Political and Organizational Bodies in the Council of Representatives
The Speaker of the Council of Representatives
The Speaker is a member of the Council of Representatives elected as the Chairman of the Council in accordance with the provisions of Article (60) of the Constitution, and article (10) of the Council Rules. The Speaker represents the Council of Representatives in its correspondences with other bodies, speaks in the name of the Council, and supervises all its functions.
Competencies of the Speaker
- Chairs the meetings of the National Assembly
- Chairs the plenaries of the Council of Representatives
- Opens and chairs the plenaries, and supervises their deliberations
- Chairs the Bureau of the Council
- Chairs the meetings of committees he attends
- Calls for order
- Specifies the subject-matter and stops speakers who do no keep to the subject under discussion
- Has the right to speak at any time he deems beneficial to the discussion
- Announces the voting results
- Questions are addressed through him
- Calls upon the Council to convene as well as the Bureau
- Grants permission for MPs to take the floor
- Calls upon any committee to convene and to discuss an important or urgent issue
- Calls upon the Council to convene before its regular plenary
- Has the right to engage in discussions, where in this case he leaves his chair as speaker and goes back to it upon completion of discussion of the subject-matter
- Directs, suspends and adjourns the plenaries. Announces the decisions of the Council of Representatives.
- Supervises the work of the Council and the Committees
- Any correspondence between a committee and the government or any other official body is done through him
- Supervises the work of the Secretariat of the Council
- Requests opinion with regard to any proposed topic
- Refers draft laws approved by both chambers to the Prime Minister
The Bureau of the Council
The Bureau is one of the main bodies in the Council of Representatives. It consists of the Speaker, the two Deputy Speakers, and the chairpersons of Standing Committees (Committee on Legislative and Legal Affairs, Committee on Financial and Economic Affairs, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Security, Committee on Services, Committee on Public Utilities and the Environment).
Competencies of the Bureau of the Council
- Prepares the weekly agenda of the Council
- Decides over submitted objections on the content of the minutes
- Reviews the Draft Annual Budget of the Council of Representatives and its draft Final Account
- Follows-up the work and reports of committees, and assists committees in drawing up their Rules.
- Nominates members to represent the Council of Representatives inside Bahrain, upon nomination by the Speaker, for the Council’s decision.
- Considers reports of delegations on their missions and visits.
- Exercises the Council’s administrative competencies in between parliamentary sessions, upon request from the Speaker.
- Reviews cases submitted by the Speaker regarding MPs who do not fulfil their duties or behave in a way that breaches the dignity of their membership.
- Reviews any other matter which the Speaker or any other member of the Bureau deems adequate.
- Has other competencies as stipulated in the Constitution and the Rules.
Committees of the Council
Committees are the main bodies in the Council. Each committee consists of a number of members, responsible for reviewing and studying submitted draft laws, bills, or any other topic related to the activities of ministries. Committees gather all data and information related to specific subject-matters in order to enable the Council of Representative to form a view on the subject upon at the time of discussion.
Committees of the Council are classified according to the scope of their work, and in accordance with the Rules of Council, as follows:
Committee on Reply to the Royal Speech
Consists of members approved by the Council of Representatives based on the recommendation of the Bureau. The committee is charged with studying the Royal Speech and drawing up a draft reply that is submitted to the Council on a previously set date. The reply is presented to the King upon approval by the Council.
Standing Committees are established during the first week of the ordinary session with an aim to consider topics that fall within the competencies of the Council. The Standing Committees include:
- Standing Committee on Legislative and Legal Affairs:
It consists of eight members and specialises in reviewing draft laws, ensuring their conformity with the Constitution, assisting the Council of Representatives and its committees in drafting legislative texts, addressing member affairs, studying membership revocation and permissions to suspend immunity and all other matters that are not within the scope of other committees.
- Standing Committee on Financial and Economic Affairs:
It consists of eight members and specialises in considering construction projects related to socio-economic development as included in the state budget, as well as economic plans and expressing observations on such item. In addition, the committee considers the financial and economic aspects of the work of ministries and other various interests, in particular, budgets and closing accounts.
- Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Security:
It consists of eight members and specialises in considering the international stance, international political developments, the Kingdom’s foreign policy, international conventions and agreements, in addition to all other affairs concerning internal security, combating crime and the State external security.
- Committee on Services:
It consists of seven members and specialises in matters related to all aspects of education, occupational training, eradication of illiteracy and issues related to social, sports, cultural, health, media services, and labour affairs.
- Committee on Public Utilities and the Environment:
It consists of seven members and specialises in considering matters related to housing, postal services, electricity, water, agriculture, transport, roads, municipalities and the environment.
Standing Select Committees
Standing Select Committees are established by the Council for a special purpose at the request of at least five members, for a period of a legislative term. These committees have the same competencies of the main standing committees (standard committees) as prescribed by the Council, provided that the number of members in a select committee does not exceed five. The Council of Representatives may specify any special provisions it deems appropriate for these committees. The committees are dissolved by the end of a legislative term.
Ad hoc Committees
Ad hoc committees are formed by the Council of Representatives by the decision of the Council to review certain subjects, and to submit recommendations as well as solutions therein. They are formed upon the request of at least five members. These committees are dissolved by the end of their mandate and the purpose for which they are formed.
Inquiry Committees are formed by virtue of a decision by the Council to investigate any matter within the oversight function of the Council of Representatives.
Joint committees are formed by virtue of a decision by the Council of Representatives in the case where the subject is related to the competencies of more than one committee.
Committee to Review the Government Action Plan
It is a committee formed by virtue of a decision by the Council of Representatives, chaired by one of the Deputy Speakers, to study the Government Action Plan, and to report on the subject to the Council of Representatives for discussion and decision.
Committee on Investigating the Seriousness of Interpellation
The committee consists of the chairpersons and deputy chairmen of standing committees abovementioned in items (1,2,3,4,5), and stated in the first clause of article (21) of the Rules of the Council, who are not among the authors of the request for interpellation. The committee is entrusted with drawing up and submitting a report to the Council of Representatives on the seriousness of an interpellation.
It is the group of the Kingdom of Bahrain which participates in international and parliamentary conferences. Its general assembly consists of all members of Shura Council and the Council of Representatives, and it has an executive committee consisting of eight members chosen by both chambers of the National Assembly. The executive committee is chaired by the Speaker of the Council of Representatives. The Secretary General of the Council of Representatives is the Secretary of the Group.
The Secretariat of the Council of Representatives
It is the executive and administrative body of the Council of Representatives responsible of undertaking all necessary tasks to assist the Council and all its competent bodies to exercise their mandates and responsibilities, in accordance with the general regulating rules issued by decision of the Bureau, and the instructions issued by the Speaker.
The Secretary General, who is appointed by a Royal Decree on the rank of a ministerial under-secretary, heads the Secretariat, and has the financial and administrative competencies decided in the Rules and Regulations of under-secretaries. He is in charge of preparing the draft agenda of the Council plenaries, organising plenaries, preparing minutes and attending meetings of committees upon their request. The Secretary General reports to the Speaker of the Council of Representatives.