At the beginning of each class the President of the Senate MUST COUNT THE NUMBER OF SENATORS PRESENT, EXCLUDING HIMSELF/HERSELF BECAUSE HE/SHE DOESN’T GET TO VOTE. Our constitution-making experts are here to answer your questions and queries. One issue in constituent assemblies is: How far ought party members to be subject to a requirement to vote according to “party line”—or how extensive ought the party line to be? n Classroom debates give students the opportunity to focus solely on one side of an issue or topic. At one point it was suggested that rather than having each group hold up its cards separately, all should hold them up together and they could be counted by three people simultaneously. In Timor-Leste each member had three cards and voted by holding them up: green, red, and blue (for, against, and abstain). Jon Elster, who has studied several processes, suggests that sitting in public inhibits genuine discussion by privileging stubbornness and grandstanding. The quorum rule alone cannot be relied upon to ensure attendance. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. The whole process of a constituent assembly should be characterized by transparency. There is also the vexed question of attendance allowances. The body should clearly be well attended, but members should not be able to exploit the rule to adjourn debate in order to delay decisions. SENATORS MUST STAND WHILE SPEAKING. To require total agreement in every human endeavor is unrealistic. If a document is being adopted for the first time, it is probable that a particular vote in favor will be required. Administrative decisions may often appropriately be made by a simple majority (“a majority of those present and voting”)—but care must be taken if these decisions might disadvantage particular groups. Rules are therefore important—even if the atmosphere means they do not have to be relied on frequently. It is desirable for all these rules to be spelled out clearly. Some members might be tempted not to think hard about how they should vote, because they would not be answerable for it. This was possible in the Constitutional Loya Jirga in Afghanistan [2004]. ‹ Once debate time has elapsed, UN member states vote on the amendment, either for or against or to abstain. Rules will be needed especially for a constituent assembly; even the regular legislature may need some special rules for making a constitution, different from its regular rules of procedure. It takes 67% of those present to stop the Filibuster. But this may make it harder and not easier to impose discipline on members. It is absolutely essential that there be a way to limit the length of speeches. This is quite low; discussion could begin when only women were present, or only men, or only members of one or two castes or ethnic groups. Research shows that male interruption of women speaking is more likely than any other type of harassment. The same procedure as After the Chairperson has introduced the Bill: “Will Senator (Name of Senator) please come forward and present your Bill to the Senate.” “The 10 minute debate/discussion time will now start. Rules often require that those abstaining must also indicate that they are doing so, and that the numbers abstaining be recorded. Such a rule may act as a disincentive to members abstaining, something that is often a form of abdication of responsibility. Ö They could interact with members in an informal way, having the right to eat where the members ate. One way to set up a structured relationship between a constitution-making body and the public is to have accredited observers to the body. Finally, most decision- making will probably take place in committees where secret voting is less feasible—either because voting will be a more open affair, or because smaller numbers will make it harder to conceal how members vote. “All those against the Bill, raise your hand.” Count the votes. Amendments to the second degree (an amendment to an amendment) can be Sometimes they are composed of women members from a single party, and sometimes they are cross-party. Call on Senators as they raise their hands, the President of the Senate will control the debate/discussion, and won’t let it get out of hand. If a Senator starts to conduct a Filibuster, that Senator can speak for as long as he/she wants. In the French constituent assembly the mob terrorized the delegates. Narrowly focused groups’ concerns could be met by their having access to relevant thematic committees. However, drawing on some degree of common sense, and also on the rules of previous commissions, the following are, we suggest, the main points that ought to be addressed: A small group of people may develop a good relationship, and even become friends. Smaller bodies, such as constitutional commissions, may not have such complex sets of rules, but will still need rules on matters such as how it makes decisions, finances, or how many members must be present to make up a quorum for a meeting. His conclusion is that committees should sit in private and the plenary in public (Elster 1995: 386). (See part 2.3.11 on the media.) Some constituent assemblies have made provision for secret ballots. Should there be a formal possibility of cross-party alliances or caucuses? If the amendment fails, the submitter of the amendment retains The rules of the Indian constituent assembly provided that Hindustani (Urdu or Hindi) or English could be used, but, if the president of the constituent assembly took the view that a member could not express himself or herself in one of those languages, that member could address the constituent assembly in his or her native tongue and a summary could be provided for members in English or Hindustani. A quorum is the number of people who must be present before discussion or a vote can take place. If there is to be a vote that requires a special majority (two-thirds of the membership is common), then at least that number must be present. Part 1: Introduction to constitution-making processes, Part 2: Tasks in a constitution-making process, Part 3: Institutions, groups, and procedures, Part 4: Guide to key external actors in the process: Civil society, the media, and the international community. At different stages of a process, voting may work in different ways. In Nepal the interim constitution says that for most purposes there must be at least 25 percent of the constituent assembly members present. Publicity attached to attendance may help in some societies. The voice vote is partially anonymous: the person sitting next to a member may know how his or her neighbour voted, but the person presiding and the public may not. If amendments to the second degree pass, the change is made to the original amendment by the amendment‟s moderator. At least two-thirds of all the members, whether present or not (often used for constitution- making decisions). � These difficulties, which may affect other groups that have been marginalized from public life, should be borne in mind by those who draft rules. If a participant is unable to continue the debate, they are to sign out, and the Tally Moderator will make note of the departure. Mr. Sierra will keep track of the time.] After counting the number of Senators, let Mr. Sierra know and he will announce the number of votes necessary to pass a Bill. Clear rules should specify a majority of what: “a majority of those present and voting,” “a majority of those present,” or even “a majority of all members,” making the use of the term “a simple majority” unnecessary—and indeed, it is best avoided. Other methods include a newsletter and a website (which would be used by a limited range of groups but would be a resource for the media and for NGOs). ), whether for other reasons the process isallowed to drag on for too long, and the effectiveness of the chair. They should not be too many in number—which means that they must represent substantial (in the sense of important) interest groups or issues. Though the “Aye” vote sounded overwhelming, it is not possible for anyone to say exactly who said “Aye”—and this may explain why so many members of parliament felt able to argue against the document in the referendum campaign. Such a voting system is impractical for large constituent assemblies. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Senators should raise their hand if they want to speak on a Bill and the President of the Senate will call on them if he/she wants to let them speak. But in Kenya [2005], the adoption of any clause of the new constitution required a two-thirds majority of the constituent assembly. The President of the Senate, (selected by lottery) is in charge, he/she has the power. The length of permitted speeches will probably be influenced by the size of the deliberating body, and by the stage of the process. The Philadelphia convention making the United States constitution decided to sit in secret partly because of a fear that its members would be reluctant to change their minds if those minds had been revealed in public.