1st sitting of Parliament soon

THE public can expect the first sitting of Parliament within 14 days after the announcement of the results of the general elections.

This is in accordance with Section 67(1) of the Constitution on when the President was required to summon the first sitting of Parliament.

This first meeting will involve the swearing-in of the 50 members, presided by the Secretary-General to Parliament. The SG will also preside over the election and swearing-in of the Speaker and a deputy, in accordance with Section 77.

The Speaker, from outside of Parliament, is expected to be a nominee of the PM and will be elected by a simple majority vote.

Once elected the Speaker takes over proceedings from the SG. He or she then conducts the election of a deputy from within the House, excluding ministers. By convention, because the Speaker is a Government nominee, the deputy is appointed from the Opposition benches.

Also at this meeting the Leader of the Opposition will be elected from among members of Parliament who do not belong to or support the PM’s political party.

The Speaker will call for nominations and if only one person is nominated and seconded, that person is elected Opposition Leader. The Leader of the Opposition usually has the same entitlements as a Cabinet minister.

At this meeting, the PM is also expected to table the Standing Orders, prescribing the rules for procedures of parliament for members to approve. Following that a business committee representing all parties in Parliament is appointed. This committee decides on the next date that Parliament should meet.

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