Competences of the National Council

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According to the Constitution the National Council may:

  • propose to the National Assembly the passing of laws,
  • convey to the National Assembly its opinion on all matters within the competence of the National Assembly;
  • require the National Assembly to decide again on a given law prior to its promulgation;
  • require inquiries on matters of public importance as provided by Article 93.

 

Where required by the National Assembly, the National Council must express its opinion on an individual matter.

 

Legislative initiative

The National Council may propose to the National Assembly the adoption of certain laws or amendment of certain legal provisions (first indent, Article 97 of the Constitution). The National Council's role as proposer of initiatives is an important one within the legislative process. These proposals comprise of initiatives and requests made by members (Article 58 of the Act on the National Council) and proposals made by the National Council's commissions and interest groups.

 

Opinions

The National Council adopts and conveys to the National Assembly opinions regarding all matters within its sphere of competence (second indent, Article 97 of the Constitution). This means that interests of interest groups represented in the National Council are promoted in the National Assembly as well. Furthermore, the National Council’s commissions also formulate opinions, positions, and proposals whilst laws and other acts from their area of work are discussed. The constitutional provision empowering such work of the National Council means that the National Council can give opinions not only on laws, but also on revisions of the Constitution, the state budget, declarations, EU affairs, appointments etc.

The President of the National Assembly informs the President of the National Council of sessions of the National Assembly and provides the President of the National Council with all materials concerning matters on the agenda of the National Assembly’s session (first indent, Article 215 of Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly). Moreover, the President of the National Assembly informs the President of the National Council of all decisions reached by the National Assembly regarding the National Council's proposals, opinions, and requests.

Act on the National Council (second indent, Article 56) provides that the National Council and its working bodies cooperate with working bodies of the National Assembly and forward their opinions to the National Assembly concerning matters within their sphere of competence. Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly further unbundle this provision and stipulate that working bodies of the National Assembly cooperate with the National Council and its working bodies on their own initiative or on the initiative of the National Council or its working bodies. Working bodies of the National Assembly discuss opinions conveyed to them by the National Council or its working bodies. A representative of the National Council or one of its working bodies may take part in such discussion of opinions at sessions of working bodies of the National Assembly (Article 219 of Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly). The chairman of the National Assembly’s working body notifies the President of the National Council or the chairman of the National Council’s working body of the position adopted by the National Assembly.

When the President of the National Assembly receives from the President of the National Council proposals, opinions, or requests of the National Council he immediately forwards them to all deputies and to the Government, and demands from the competent working body and from the Government that they submit their opinion to the National Assembly. When discussing proposals, opinions, or requests of the National Council, a working body takes a position and reports on it to the National Assembly. The President of the National Assembly then notifies the President of National Council of any decisions taken by the National Assembly concerning proposals, opinions, and requests of the National Council (Article 217 of Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly).

Opinions of the National Council and its commissions are published in the Rapporteur of the National Council of the Republic of Slovenia.

 

Suspensive veto

On the basis of this competence (third indent, first paragraph, Article 97 of the Constitution), the National Council may exercise a suspensive veto which means that it may require the National Assembly to decide again on a law prior to its promulgation, this time with a more demanding majority. The National Council may exercise its right of a suspensive veto within seven days since the adoption of the law in question (Article 91 of the Constitution).

Before the President of the Republic of Slovenia promulgates a law, the President of the National Assembly submits the text of the adopted law to the President of the National Council (second indent, Article 54 of the Act on the National Council). Within seven days of the adoption of the law, the President of the National Council may send to the President of the National Assembly the demand that the National Assembly decides on the law again prior to the law’s promulgation (second indent, Article 55 of the Act on the National Council).

To pass the law the second time, an absolute majority of votes in the National Assembly is required, unless a higher number of votes is required for the adoption of the law in question by to the Constitution (second paragraph, Article 91 of the Constitution). The second decision of the National Assembly is final and may not be changed.

 

Repeated decision-making on a law at a session of the National Assembly is specified by Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly (Articles 147, 148, 222). Among other things, it is provided that a representative of the National Council may explain the demand for a repeated decision-making on a law before the second vote takes place.

 

Parliamentary enquiry

Articles 93 and 97 of the Constitution provide for the right of the National Council to request the initiation of an enquiry on matters of public importance (parliamentary enquiry). Article 93 of the Constitution provides that the National Assembly may order an enquiry on matters of public importance and must do so either at the request of one third of deputies of the National Assembly or at the request of the National Council.

 

The National Council may request an enquiry on matters of public importance. An important characteristic of the initiation of a parliamentary enquiry is that it may lead to the enforcement of political responsibility of the President or members of the Government. According to the first paragraph of Article 68 of Rules of Procedure of the National Council, a request for the initiation of a parliamentary enquiry may be proposed by any councillor, commission, or interest group of the National Council.

 

The National Council reaches a decision concerning the request for an initiation of a parliamentary inquiry with a majority of votes of councillors present at the session. As the proposer, the National Council may appoint a representative to be present at the discussion of the parliamentary enquiry request at the session of the National Assembly.

 

Review of constitutionality or legality of regulations or general acts

The Act on the Constitutional Court (Article 23(a); Ur. l. RS, number 64/2007) awards to the National Council the right to submit to the Constitutional Court a request for the commencement of a procedure of review of constitutionality and legality of regulations and general acts. The National Council may use this competence when it believes that a particular provision, part of an act, or an act in its entirety violates the Constitution or its particular constitutional provisions. The National Council can submit the request for the commencement of a review of constitutionality and legality of regulations and general acts after the regulation or the general act is promulgated and hence valid in the Slovene legal system.

 

Proposal to adopt an authentic interpretation of the law

The procedure for the adoption of an authentic interpretation of a law is laid down in Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly (Articles 149-152). A proposal to adopt an authentic interpretation of a law may be submitted by anyone entitled to propose a law, including the National Council. The President of the National Council submits a proposal for evaluation by a competent working body, legal service, and the Government. The text of an authentic interpretation is adopted with a vote of a majority of deputies as required for the adoption of the law to which the authentic interpretation is related. The authentic interpretation is published in the Official Journal of the Republic of Slovenia. The adopted authentic interpretation cannot be changed.

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