eight days upon request of one of
the two Houses or the Government.

Article 54
Draft bills and proposals shall be examined by the acting committees whose work
shall continue during the interval between the sessions.

Article 55
During the recess periods, the Government may, in agreement with the committees concerned, in both Houses, adopt ordinances which shall be submitted, for ratification, during the following regular session of Parliament. The draft bill shall be tabled in one of the two Houses. It shall be considered successively by the relevant committees in both Houses in order to reach a joined decision within a period of six days. In case such a decision is not reached, steps shall be taken at the request of the Government to set up a joint committee with equal representation; it shall have three days to work out a joint decision for submission to the relevant committees. The agreement mentioned in the first paragraph of the present article shall be considered as refused if the joint committee with equal representation has not reached a decision within the time limits mentioned above or if the decision proposed by the said committee is not endorsed by the relevant committees within a period of four days.

Article 56
The Board of each House shall prepare the agenda of the House. Priority shall be given, in the order defined by the Government, to the discussion of draft bills it introduces and proposed laws accepted by it. One meeting per week shall, by priority, be reserved in each House for the questions of the members of the House and the Government’s responses. The Government shall give a reply within twenty days after their receipt of the question.

Article 57
Members of each House, as well as the Government, shall have the right to propose amendments. After the opening of the debates, the Government may object to the examination of any amendment not submitted, beforehand, to the acting committee concerned. If requested by the Government, the House in which the text under discussion was tabled shall take action by single vote on the whole or part of the bill under discussion. Only amendments proposed or accepted by the Government shall be considered.

Article 58
Any draft bill or proposed bill shall be considered successively by the two Houses of Parliament, with a view to adopting an identical text. The House in which the draft bill is tabled first shall examine the text of the draft bill presented by the Government or the text of the proposed bill on the agenda. A house in which a bill already adopted by the other House is tabled, shall deliberate on the draft referred to it. If a draft bill or a proposed bill cannot be adopted after two readings in each House, or if the Government proclaims that the matter is urgent after only one reading in each House, the Government may call a meeting of the joint committee with equal representation which shall propose a draft on the remaining provisions under discussion. The text drafted by the joint committee may be submitted by the Government to the Houses for adoption. No amendment shall be considered except with the approval of the Government. If the joint committee has not managed to adopt a joint bill or if the bill has not been adopted or if the bill has not been adopted by the two Houses, the Government may submit to the House of Representatives the draft bill or the proposed bill as modified, if necessary, in the light of amendments reached during parliamentary debates and taken up by the Government. The House of Representatives shall proclaim final adoption of the bill only with the absolute majority of its members. Provisions adopted by the House of Representatives in compliance with article 75 ,paragraph 2, shall be considered as endorsed by the absolute majority of the House. Organic laws shall be adopted and amended under the same conditions. However the draft bill or the proposed bill for an organic law shall not be submitted for discussion or voting at the First House in which it is to be tabled until the end of a ten-day period following its registration. Organic laws pertaining to the House of Counsellors shall be put to the vote under the same conditions in both Houses. Organic laws shall not be promulgated until the constitutional Council issues a decision on their conformity with the Constitution.

Next: Chapter 4 –The Government

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