Section 56 and 57 of the 1999 Constitution: Voting System of National Assembly

Voting

The 1999 Constitution

Section 56 (1)

Except as otherwise provided by this Constitution any question proposed for decision in the Senate or the House of Representatives shall be determined by the required majority of the members present and voting; and the person presiding shall cast a vote whenever necessary to avoid an equality of votes but shall not vote in any other case.

(Determination of issues in any of the chambers of the National Assembly i.e. either the House of Representatives or the Senate, shall be by casting of votes by members present and who can vote in the sitting. The Presiding Officer would ordinarily refrain from voting except where there is a tie of votes then the presiding officer would cast his vote to break the tie.)


Section 56 (2)

Except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, the required majority for the purpose of determining any question shall be a simple majority.

(For determining the winners of a voting process, the side with the most numbers win the vote.)


Section 56 (3) (a)

The Senate or the House of Representatives shall by its rules provide –

that a member of the House shall declare any direct pecuniary interest he may have in any matter coming before the House for deliberation;

(The Senate or House of Representatives has a rule that ensures members must indicate any financial interest he/she has in a matter to be brought before the house for discussions.)


Section 56 (3) (b)

That the House may by resolution decide whether or not such member may vote, or participate in its deliberations, on such matter;

(Following the previous section, once a member indicates financial interest in a matter to be brought before either the Senate or House of Representatives, the House may decide whether such member would join in discussing or voting on that particular matter which he/she has interest in.)


Section 56 (3) (c)

the penalty, if any, which the House may impose for failure to declare any direct pecuniary interest such member may have; and

(the Senate or House of Representatives shall have a rule to impose penalties to any member that defaults in indicating that he has financial interest in a matter to be brought before the House.)


Section 56 (3) (d)

For such other matters pertaining to the foregoing as the House may think necessary, but nothing in the foregoing provisions shall enable any rules to be made to require any member, who signifies his intention not to vote on or participate in such matter, and who does not so vote or participate, to declare any such interest.

(the Senate or House of Reps shall have other rules relating to the financial interest of members and whether they can vote/deliberate on the issue or not but where a member has stated that he would not participate in voting or deliberating on an issue, nothing in the previous sections shall mean that a rule should be created in order to compel such person to disclose if he has a financial interest.)


Section 57

Any person who sits or votes in the Senate or the House of Representatives knowing or having reasonable grounds for knowing that he is not entitled to do so commits an offence and is liable on conviction to such punishment as shall be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.

(Anyone who does not have the right to vote in the Senate or House of Representatives, if such a person casts a vote or votes, such person commits an offence and on conviction, shall be punished in accordance with the Act enacted by the National Assembly)

Section 54 and 55 of the 1999 Constitution: Quorum and Language of National Assembly

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