RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

VI. SITTINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AT REGULAR SESSION

1. Preparing and convening sittings

Article 85

The agenda of a sitting of the National Assembly shall be proposed by the Speaker of the National Assembly.

Only those proposed acts which have been submitted in accordance with the Constitution, the law and these Rules of Procedure may be included in the proposed agenda of the sitting of the National Assembly.

Article 86

Sittings of the National Assembly shall be convened by the Speaker of the National Assembly in writing, as a rule, at least seven days before the date designated for the start of the sitting.

Sittings of the National Assembly may also be convened within a time-limit shorter than that referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article, which the Speaker of the National Assembly shall substantiate at the beginning of the sitting.

The convocation to the sitting of the National Assembly shall contain the date, hour and location of the sitting and the proposed agenda.

The Speaker of the National Assembly may postpone the hour or date of the beginning of the sitting of the National Assembly, on which he/she shall notify the MPs in a timely manner, and substantiate the delay at the beginning of the sitting.

Article 87

Sittings of the National Assembly shall, as a rule, be held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 10:00 am until 06:00 pm, with a one-hour break.

The Speaker of the National Assembly may decide that a sitting of the National Assembly is held on a different day, or that the National Assembly extends its work past 06:00 pm, if there are justified reasons for this, which the Speaker shall explain to MPs.

The Speaker of the National Assembly shall notify the National Assembly on the intention to extend the Assembly’s work past 06:00 pm, by 16:00 pm, at the latest, on that date.

The Speaker of the National Assembly shall notify the National Assembly on the time-limit referred to in paragraph 3 of this Article even when the extension of the sitting might include a possibility of voting on the items on the agenda which have been completed.

The National Assembly shall make its decisions on the Voting Day which shall be determined by the Speaker of the National Assembly. The Speaker of the National Assembly may decide that the Voting Day on a Bill take place immediately following the conclusion of the debate on the Bill.

During a sitting, the Speaker of the National Assembly may decide that a part of the sitting be held in another location, of which the Speaker shall notify MPs no later than 24 hours before the beginning of work in that location.

2. Opening and Participation in a Sitting

Article 88

The Speaker of the National Assembly shall call the sitting of the National Assembly to order and, on the basis of official records on the number of MPs present, shall declare the number of MPs present in the National Assembly.

If the Speaker declares that at the beginning of a parliamentary workday fewer than 84 MPs are present in the session chamber, the beginning of work shall be postponed by one hour.

If the necessary conditions for initiating the work at the sitting of the National Assembly do not exist even after the delay, the sitting shall be postponed for the next workday.

Debate on the items on the adopted agenda of the sitting of the National Assembly shall be held irrespective of the number of MPs present in the session chamber.

The quorum necessary for the work of the National Assembly on the Voting Day, for the adoption of the minutes and adoption of the agenda, and at the first sitting of the National Assembly, shall exist if a majority of the total number of MPs are present at the sitting of the National Assembly.

The quorum shall be determined by the application of the electronic voting system in that all MPs shall identify themselves by inserting their identification cards into MPs’ voting units.

If the Head or an authorised representative of a parliamentary group express doubt in the existence of the quorum established by the application of the electronic voting system, the Speaker of the National Assembly shall make available a computer printout of the list of MPs present.

If the electronic voting system is not in operation, of which the Chairperson of the National Assembly shall notify MPs, the quorum shall be established by a count of MPs.

The Speaker of the National Assembly may decide to establish the quorum by a count of MPs in other cases as well.

If the Head or an authorised representative of a parliamentary group express doubt in the existence of the quorum established by a count of MPs, he/she may request that the quorum be established by a roll call of MPs, on which the National Assembly shall decide without a debate.

Article 89

Sittings of the National Assembly shall, besides MPs, also be attended by the Prime Minister and Government members, authorised representatives of other Bill proposers and the Head of the Republic Secretariat for Legislation, and other persons invited by the Speaker of the National Assembly.

On the invitation of the Speaker of the National Assembly, sittings of the National Assembly may be attended by Presidents of foreign countries, Prime Ministers and foreign Government members, delegations of representative bodies of other countries, representatives of international organisations, heads of diplomatic missions and other guests.

Article 90

At the beginning of the work at a sitting of the National Assembly, on each day the National Assembly is at session, the Speaker of the National Assembly shall notify the National Assembly on which of the MPs are not able to attend the sitting of the National Assembly, and on who has been invited to the sitting.

Furthermore, the Speaker of the National Assembly shall provide necessary explanations related to the work at the sitting and other issues.

3. The Course of the Sitting

Article 91

Minutes of the preceding sitting of the National Assembly shall, as a rule, be adopted before the conclusion of the following sitting of the National Assembly.

MPs may propose postponement of the adoption of the minutes, on which the National Assembly shall decide without a debate by a majority of the votes cast by MPs present, provided the sitting is attended by a majority of all MPs.

If the minutes of the preceding sitting of the National Assembly had not been delivered to MPs at least 72 hours before a decision on the minutes was taken, the adoption of those minutes shall be postponed until the following sitting of the National Assembly.

Objections to the minutes shall be delivered in writing to the Committee on Administrative, Budgetary, Mandate and Immunity Issues, no later than 24 hours before the beginning of the sitting of the National Assembly at which the minutes are to be adopted.

The Committee on Administrative, Budgetary, Mandate and Immunity Issues shall consider the objections to the minutes received and submit to the National Assembly a report with a proposal to accept or reject the objections.

The National Assembly shall decide on the objections to the minutes without a debate.

Any objections adopted shall become a constituent part of the minutes.

The National Assembly shall decide on the minutes without a debate.

Article 92

The National Assembly shall determine the agenda of a sitting.

MPs, the Government and other authorised proposers may propose the withdrawal of certain items on the proposed agenda, amendments to the proposed agenda, cognate debates, debate in detail immediately after the finalisation of the debate in principle on a Bill, and changes of the sequence of items on the proposed agenda.

MPs may propose reduction of time dedicated to the debate on an act proposal.

Proposals and Bills referred to in paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Article shall be submitted to the Speaker of the National Assembly in writing, no later than 24 hours before the time scheduled for the beginning of the sitting of the National Assembly.

If the proposal referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article has been submitted by a group of MPs, a representative of the proposer shall be named in the proposal. Where this has not been done, the first MP who signed the proposal shall be deemed the representative of the proposer.

If the proposals referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article have not submitted in accordance with provisions of these Rules of Procedure, the National Assembly shall not consider them nor decide on them.

A debate shall be held on the proposed amendments to the agenda, in which only the following may take part:

  • the proposer of the amendments to the agenda, or authorised representative of the proposer;
  • the proposer of the act to which the amendment refers, or authorised representative of the proposer, if the proposal calls for withdrawing the proposed act from the proposed agenda.

Participation in a debate on the proposed amendments to the agenda may not last longer than three minutes.

Article 93

In establishing the agenda, the National Assembly shall decide, without a debate, on every motion, in the following order:

  • for an urgent procedure;
  • for withdrawal of particular items on the proposed agenda;
  • for making amendments to the proposed agenda;
  • for shortening the debate (abbreviated procedure);
  • for cognate debates;
  • for a debate in detail immediately after closing a debate in principle on a Bill and
  • for changing the sequence of particular items.

New items introduced in the agenda by the adoption of a motion for an urgent procedure, or for making amendments to the proposed agenda, shall be introduced in the agenda according to the order in which they have been proposed, except where the proposer has proposed a different order of the debate, on which the National Assembly shall vote without a debate.

The National Assembly shall decide on the agenda in its entirety, without a debate.

Article 94

The National Assembly shall adopt laws and other acts:

  • by a regular procedure, and
  • by an urgent procedure.

Both regular and urgent procedures may, given the duration of the debate at the sitting of the National Assembly, be:

  • standard and
  • abbreviated.

Article 95

MPs may propose a shorter time of a debate on an act proposal, if what is concerned is:

  • ratification of international treaties;
  • minor amendments to existing laws, not altering material provisions substantially;
  • cessation of the effectiveness of a law;
  • harmonisation of legislation withthe legal system of the Republic of Serbia and the EU Acquis;
  • amendments to laws related to decisions of the Constitutional Court;
  • authentic law interpretation;
  • election and dismissal of persons elected by the National Assembly in accordance with the Constitution and the law, unless specified otherwise by these Rules of Procedure.

Article 96

In the standard procedure, after the opening of a debate in principle on every item on the agenda of the sitting of the National Assembly, the floor shall be given in the following sequence and in the following duration, to the following:

  • the proposer of the act, or authorised representative of the group of proposers, who shall be given the floor upon his/her request and shall not be subject to limitations in respect of the duration of the address;
  • the rapporteur of the competent committee, who shall be given the floor once, for up to 5 minutes,
  • head, or representatives of parliamentary groups, who shall be entitled to speak for up to 20 minutes, and may divide this time into two periods;
  • MPs, alternately, according to whether they support or oppose the proposal, which they shall state when they submit an application for the floor. If MPs do not state whether they support or object to the proposal in the application for the floor, those MPs shall be granted the floor at the end of the sequence of applications for the floor.

The Prime Minister and other Government members shall be granted the floor upon their request and shall not be subject to limitations in respect of the duration of their address. The Head of the Republic Secretariat for Legislation shall be granted the same rights as Government members, but only when the National Assembly is discussing a Bill prepared for the Government by the Republic Secretariat for Legislation, on which the Government shall appropriately notify the National Assembly.

MPs who are not members of parliamentary groups shall, by mutual agreement, shall select at most three participants in the debate, each entitled to address the National Assembly once for up to five minutes. If no such agreement is reached, three MPs who first submitted the applications for the floor, shall be allowed to address the National Assembly, each of them once for up to five minutes.

Applications for the floor, together with the order of MPs, shall be submitted in writing by parliamentary groups and MPs who are not members of parliamentary groups, before the opening of the debate, and the other participants in the debate shall ask for the floor verbally, after opening of the debate.

Article 97

In the standard procedure, total time envisaged for the debate in principle for parliamentary groups shall amount to five hours.

The time referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article shall be allocated to parliamentary groups in proportion to the number of members of that parliamentary group.

The Head, or a representative of a parliamentary group shall, before opening the debate, be entitled to propose a longer debate for parliamentary groups than the time-limit referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article. The National Assembly shall decide on such a motion by a majority vote of MPs, at a sitting where majority of MPs are present, without a debate.

Article 98

The Speaker of the National Assembly shall grant the floor to MPs, according to the order submitted by their parliamentary group and until the expiry of the total time for debate allocated to that parliamentary group.

If MPs from several parliamentary groups have applied for the floor, the Speaker of the National Assembly shall grant them the floor alternately, so that the first speaker shall be an MP who is a member of the smallest parliamentary group in the number of MPs composing it,, and so on until the largest parliamentary group, as long as there are speakers who have applied for the floor.

A parliamentary group does not need to use the time it is allocated, or does not need to use it in its full duration.

When the Speaker of the National Assembly determines that there are no more MPs who applied to take part in the debate, or when the time for debate has expired, the Speaker shall declare the debate closed.

Article 99

In the abbreviated procedure the total time for the debate shall amount to 50% of the time allocated for speakers referred to in Articles 96 and 97 of these Rules of Procedure.

Article 100

When the Speaker of the National Assembly is chairing a sitting and wants to take part in the debate, he/she shall cede the chair to one of the Deputy Speakers of the National Assembly.

Article 101

The Speaker of the National Assembly may adjourn a sitting of the National Assembly for the purpose of holding a new sitting of the National Assembly, and shall substantiate the adjournment.

The Speaker of the National Assembly may order a break at a sitting of the National Assembly in order to conduct consultations that may be required or to obtain an opinion.

The Speaker of the National Assembly shall adjourn the National Assembly in the Voting Day when he/she determines a lack of a quorum necessary at a sitting of the National Assembly, until a quorum is established.

The Speaker of the National Assembly may adjourn the sitting of the National Assembly in other cases, if the National Assembly should so decide.

The Speaker of the National Assembly shall notify MPs on the resumption of the sitting.

Article 102

After the debates on all items of the agenda and vote on them have been concluded, the Speaker of the National Assembly shall conclude the sitting of the National Assembly.

Article 103

MPs shall be entitled to point verbally to a violation of procedure by the Speaker of the National Assembly, if they believe that it is not in accordance with the provisions of these Rules of Procedure, and the violation has been made at a sitting of the National Assembly in progress, immediately after the violation.

MPs may not point to violations of procedure by the Speaker of the National Assembly which have already been indicated.

The Speaker of the National Assembly shall grant the floor to the MP pointing to the violation referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article, immediately after the conclusion of the address of the preceding speaker, with the proviso that heads of parliamentary groups enjoy precedence.

MPs shall state which Article of these Rules of Procedure has been violated by the conduct of the Speaker of the National Assembly and substantiate the violation, and may address the National Assembly for no longer than two minutes.

If the Speaker of the National Assembly considers that no violation has been committed, he/she shall provide an explanation, and if he/she considers that a violation has been committed, the Speaker of the National Assembly shall rectify the violation committed.

If even after the explanation given by the Speaker of the National Assembly, the MP considers that a violation has been committed, the MP may request, without a right to substantiate, from the National Assembly to vote on the matter during the Voting Day.

The Speaker of the National Assembly shall pronounce measures referred to in Articles 108 - 111 of these Rules of Procedure to MPs who do not abide by the provisions referred to in paragraphs 1, 2, 4 and 6 of this Article, or in other obvious manner abuse the rights envisaged by this Article.

In the case referred to in paragraph 7 of this Article, the Speaker of the National Assembly shall deduct the time used by the MP when abusing the right referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article from the total time allocated to his parliamentary group in the debate on the current item on the agenda, if his/her parliamentary group still has time left for a debate.

If the MP considers that the Speaker of the National Assembly did not act in accordance with the provisions of these Rules of Procedure before the beginning of the sitting of the National Assembly, he/she shall notify the Speaker of the National Assembly thereof in writing, on which the Speaker of the National Assembly shall inform the MPs at a sitting of the National Assembly and provide an explanation.

If even after the explanation of the Speaker of the National Assembly referred to in paragraph 9 of this Article, the MP considers that the violation has been committed, he/she may request, without a right to substantiate, from the National Assembly to vote on the matter, without a debate, on the Voting Day.

Article 104

If an MP, while addressing the National Assembly, uses offensive language for an MP who is not the member of the same parliamentary group, specifying his/her name and surname, or title, or incorrectly interprets that MP’s address, the MP involved shall be entitled to a rebuttal.

If the offensive language relates to a parliamentary group, or a political party to which the MPs in that group belong, the right to rebuttal on behalf of the parliamentary group shall belong to the Head of the parliamentary group.

The Speaker of the National Assembly shall decide on the use of the rights referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article.

Rebuttals may not last for more than two minutes.

4. Maintaining order at a sitting

Article 105

No one may speak at a sitting of the National Assembly before requesting and obtaining the floor from the Speaker of the National Assembly.

MPs shall speak from their seats in the session chamber of the National Assembly after being granted the floor by the Chairperson of the National Assembly, except in cases stipulated by these Rules of Procedure.

The following may address the National Assembly from the speaker’s platform in the session chamber of the National Assembly: the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, and other persons with the approval of the Speaker of the National Assembly.

No one may approach the speaker’s platform before being provided an approval by the Speaker of the National Assembly.

Article 106

Speakers may speak only about the item on the agenda which is the subject of the debate.

No one may interrupt the speaker or caution the speaker, except for the Speaker of the National Assembly in cases stipulated by these Rules of Procedure.

During addresses by MPs or other participants in the debate, it shall be prohibited to heckle or otherwise distract the speaker, or to undertake any other action that violates the freedom of speech.

Article 107

Speakers at sittings of the National Assembly shall respect the dignity of the National Assembly.

At a sitting of the National Assembly, an MP may not address another MP directly, may not use offensive language, nor present facts or judgements concerning the private lives of other persons.

Article 108

The Speaker of the National Assembly shall ensure the order at sittings of the National Assembly.

In case of breaches of order at sittings, the Speaker of the National Assembly may pronounce the following measures: reprimand, denial of the floor, or expulsion from the sitting.

On the basis of the measure referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article the Committee on Administrative, Budgetary, Mandate, and Immunity Issues shall impose a fine in accordance with the provisions of Article 114 of these Rules of Procedure.

Records on measures imposed referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article shall be kept by the General Secretary of the National Assembly.

Article 109

MPs shall be given reprimands for:

  • approaching the speaker’s platform without the permission of the Speaker of the National Assembly;
  • speaking before requesting the floor and being given the floor;
  • speaking about an issue not on the agenda, in spite of being warned by the Speaker of the National Assembly;
  • interrupting or heckling speakers, or hindering the speaker, or threatening the freedom of speech in other manner;
  • speaking directly to another MP;
  • resorting to swearing and insulting language;
  • presenting facts and opinions relating to other people’s private lives;
  • violating the order at the sitting by other actions or acting in contravention of the provisions of these Rules of Procedure.

Article 110

The measure of being denied the floor shall be pronounced to MPs who, despite being previously reprimanded twice, continue to violate the order at the sitting or act contrary to these Rules of Procedure.

MPs who have been denied the floor shall stop their speeches. Failing to do so will result in deactivating the public address system by the Speaker of the National Assembly, who shall, if needed, order a break.

Article 111

The measure of being expelled from a sitting shall be pronounced to MPs who, after being denied the floor, continue to hamper or prevent work at the sitting, do not abide by decisions of the Speaker of the National Assembly on the pronouncement of the measure of being denied the floor, or continue to make other breaches as provided for in Article 109 of these Rules of Procedure, as well as in other cases specified by these Rules of Procedure.

The measure of being expelled from a sitting may also be pronounced to an MP who has not been sanctioned previously, in the event of a physical assault on another person in the building of the National Assembly.

MPs expelled from a sitting shall immediately leave the chamber where the sitting is being held.

If an MP refuses to leave the sitting of the National Assembly, the Speaker of the National Assembly shall order the service in charge of maintaining order in the building of the National Assembly to remove that MP from the sitting, and order a break pending execution of order.

Article 112

If the Speaker of the National Assembly is unable to maintain order at the sitting by use of regular measures, he/she shall call a break until order is restored.

Article 113

The measures of reprimand and denial of the floor shall be applied on the same day they were pronounced at the sitting of the National Assembly.

The measure of expulsion from the sitting shall apply over a period of twenty days of the sitting (work) of the National Assembly following the day of pronouncement, or for the entire sitting at which it was pronounced, if the sitting should last more than twenty sitting (work) days of the National Assembly.

Without prejudice to paragraph 2 of this Article, the MP who is expelled from the sitting of the National Assembly shall have the right to attend the sitting of the National Assembly during the Voting Day.

Article 114

An MP, subject to a measure of reprimand, shall be fined by 10% of his/her salary.

An MP to whom two reprimands have been pronounced during the same sitting shall be fined by 20% of his/her salary.

An MP who has been denied the floor shall be fined by 40% of his/her salary.

An MP who has been expelled from a sitting shall be fined by 50% of his/her salary.

Where several measures have been pronounced to an MP during the same sitting of the National Assembly, the fines shall not be added up and only the highest of the fines shall be applied.

Article 115

Decisions on imposing fines on MPs shall be made by the Committee on Administrative-Budgetary and Mandate-Immunity Questions.

Fines imposed on MPs permanently employed with the National Assembly shall be deducted from their salaries for the current month, or for the current and for the following month if they have not been expelled from a sitting of the National Assembly.

Fines imposed on MPs not permanently employed with the National Assembly shall be deducted from their emolument in the National Assembly (the difference between the salary of an MP permanently employed with the National Assembly and the income received from employment or pension, or the MPs’ allowance), for the current month, or also for the following months if the monthly emolument of an MP in the National Assembly is smaller than the amount of the fine, until the moment the full amount of the fine has been deducted.

MPs fined for being reprimanded or denied the floor shall be entitled to allowance for the use of a car, meals and hotel accommodation, while MPs fined in connection with being expelled from a sitting shall be entitled to allowance for the use of a car, in accordance with an act of the Committee on Administrative, Budgetary, Mandate, and Immunity Issues.

Article 116

Provisions of these Rules of Procedure on order at the sittings of the National Assembly shall be applied to all other participants at the sitting, besides MPs.

Article117

Chairpersons of committees shall ensure the order at committee meetings.

Chairpersons of committees shall notify the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Secretary General of the National Assembly of the measures pronounced at committee sittings.

The Speaker of the National Assembly shall notify the Committee on the Administrative, Budgetary, Mandate and Immunity Issues on the measures pronounced.

Provisions of these Rules of Procedure on order at the sittings of the National Assembly shall be accordingly applied to the sittings of committees and other working bodies of the National Assembly.

5. Minutes

Article 118

Minutes of the National Assembly sittings shall be taken.

Minutes shall include principal data on the work at the sitting, in particular the proposals discussed, with the names of participants in the debate and the names of MPs who submitted their addresses in writing, on the conclusions adopted at the sitting and the results of the votes on particular issues, and the measures pronounced.

At the sittings of the National Assembly shorthand notes shall be taken in the text whereof each ten-minute period shall be marked with slanting brackets, and an audio recording of the course of the sitting shall be made. The shorthand notes shall include the text as it was uttered, and no words or expressions shall be omitted.

All MPs shall be entitled to have an insight, upon their request, into the stenographic transcripts and/or audio recordings. MPs who wish to authorise the texts of their addresses shall do so within three days from the day of the sitting.

Stenographic transcript shall be delivered to parliamentary groups no later than the following day.

An integral part of the stenographic transcript shall be an address of an MP delivered in a written form.

The adopted minutes shall be signed by the Speaker and the Secretary General of the National Assembly.

Materials discussed at the sitting and the stenographic transcript of the sitting shall be attached to the adopted minutes.

The Secretary General of the National Assembly shall see to the drafting and keeping of the minutes.

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