Rules of Organisation and Procedure of the National Assembly (2005, amended 2007)

Untitled Document

RULES

OF ORGANISATION AND PROCEDURE

OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

(Promulgated in State Gazette No. 69/23.08.2005, amended and supplemented, SG No. 74/13.09.2005, supplemented, SG No. 101/15.12.2006, amended and supplemented, SG No. 18/27.02.2007)

Chapter One

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1. The National Assembly shall establish its proper organisation and shall transact its business pursuant to the Constitution and these Rules.

Article 2. The National Assembly shall sit in its House in the capital, save as when it may decide to sit elsewhere under extraordinary circumstances.

Chapter Two

CONSTITUTION OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Article 3. (1) The first sitting of the National Assembly shall be opened by the eldest Member present. The said Member shall chair the sitting until the National Assembly elects its Chairperson.

(2) The Members of the National Assembly shall take a spoken oath in pursuance of Article 76, paragraph 2 of the Constitution to be documented by signing individual oath papers.

Article 4. (1) Under the Chair of the eldest Member debates shall be held exclusively on the election of a Chairperson of the National Assembly as well as the election itself.

(2) Nominations for a National Assembly Chairperson may be moved by the coalitions and parties represented in Parliament and registered with the Central Elections Commission for independent running in the elections on 25 June 2005 and by members of the National Assembly.

(3) The nominee who has received more than one half of the votes of the Members in attendance shall be deemed elected. If at the first vote none of the nominees has obtained the required majority, a second vote shall be held in which the two nominees having received the largest number of votes shall take part. The nominee who receives the larger number of votes shall be elected.

(4) The National Assembly shall elect seven Deputy Chairpersons, one from each party and coalition represented in Parliament registered with the Central Elections Commission for independent running in the elections on 25 June 2005.

(5) Any party and coalition represented in Parliament and registered with the Central Elections Commission for independent running in the elections on 25 June 2005 shall move its nominee for a Deputy Chairperson of the National Assembly. Nominations may be moved also by individual members.

(6) Deputy Chairpersons elected from the quota of the Attack Coalition; the United Democratic Forces – Union of Democratic Forces, Democratic Party, Gergiovden Movement, Bulgarian Agricultural National Union/Popular Union – BAPU, the Equal Social Model Movement [DROM]; the Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria (DSB) and the Union of Liberal Democrats, BAPU – National Union, VMRO Bulgarian National Movement – Bulgarian National Union Coalition, shall take part in chairing National Assembly sittings following the principle of rotation for the term of one parliamentary session, their sequence being determined in accordance with the number of the four parties and coalitions represented in Parliament, as registered by the Central Elections Commission for independent participation in the elections on 25 June 2005.

Article 5. (1) The Chairperson or any Deputy Chairperson of the National Assembly may be discharged of his/her responsibilities before the expiry of his/her term on:

1. his/her own request;

2. a motion in writing of not less than one third of all Members when he/she is objectively incapable of fulfilling his/her duties, or is systematically abusing his/her authority, or systematically fails to fulfil his/her duties within his/her competences.

(2) In the cases under item 1 of the above paragraph, the discharge of powers shall be announced without a debate or vote.

(3) In the cases under item 2 of paragraph 1 the motion shall be put to a vote at the first sitting following the submission date, allowing a hearing to the person concerned. The motion shall be deemed carried if it has been supported by more than one half of the Members of the National Assembly in attendance.

(4) In case of discharge before the end of term a new election shall take place within 14 days after the adoption of the decision. Until the holding of a new election for a National Assembly Chairperson it shall be chaired by the Deputy Chairperson nominated by the biggest coalition represented in Parliament and registered with the Central Elections Commission for running in the elections on 25 June 2005 on its own.

Article 6. The National Assembly shall elect 14 Clerks from among the Members.

Article 7. At subsequent sittings the National Assembly shall elect Standing Committees.

Chapter Three

LEADERSHIP OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Article 8. (1) The Chairperson of the National Assembly, in pursuance of his/her powers under Article 77, paragraph 1 and Article 78, item 1 of the Constitution, shall:

1. announce the bills and other motions submitted to the National Assembly and assign such bills and motions to the Committees in accordance with their subject;

2. authenticate the contents of the acts adopted by the National Assembly;

3. ensure that appropriate conditions exist for the work of the Committees of the National Assembly and the Members;

4. establish Standing Orders observable on the National Assembly premises, and such concerning the organisation and the use of facilities, following coordination with the Council of the Chairperson;

5. administer the National Assembly budget;

6. authenticate by his signature the shorthand records of the sittings of the National Assembly;

7. exercise control over the publication of the “State Gazette” as well as the other powers pursuant to the “State Gazette” Act;

8. establish the seating arrangements in the plenary room for the Members of the National Assembly by Parliamentary Group, for the Members of the Council of Ministers, and for the President and the Vice-President of the Republic;

9. ensure and observe the compliance with these Rules;

10. approve the uniform schedule of staff positions at the National Assembly and the staffing of its departments;

11. appoint and dismiss the Chief Clerk of the National Assembly, the personnel at the Chairperson’s Office and at the offices of Deputy Chairpersons and Parliamentary Groups subject to their respective advice;

12. endorse Operational Rules for the Administration of the National Assembly;

13. control the internal and external security of the National Assembly placed under his orders;

14. appoint and dismiss the questors of the National Assembly.

15. perform other functions he is entrusted with under the Constitution, the law and these Rules.

(2) The Chairperson of the National Assembly may establish Consultative Legislation Council. The organisation and the activities of the Councils shall be regulated by rules approved by the Chairperson of the National Assembly.

(3) Deputy Chairpersons of the National Assembly shall assist the Chairperson and carry out the activities assigned by him/her.

(4) If the Chairperson of the National Assembly decides to delegate the performance of his functions under paragraph 1 to the Deputy Chairpersons on a permanent basis, he shall issue an order in writing distributing these functions among them.

(5) The Chairperson of the National Assembly shall designate one of his Deputies to act for him/her in his/her absence, and if that has not been done, he shall be substituted by the Deputy Chairperson originally nominated by the largest party or coalition represented in Parliament and registered with the Central Elections Commission for running in the elections on 25 June 2005 on its own.

(6) If the Chairperson takes part in a floor discussion on a certain matter, the sitting shall be chaired by a Deputy Chairperson designated by him. He shall not resume the Chair for the same sitting before the vote or the discontinuation of debates on the said matter.

Article 9. (1) The Chairperson of the National Assembly shall be assisted by a Council of the Chairperson consisting of the Deputy Chairpersons and the Leaders of Parliamentary Groups or their duly authorised substitutes.

(2) The Council of the Chairperson shall:

1. conduct consultations on the National Assembly legislative programme’s drafts and on the agenda;

2. be informed, from time to time but not less than once a month, on the implementation of the legislative programme and on the Committees’ work on the bills and draft decisions assigned to them, on statements and appeals.

3. contribute to achieving consensus in cases of conflicts of interests between different parliamentary groups as well as on procedural and organisational matters connected with the National Assembly work.

(3) The Council of the Chairperson shall be convened by the Chairperson of the National Assembly on his own initiative or at the request of one-third of its members.

Article 10. The Clerks of the National Assembly shall:

1. inform the Chairperson of the Members’ attendance at sittings of the National Assembly and assist him/her in performing quorum inspections;

2. verify and sign the shorthand records of sittings at which they have been on duty;

3. where a vote is taken by a show of hands, i.e. without the electronic voting equipment, count the votes and report the result of the vote to the Chairperson;

4. where a vote is taken by secret ballot, render technical assistance to the ballot;

5. where a vote is taken by roll-call, call the roll;

6. perform such other tasks as may be assigned to them by the Chairperson in connection with the business of the National Assembly.

Article 11. The Questors of the National Assembly shall:

1. perform the Chairperson's directions on the maintenance of order on the floor and in the galleries;

2. assist the Clerks in counting the votes when voting with a show of hands is held and in the technical organisation of secret ballots;

3. ensure that only Members of the National Assembly, Ministers and officials authorised by the National Assembly are present in the plenary room.

Chapter Four

PARLIAMENTARY GROUPS

Article 12. (1) The Members of the National Assembly may form Parliamentary Groups by party or political affiliation.

(2) The minimum number of Members of the National Assembly to form a Parliamentary Group shall be ten.

(3) If the membership of a Parliamentary Group falls below the required minimum, such Group shall cease to exist.

Article 13. (1) Each Parliamentary Group shall submit to the Chairperson of the National Assembly a resolution on its establishment and a list of its leadership and members signed by all members thereof.

(2) The Chairperson of the National Assembly shall announce the Parliamentary Groups so registered and their leaderships at a sitting of the full House.

(3) The Parliamentary Groups, their leaderships and any changes therein shall be recorded in a special register of the National Assembly. Every change in the composition of a Parliamentary Group shall be announced by the Chairperson of the National Assembly at a sitting of the full House.

(4) Any permanent assistants to a Parliamentary Group shall be appointed on the Assembly’s staff. On the advice of every Parliamentary Group concerned the number of such staff shall be approved by the Chairperson of the National Assembly in proportion to the Group’s size.

Article 14. No Parliamentary Group or Alliance may be named after another organisation, party or coalition already registered under the relevant procedure.

Article 15. (1) No Member of the National Assembly may be member of more than one Parliamentary Group.

(2) The terms of group membership, the commencement and termination thereof, and the rights and duties of group members, as well as internal Parliamentary Group ensuring observation of the provision of Article 53, paragraph 3, shall be established by the Parliamentary Group concerned and in accordance with the provisions of these Rules.

(3) A Member of the National Assembly may resign from his/her Parliamentary Group by addressing his/her resignation in writing to the leader of the Group and to the Chairperson of the National Assembly, which shall be announced at the plenary room.

(4) On resignation from the Parliamentary Group or on dismissal from it the Member shall lose his/her seat in Standing Committees as a representative of the respective Parliamentary Group, in National Assembly delegations, his/her observer capacity at the European Parliament and other elected offices at the National Assembly.

(5) (New, SG No. 18/2007, enters into force as from the first meeting of the European Parliament following the elections for Members of the European Parliament from the Republic of Bulgaria) Members of the European Parliament from the Republic of Bulgaria may participate in the meetings of Parliamentary Groups in a non-voting capacity and pursuant to the provisions of Article 12 (1).

Article 16. No Parliamentary Group may be formed to defend private, corporate, regional, local or professional interests.

Chapter Five

COMMITTEES OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Article 17. (1)The National Assembly shall elect from among its Members Standing and Select Committees.

(2) The National Assembly Standing Committees shall be the following:

1. Economic Policy Committee;

2. Budget and Finance Committee;

3. Legal Affairs Committee;

4. Local Government, Regional Policy and Urban Development Committee;

5. Foreign Policy Committee;

6. Defence Committee

7. Internal Security and Public Order Committee;

8. Agriculture and Forests Committee;

9. Labour and Social Policy Committee;

10. Education and Science Committee;

11. Health Care Committee;

12. Children, Youth and Sports Committee

13. Environment and Water Committee;

14. Energy Committee;

15. Culture Committee;

16. Human Rights and Religious Affairs Committee.

17. Citizens’ Complaints and Petitions Committee.

18. (amend. SG No. 18/2007) European Affairs Committee;

19. Transport and Communications Committee;

20. Civil Society and Media Committee;

21. Committee on Matters of State Administration

22. Parliamentary Ethics Committee

23. Anti-Corruption Committee

24. Natural Disaster and Emergency Policy Committee

(3) (amend. SG No. 18/2007) The European Affairs Committee shall report to the National Assembly on the discharge of duties assigned to the Council of Ministers to provide preliminary information about its involvement in the development and adoption of EU acts. The European Affairs Committee shall also prepare reports on other acts of the institutions of the European Union.

(4) The Citizens’ Complaints and Petitions Committee shall submit an annual report to the National Assembly

(5) The National Assembly may alter the type, number and composition of the Standing Committees.

Article 18. (1) A Member of the National Assembly may be elected to two standing committees at most.

(2) A Member of the National Assembly may be elected to the leadership of one Standing Committee only.

Article 19. (1) The composition of the Standing Committees shall be based on the principle of proportional representation of the Parliamentary Groups.

(2) The leadership of each Standing Committee shall comprise a Chairperson and up to three Deputy Chairpersons. The leadership of each Standing Committee shall organise its business on the basis of the information coming to the Committee.

(3) The leaderships and the members of the Standing Committees shall be elected on the motion of Parliamentary Groups or private motions by an open vote en bloc, unless objections are raised against any of the nominees.

(4) The Chairperson shall chair meetings and maintain contacts with the Chairpersons of other committees and with the National Assembly Chairperson.

(5) The Chairperson shall authorise one of his/her Deputies to chair the Committee’s meetings in his/her absence. If such authorisation has not been done the Deputy from the biggest Parliamentary Group shall act for the Chairperson.

Article 19a. (New, SG No. 18/2007, enters into force as from the first meeting of the European Parliament following the elections for Members of the European Parliament from the Republic of Bulgaria) Members of the European Parliament from the Republic of Bulgaria may participate in the meetings of the European Affairs Committee in a non-voting capacity. Members of the European Parliament from the Republic of Bulgaria may also participate in the meetings of other standing committees on an invitation by the chairpersons of such committees.

Article 20. (1) The Chairperson, Deputy Chairpersons and members of a Standing Committee may be discharged from their duties before the end of their term on:

1. a request of their own;

2. a motion of one third of the Committee members – when they are objectively incapable of fulfilling theirs duties for a period of six months, or when they are systematically abusing their authority, or systematically fail to fulfil their duties.

(2) Standing Committee Chairpersons and Deputy Chairpersons shall be discharged before the expiry of their term when they discontinue their membership in the Parliamentary Group on whose quota they have been elected to the Committee after being given the right to be heard.

(3) In the cases under item 1 of paragraph 1 and item 1 of paragraph 2 the discharge shall be accepted without a debate or vote, and under item 2 of paragraph 1 with a decision of the National Assembly.

(4) In the cases under item 2 of paragraph 1 the Committee shall decide on the motion with a majority of more than one half of its members.

Article 21. (1) The Standing Committees may adopt their Standing Orders in accordance with these Rules.

(2) The necessary expenses of Standing Committees of the National Assembly shall be approved by the Chairperson of the National Assembly on the advice of Committee leaderships.

Article 22. (1) (prev. art. 22, SG No. 18/2007) Standing Committees may form from within their membership subcommittees and working groups.

(2) (New, SG No. 18/2007) The European Affairs Committee shall form a standing subcommittee to see to the proper and timely absorption of the money from the European Union funds and programs.

Article 23. (1) The Standing Committees shall consider such bills, draft resolutions, declarations and addresses as may be assigned to them by the Chairperson of the National Assembly, and shall prepare reports, make recommendations and give opinions thereon. The Standing Committees shall give opinion on the expected consequences that may arise for the State Budget of a future Act’s or resolution’s enactment.

(2) Standing Committee shall proceed at an assessment of the implementation and effectiveness of the Acts of the National Assembly.

(3) Government authorities, officials from the government and municipal administration and members of the public shall be obliged to make available on request any information and documents required for the work of the Standing Committees.

(4) The Chairperson shall be obliged, on the motion of one third of the Committee members, to address forthwith a request to the government authorities and the officials from the government and municipal administration to attend Committee meetings. The persons so invited shall be obliged to appear before the Committee and to present the requested information as well as to answer the questions they are asked within 7 days after the sending of the invitation or at the first regular meeting if it is after the expiry of the said 7 days.

Article 24. (1) Standing Committee meetings shall be regular and extraordinary.

(2) The Committees shall decide on the agenda, regularity and duration of their meetings.

(3) Standing Committees shall be convened by their Chairperson or on the request of not less than one third of its members, or by the Chairperson of the National Assembly.

Article 25. (1) The meetings of Standing Committees shall be open. Members of the public may attend Committee meetings in compliance with the admission arrangements to the National Assembly.

(2) Any member of the leadership of a Standing Committee may invite individual natural persons or representatives of legal persons concerned with the issues considered by the Committee to attend its meeting.

(3) Standing Committees may decide that particular meetings be closed.

(4) The meetings of the Foreign Policy Committee, the Defence Committee and the Internal Security and Public Order Committee as well as of their subcommittees shall be closed. Individual meetings of these Committees may be open, which is to be decided by the respective Committee.

(5) The participation of Members of the National Assembly in closed meetings of Committee of which they are not members, the documents and the issues they have become familiar with shall be recorded in a special report on proceedings and shall be signed by them.

(6) Members of the National Assembly may attend the meetings of any Standing Committee of which they are not members in a non-voting capacity.

(7) The participants in Committee meetings shall comply with requirements pertaining to the protection of classified information and of information under the Personal Data Protection Act, as well as of data relating to personal privacy and the good reputation of citizens.

(8) The mover of a bill or any other matter under consideration by a Committee shall be entitled to a hearing, in person or by proxy, at the relevant Committee meetings.

Article 26. By way of exception Standing Committees may hold open meetings outside the Capital City.

Article 27. (1) Standing Committee Chairpersons shall deliver notice of the agenda, time and venue of meetings by posting such notice at special points on the premises of the Assembly or in person to Committee members concerned, to be acknowledged by signature. The agenda shall be announced not later than one day prior to the meeting. In the case of an extraordinary meeting, the agenda shall be announced at the same time with an announcement setting the date for such meeting.

(2) A Standing Committee’s meeting shall only be in order if more than one half of the Committee’s members are in attendance. If the above quorum is not available within fifteen minutes from the hour set for the meeting, the meeting may proceed with the members in attendance, provided that not less than one third of the members are present.

(3) Standing Committee decisions shall be made by a majority vote of the members present.

Article 28. (1) Committees may hold joint meetings to discuss common issues. Such meetings shall be presided by one of the Committee Chairpersons designated by mutual consent.

(2) In joint meetings, each Committee shall make a separate decision on the matter at hand. In the case of dissent, each Committee shall submit a separate report to the National Assembly.

Article 29. (1) Standing Committees’ reports to the National Assembly shall be delivered by Committee Chairpersons or by Rapporteurs appointed by the Committees.

(2) The report shall set out the decision adopted by the Committee, the different views on the matter and the majority in support of each.

(3) Standing Committees reports from the open meetings shall be public and available under the standing procedures as well as on the National Assembly Web page.

Article 30. (1) Summary minutes shall be drawn up at the meetings of Standing Committees, setting out all the decisions made.

(2) Shorthand records shall be drawn up of the meetings of any main reporting Committee. They shall be signed by the Committee Chairperson and the stenographer.

(3) The records of Standing Committees closed meetings shall be subject to a special procedure for safe-keeping, accounting and access in compliance with requirements of the Classified Information Protection Act.

Article 31. (1) Select Committees shall be appointed ad hoc to investigate particular matters and to conduct inquiries.

(2) Select Committees shall be elected by the National Assembly on the motion of the Chairperson or not less than one tenth of the Members.

(3) The terms of reference, number, composition and term of office of the Select Committees shall be established by the National Assembly.

(4) The rules relating to Standing Committees shall apply also to Select Committees.

(5) Select Committees shall be dissolved as their term of office expires or earlier, by resolution of the Assembly.

Article 32. (1) The National Assembly shall elect from among its Members the Assembly’s standing delegations to international organisations.

(2) The composition of the National Assembly’s standing delegations to international organisations shall be based on the principle of proportional representation of Parliamentary Groups.

(3) The standing delegations shall report on their activities to the Chairperson of the National Assembly.

Chapter Six

SESSIONS AND SITTINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Article 33. (1) The National Assembly shall sit in three sessions per annum.

(2) The National Assembly shall be in recess from 22nd December to 10th January, for 10 days during the Easter Holidays, and from 1st to 31st August, each year.

(3) As an exception, the National Assembly may set other dates than the above.

(4) During periods of recess the time limits under these Rules shall be suspended.

Article 34. (1) The National Assembly shall be convened to a session by the Chairperson of the National Assembly.

(2) In the cases under Article 78, items 2, 3 and 4 of the Constitution the Chairperson shall appoint a sitting not later than seven days following the date of the request, irrespective whether the National Assembly is in recess or not.

(3) The authors of the request under Article 78 of the Constitution shall be obligated to specify the agenda for the sitting.

Article 35. (1) The regular plenary sittings of the National Assembly shall be on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Sittings may be extended, if the Assembly so decides, but by not more than 4 hours.

(2) The National Assembly may change the hours of regular sittings.

(3) The National Assembly may decide to hold unscheduled sittings, the agenda to be announced in advance, during a session but outside the days under paragraph 1. Extraordinary meetings may be held at any time in case of emergency.

Article 36. (1) The sittings of the National Assembly shall be open.

(2) A person who is not a Member of the National Assembly or a Government Minister may attend sittings, should the National Assembly decide so, and under the relevant rules established by the Chairperson, taking specially assigned seats. They must observe the established order and may take the floor only by invitation of the Chairperson.

(3) Should there occur disorder among the audience, the Chairperson shall restore order through the questors and may direct some or all members of the public to be removed.

Article 37. (1) The sittings of the National Assembly shall be closed when:

1. important interests of the state so require;

2. documents are discussed that are classified by virtue of the Classified Information Protection Act.

(2) A motion on a closed sitting may be brought forward by the Chairperson of the National Assembly, one tenth of the Members, or the Council of Ministers.

(3) When such motion is brought forward, the Chairperson shall invite the audience to leave the plenary room and the galleries as well as that live broadcasting through the media is stopped. Having heard the mover’s motives, the Assembly shall debate and take a vote on the motion. The sitting shall proceed as open or closed depending on the result of the vote.

(4) The deliberations and the records of closed sittings shall constitute classified information with the relevant obligations binding all Members of the National Assembly and any other persons allowed access thereto.

(5) Resolutions adopted at closed sittings shall be made public.

Article 38. (1) The open sittings of the National Assembly shall be broadcast live by the Bulgarian National Radio on a special frequency covering the entire national territory, and shall be covered also by television reports.

(2) Live television coverage of sittings shall be subject in each case to a resolution of the Assembly.

(3) All media may report also on the open meetings of the National Assembly Standing Committees.

(4) Plenary sittings dedicated to parliamentary control shall be broadcast live by the Bulgarian National Radio and the Bulgarian National TV.

(5) Shorthand records from plenary sittings, where these are not closed, shall be published within 7 days on the website of the National Assembly.

Article 39. (1) The Chairperson shall open a sitting if more than one half of the Members of the National Assembly are in attendance.

(2) The availability of a quorum shall be ascertained through the computerised voting system before the opening of the meeting, after a break or adjournment of proceedings.

(3) The Chairperson may, at his/her initiative, check the availability of a quorum. Quorum inspections outside paragraph 2 may be performed no more than twice a day by request of a Parliamentary Group.

(4) The Chairperson shall adjourn or suspend the sitting if there is no quorum in the Plenary room. In cases of suspension, the Chairperson may resume the sitting no later than one hour, within business hours, where the required quorum is present following a new inspection.

Article 40. (1) On the motion of the Chairperson and after the consultations pursuant to Article 9, paragraph 2, item 1 the National Assembly shall adopt a weekly or fortnightly programme of business. In drafting of such programmes, and in other matters relating to parliamentary proceedings, the Chairperson of the National Assembly shall be assisted by the Deputy Chairpersons.

(2) At the end of each sitting, the Chairperson shall announce the date and hour of the next sitting and its agenda according to the adopted weekly or fortnightly programme.

(3) Group or private motions to include items in the programme to be adopted may be brought forward in writing before the Chairperson of the National Assembly not later than 6:00 p.m. on the day preceding the sitting at which the programme is to be put to the vote. Each Member of the National Assembly shall be entitled to propose one item on the agenda in the event of a weekly programme and up to two items in the event of a fortnightly programme.

(4) The draft programme under paragraph 1 above proposed by the Chairperson, and any motions under paragraph 3 above, shall be put to the vote, without a debate, before any other business on the agenda, at the plenary sitting where a weekly or fortnightly programme is to be adopted. No spoken motions shall be allowed.

(5) In exceptional cases, the Chairperson may move an amendment to the agenda at the beginning of a sitting.

(6) Matters not on agenda shall not be debated.

(7) The bills and draft resolutions to be included in the agenda of the first scheduled sitting in each month shall be proposed by the Parliamentary Groups. Proposals shall be brought before the Chairperson of the National Assembly not later than 6:00 p.m. on the previous day. Each Parliamentary Group shall have the right to propose one item of the agenda. The items shall be arranged on the agenda according to the Parliamentary Group size. Each subsequent month, the items shall be arranged on a rotation basis. The National Assembly must consider the substance of the proposals brought forward. If no proposals have been brought by any Parliamentary Group, the Assembly shall proceed with the adopted programme.

Article 41. (1) The Chairperson shall preside at sittings and recognise the speakers.

(2) No Member of the National Assembly shall speak unless and until recognised by the Chairperson.

(3) Any Member of the National Assembly may request to be recognised by raising a hand, while remaining seated, or by addressing an advance written request to the Chairperson.

(4) The Chairperson shall compile a list of speakers and shall determine the speaking each in the order:

1. proposed by the leadership of the Parliamentary Group on which behalf the speakers wish to be recognised, and alternating between representatives of different Parliamentary Groups;

2. of requests.

(5) The Chairperson shall recognise the Leaders of Parliamentary Groups or, in their absence, their deputies or duly authorised substitutes, upon request during the debate on the matter at hand and within the time limit allotted to each Group.

(6) Once in each sitting the Chairperson shall recognise the Leaders of Parliamentary Groups or their substitutes upon request to speak on any matter outside the agenda under debate for a maximum of 7 minutes.

Article 42. (1) Members of the National Assembly raising a point of order shall be recognised immediately, unless preceded by any request for a reply, rejoinder or explanation of a negative vote.

(2) Points of order are objections to a particular breach of the order of business, provided by these Rules, or motions to amend the adopted course of proceedings, including such as:

1. to adjourn the sitting;

2. to suspend the sitting;

3. to close a debate;

4. to suspend a debate;

5. to postpone a vote.

(3) The speaker on a point of order shall speak for not more than two minutes, and not in any case on the substance of the matter at hand.

Article 43. (1) (Previous Article 43, SG No. 74/2005) Members of the National Assembly shall only speak from the rostrum.

(2) (New, SG No. 74/2005) In case where members of the National Assembly have physical disabilities, preventing them from gaining access of the rostrum, they shall speak from their sitting location, all necessary technical facilities being immediately made available to them.

Article 44. (1) Should a speaker digress from the matter at hand, the Chairperson shall call him to order, and if the speaker persists, the Chairperson shall rule him out of order.

(2) No Member of the National Assembly may speak twice on the substance of the same matter.

Article 45. (1) The Chairperson shall set the time limit for debate on each item on the agenda and the date and hour of the vote thereon. The time for debate shall be distributed among the Parliamentary Groups in proportion to their size, but not less than 15 minutes for the smallest and no less than 30 minutes for the largest Parliamentary Group. The total time limit for speeches of independent Members of the National Assembly shall be up to 15 minutes, whereas the time limit for individual independent Members of the National Assembly shall be up to 5 minutes.

(2) (repealed, SG No. 18/2007)

(3) Any Parliamentary Group may request an extension of its speaking time under paragraph 1 above but by no more than one third thereof. The other Parliamentary Groups shall have the right to a proportionate extension of the time allotted to them respectively.

(4) (amend. SG No. 18/2007) The Parliamentary Group time under paragraphs 1 above shall comprise:

1. the total taken up by speakers from the Group;

2. time taken up by Leaders of the Group;

3. time taken up by speakers from the Group for replies and points of order, except for matters referring to the manner of conducting proceedings.

(5) Up to three Members of the National Assembly may be recognised to express opinions dissenting from those of the Parliamentary Group to which they belong. The speaking time of a Member of the National Assembly shall be not more than 3 minutes.

(6) If a speaker exceeds the time allotted in pursuance of the above paragraphs, the Chairperson, having called him to order, shall rule such speaker out of order.

(7) The procedure laid down in the above paragraphs shall not apply to debates on bills prior to the second vote.

Article 46. (1) Members of the National Assembly shall have the right of reply.

(2) A reply is a short objection to the substance of a preceding speech. It shall be made immediately after the speech in question and shall be limited to two minutes.

(3) Not more than three replies may be made to the same speech.

(4) The speaker who has been replied to shall have the right of rejoinder, limited to three minutes, after all replies have been made.

Article 47. (1) Members of the National Assembly shall have the right of personal explanation, limited to 2 minutes, where a Member is concerned, personally or by name, in another’s speech. Personal explanations shall be made at the end of the sitting.

(2) Members of the National Assembly shall be have the right to explanation of a negative vote, limited to two minutes, immediately after the vote.

(3) The right to explanation of a negative vote shall be restricted to Members of the National Assembly who have not expressed the same negative position, or have not spoken at all, during the debate.

(4) No more than three Members of the National Assembly may be recognised to explain their negative votes.

(5) No explanations of negative vote shall be allowed after a secret ballot or a vote on a point of order.

Article 48. After the list of speakers has been exhausted or representatives of all Parliamentary Groups have spoken according to the time allotment under Article 45, and no requests have been made for time extension, the Chairperson shall close the debate.

Article 49. (1) On a motion concerning a point of order one Member of the National Assembly shall be recognised to raise an objection. Thereafter, the motion shall be put to a vote immediately without a debate.

(2) The right under paragraph 1 may not prejudice rights of Parliamentary Groups under Article 45, paragraph 1.

Article 50. (1) A sitting may be adjourned or suspended by a decision of the National Assembly on the motion of the Chairperson or of a Parliamentary Group.

(2) Where a motion is brought forward to adjourn the sitting and another, to suspend the sitting, the motion to adjourn shall be put to the vote first.

Article 51. (1) Where the transaction of business is disrupted by noise or disorder, or where dictated by other important reasons, the Chairperson may suspend the sitting.

(2) Any Parliamentary Group may request, once per sitting, that a sitting be suspended for not longer than thirty minutes. The Chairperson shall grant such request immediately and set the duration of the suspension, which may not be less than 15 minutes. No such requests shall be allowed within one hour from the opening of a sitting, or within one hour before the closing thereof as scheduled. The interval between two successive interruptions may not be shorter than one hour.

Article 52. Members of the Council of Ministers shall be entitled to attend the sittings of the National Assembly. They shall be recognised to speak whenever they so request. The Chairperson of the National Assembly may set the speaking time Ministers use for a specific issue.

Article 53. (1) Voting shall be in person. Votes may be ‘for’, ‘against’, or abstention. Voting shall be open. On the motion of a Parliamentary Group the National Assembly may decide a certain vote to be secret.

(2) Open votes shall be taken by any of the following:

1. the computerised voting system;

2. show of hands;

3. roll-call, calling the names of Members of the National Assembly with replies of ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘abstained’;

4. signatures; or

5. roll-call, using the electronic system whereby the Members’ names and votes are shown on screen through the computerized voting system.

(3) Where a vote is taken by the computerised voting system, votes shall be recorded by a special card. No one may let somebody else use one’s card or vote with somebody else’s card.

(4) Secret votes shall be taken by ballot papers.

Article 54. Any Parliamentary Group or not less than one tenth of all Members of the National Assembly may move that the vote under Article 53, paragraph 2, items 3, 4 and 5 be secret. Such motion shall be put to the vote without a debate. One Member of each Parliamentary Groups objecting to such a motion shall be recognised.

Article 55. (1) Before taking the vote the Chairperson shall invite Members to take their seats. Voting time for the purposes of Article 53, paragraph 2, item1 shall be limited to one minute, but not less than 15 seconds.

(2) From the announcement of the vote until its completion, no Member of the National Assembly may be recognised to speak.

Article 56 (1) Matters shall be put to the vote in the following order:

1. motions to reject;

2. motions to defer to a subsequent sitting;

3. motions to substitute;

4. motions to amend;

5. text under debate, including amendments already passed;

6. motions to supplement;

7. the original proposal.

(2) Any two or more motions of the same nature shall be put to the vote in the order of their submission.

Article 57. (1) A motion shall be deemed carried if more than one half of the Members of the National Assembly in attendance have voted for it, unless otherwise provided by the Constitution.

(2) If the votes are tied, the motion shall be deemed rejected.

Article 58. (1) The result of the vote shall be announced by the Chairperson immediately.

(2) Should the voting procedure or the result thereof be disputed by a Parliamentary Group immediately after the vote, the Chairperson may order the vote to be retaken. The result of such second vote shall be final.

(3) Where a vote is taken by the computerised voting system, printouts of the results may be made available to Parliamentary Group leaderships on request.

Article 59. The Chairperson may set the date and time for the vote on bills included on the agenda on first reading.

Article 60. (1) Full shorthand records shall be drawn up of the sittings of the National Assembly on the day of the sitting or on the following day at the latest. Each record shall be signed by the stenographers, by the two Clerks on duty and by the Chairperson not later than the week following its production.

(2) Attached to the shorthand record shall be the explanatory memorandum and text of bills, resolutions, and other enactments of the National Assembly, and any proposed amendments thereto, whether read out or not on the floor, and the printouts of voting results from the computerised system.

Article 61. Any Member of the National Assembly may review the shorthand record of his speeches and demand the rectification of errors therein within three days following the drawing up of the record. Any related dispute shall be settled by the Chairperson on the report of the Clerks on duty and the stenographer concerned in the presence of the Member concerned.

Article 62. (1) Any errors of fact in the enactments of the National Assembly shall be amended on the instructions of the Chairperson of the National Assembly prior to the signing of the relevant shorthand record subject to the advice of the mover and the Rapporteur of the Committee concerned.

(2) The Chairperson of the National Assembly shall announce any such amendments to the Plenary room.

Chapter Seven

INTRODUCTION, CONSIDERATION AND PASSAGE OF BILLS AND OTHER ACTS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Article 63. (1) Bills and explanatory memorandum thereto shall be addressed to the Chairperson of the National Assembly and shall be entered forthwith in a special public register “Bills”.

(2) In the explanatory memorandum the mover of the bill shall state his opinion about the expected consequences of the bill’s implementation, including financial ones.

(3) (amend. SG No. 18/2007) Explanatory memoranda for bills pertaining to the European Union membership of the Republic of Bulgaria shall specify the relevant parts of EU law requiring the respective regulation to be introduced.

Article 64. (1) The Chairperson of the National Assembly shall assign the bills among the Standing Committees within three days following their submission.

(2) The Chairperson of the National Assembly shall designate one Standing Committee to be the main Rapporteur on each bill.

(3) Each week, at the first sitting, the Chairperson shall announce the newly submitted bills, if any, and their movers and the Committees they have been assigned to.

(4) Objections to the Committee assignments may be raised with the Chairperson of the National Assembly by the bill’s mover and the Standing Committees concerned within one month of the announcement in pursuance of paragraph 3 above. The Chairperson shall rule on such objections within two days.

Article 65. (1) Standing Committees shall consider bills not earlier than 24 hours after the receipt thereof by Committee members. Standing Committees shall submit to the Chairperson of the National Assembly and to the Chairperson of the main Rapporteur Committee substantiated opinions on the bills within such time limits as required by the Assembly’s legislative programme or the current weekly or fortnightly programme of business.

(2) Reports on the bills introduced by the Council of Ministers shall be presented to the National Assembly by the main Rapporteur Committees for the purposes of the first vote not later than three months following their submission.

Article 66. (1) The bills, accompanied by the explanatory memorandum thereto and the report of the main Rapporteur Committee, shall be made available to the Members of the National Assembly not later than 24 hours before the commencement of the sitting at which the bills are to be considered. The same term shall apply to the consideration of the bill at second reading, unless the National Assembly decides otherwise.

(2) The Chairperson of the main Rapporteur Committee may request, in respect of private bills introduced by Members, the opinion of the Council of Ministers or the Minister of the respective sector. The Council of Ministers or the respective Minister shall offer opinion within two weeks of the request.

(3) The lack of opinion under the preceding paragraph may not prevent the bill’s consideration.

(4) The report of the main Rapporteur Committee for the first reading shall contain also a summary of the proposals received from interested non-governmental organisations and a summary opinion of the Committee.

Article 67. (1) Bills shall be put to the vote twice at two separate sittings.

(2) As an exception, the National Assembly may decide to take both votes at the same sitting. This provision shall be applicable only if during the bill’s consideration no amendments or supplements to the bill have been made.

(3) A bill shall be considered at first reading after the National Assembly has heard the report of the main Rapporteur Committee, the mover’s opinion within 10 minutes, and the reports, if any, of any other Standing Committees to which the bill has been assigned.

(4) For the purposes of the first vote the bill shall be debated in principle and in its entirety. The Members of the National Assembly shall debate on the bills' main provisions.

Article 68. (1) Standing Committees shall consider simultaneously all bills, concerning the substance of the same matter, introduced before the National Assembly by the date on which the main Rapporteur Committee shall initiate the debate thereon. The Assembly shall consider all such bills simultaneously and each shall be put to the vote separately.

(2) Where more than one bill concerning the substance of the same matter has passed the first vote, the main Rapporteur Committee shall, within fourteen days, consolidate such bills into a single bill to be introduced before the Chairperson of the National Assembly and the Members for proposals in writing.

Article 69. A bill which has been rejected at the first reading may be re-introduced only following substantial amendments to its main provisions, which shall be reflected in the background papers thereof and nor earlier than at the next parliamentary session.

Article 70. (1) (amend. SG No. 18/2007) Members of the National Assembly may propose amendments and addenda in writing to a bill that has past the first vote, pursuant to Article 68, paragraph 2, within seven days of passing the bill or its introduction before the Chairperson of the National Assembly, respectively. Such proposals shall be brought forward through the Chairperson of the National Assembly, before the Chairperson of the main Rapporteur Committee. As a matter of exception, the Assembly may resolve to extend the above period by not more than three weeks or to reduce it, but to no less than three days.

(2) Within fourteen days following the expiry of the period under the paragraph 1, the main Rapporteur Committee shall introduce before the Assembly a substantiated report setting out:

1. any written proposals made within the period under paragraph 1, together with the Committee’s opinion thereon.

2. the Committee’s proposals concerning the bill under consideration, where the Committee had adopted such proposals upon a motion by any of its members during a sitting of the Committee.

Article 71. (1) For the purposes of the second vote the National Assembly shall debate and vote on bills chapter-by-chapter, title-by-title or paragraph-by-paragraph. Where no written proposals or objections have been made, the texts shall not be read out in the plenary room. Texts shall in this case be appended to the shorthand record and shall form part thereof.

(2) For the purposes of the second vote only proposals brought forward by Members in writing in pursuance of Article 70 shall be considered, together with any proposals by the main Rapporteur Committee included in its report. Drafting amendments shall be allowed as well. No proposals inconsistent with the principles of the bill as first voted and passed shall be considered or put to the vote.

(3) Any Member may substantiate proposals before the House, within a time limit of five minutes for each such proposal.

(4) The vote shall be taken following the procedure laid down in Article 56.

Article 72. The mover of a bill may withdraw it before the commencement of the first vote or, subject to the decision of the National Assembly, thereafter.

Article 73. (1) The Chairperson shall announce, at the first sitting, the receipt of any presidential decree pursuant to Article 101 of the Constitution whereby an Act of the National Assembly is returned for further consideration.

(2) Within three days of the receipt of such a decree, the Chairperson of the National Assembly shall direct the original main Rapporteur Committee to report on the decree and the background thereto before the Members.

(3) Any Act returned for further consideration shall be placed on the agenda of the National Assembly within fifteen days of the receipt of the decree.

(4) The Act so returned shall pass again by the majority vote of all the Members of the National Assembly.

(5) If the Act so returned does not receive the required majority and has been contested in principle, it shall be subject to a new consideration under the procedure for considering and adopting bills.

(6) If the Act so returned does not receive the required majority and has only been contested in terms of particular provisions, the procedure laid down in Article 71 shall apply and such contested provisions shall only be put to the vote.

Article 74. In the case of any ratification bill of an international treaty, the text of such treaty may not be amended. Reservations to a multilateral treaty may only be made where admissible by the said treaty.

Article 75. (1) Draft resolutions, declarations and addresses may be introduced by any Member or any Parliamentary Group.

(2) Draft resolutions, declarations and addresses shall be assigned by the Chairperson of the National Assembly among Standing Committees within three days of entry and he/she shall notify Members thereof under the procedure in Article 64, paragraph 3.

(3) The Standing Committees shall consider the drafts under paragraph 1 not later than fifteen days following their assignment and shall submit their positions on such drafts to the Chairperson of the National Assembly.

(4) Resolutions on organisational, technical, and procedural matters may as well not be assigned to Standing Committees.

(5) Resolutions, declarations and addresses shall be passed by a single vote.

(6) Any draft resolution, declaration and address may be withdrawn by the mover thereof before it is put to the vote at a sitting of the National Assembly.

Article 76. (1) Where the Constitutional Court rules the National Assembly a party to a constitutional case brought against an Act or resolution thereof, the Chairperson of the National Assembly shall notify the main Rapporteur Committee concerned forthwith.

(2) Within 14 days of such notice the said Committee may adopt an opinion to the Constitutional Court. In this case the opinion shall mandatorily set out the grounds on which the Assembly has passed the act that has been contested before the Constitutional Court.

(3) The Chairperson of the National Assembly shall sign such opinion and shall send it to the Constitutional Court.

(4) Where the Constitutional Court proclaims a separate Act of the National Assembly or part thereof as unconstitutional, the National Assembly shall provide for any legal effects that have occurred in the meantime within two months of the entry into force of the judgement.

Chapter Eight

PARLIAMENTARY CONTROL

Article 77. (1) Members of the National Assembly may address to the Prime Minister, any of the Deputy Prime Ministers or any of the Ministers questions of topical nature and public interest and falling within their respective province of executive powers or pertaining to the operations of the administration they are heading.

(2) The Prime Minister shall be addressed with questions that concern the activities of the Government.

Article 78. (1) Such questions shall be addressed in writing through the Chairperson of the National Assembly not later than 48 hours before the commencement of the sitting at which the Ministers shall be called upon to answer. Questions need to be precisely and clearly formulated, exclude personal invectives and be signed by the interpellant Member. Answers may be spoken or written. Answers shall be provided in writing only if the Member of the National Assembly has so expressly desired. Written answers shall be provided within seven days.

(2) The Chairperson of the National Assembly shall notify immediately the Council of Ministers, the Deputy Prime Ministers or the Ministers respectively, of any such questions and of the date and time of the sitting at which an answer shall be due.

(3) The Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister or the Minister concerned, may request that the answer be postponed but by no more than seven days following the term specified in paragraph 1.

(4) Where the Member who has addressed the question is not present at the sitting due to valid reasons, the answer shall be postponed.

(5) When a written answer is received to a question, the Chairperson shall announce the fact at the next sitting of the Assembly following such receipt and shall deliver a copy of such answer to the Member concerned. Questions for written answer as well as the written answers themselves shall be attached to the shorthand record of the sitting.

(6) Members of the National Assembly may withdraw their questions in writing prior to the sitting on parliamentary control. The Chairperson of the National Assembly shall notify the Minister concerned accordingly.

Article 79. (1) No Member of the National Assembly may address more than two questions at any sitting.

(2) The presentation of any single question shall be limited to 2 minutes.

(3) The answer given by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister or the Minister concerned shall be limited to 3 minutes. The Member who has asked a question shall have the right of reply within up to 2 minutes time, and the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister or the Minister shall have the right of rejoinder, also within 2 minutes.

Article 80. (1) Members of the National Assembly shall have the right to address enquiries to the Prime Minister, any of the Deputy Prime Ministers or any of the Ministers.

(2) Such enquiries must relate to the main aspects of activity of the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers, or the administrations of which they are in charge.

(3) The Prime Minister shall be addressed with enquiries that concern the general policies of the Government.

Article 81. (1) Enquiries shall be answered within fourteen days of receipt. The answer may be spoken or written. A written answer must be provided if the Member of the National Assembly addressing the enquiry has expressly wished so.

(2) The Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister or the Minister concerned, may request an extension of the above period, but by no more than seven days following the term specified in paragraph 1.

(3) The Prime Minister, any Deputy Prime Minister or Minister who fails to answer an enquiry within the statutory period, shall be obliged within ten days to appear before the National Assembly in person for an explanation about the failure to discharge his/her obligation.

Article 82. Enquiries shall be addressed in writing, and under the hand of the Member concerned, through the Chairperson of the National Assembly. Enquiries must be formulated clearly and accurately, and must not contain any accusations and insulting qualifications.

Article 83. (1) The Chairperson shall announce submitted enquiries at each sitting dedicated to parliamentary control.

(2) The Chairperson of the National Assembly shall give due notice of such enquiries to the Prime Minister, the respective Deputy Prime Minister or Minister, and of the date and hour of the sitting at which they shall be called upon to answer.

(3) The Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister or Minister concerned shall give the answers in person.

(4) The reply to an enquiry shall be postponed if the Member of the National Assembly addressing it is absent from the sitting due to valid reasons.

Article 84. Members of the National Assembly may withdraw their enquiries in writing prior to the respective answers, whereof the Chairperson shall notify the National Assembly and the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister or Minister concerned.

Article 85. (1) When the National Assembly proceeds to considering an enquiry, the enquiring Member of the National Assembly may elaborate such enquiry from the platform within a time limit of 3 minutes. The reply to the enquiry shall be limited to 5 minutes.

(2) After the answer, the enquiring Member of the National Assembly shall have the right of seeking further clarification by not more than two supplementary questions presented within a total time limit of 2 minutes, and the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister or Minister shall answer within 3 minutes. Where the answer is provided in writing, no such further questions shall be allowed.

(3) No debate shall be held and no replies shall be allowed in the course of answering an enquiry. The enquiring Member shall have the right to express his opinion on the answer within a time limit of 2 minutes. Replies on part of the enquired Minister shall not be allowed on any grounds.

Article 86. (1) Where a written answer to an enquiry has been received, the Chairperson shall announce the fact at the following sitting of the National Assembly dedicated to parliamentary control and shall hand a copy of such answer to the enquiring Member.

(2) Enquiries requiring a written answer and the written answers thereto shall be attached to the shorthand records.

Article 87 , (1) On the motion of not less than one fifth of the Members of the National Assembly, a debate shall be opened on an enquiry and a resolution shall be voted. Such motions for debate together with a draft resolution shall be brought before the Chairperson of the National Assembly until completion of the plenary sitting.

(2) The debate shall be scheduled for the following sitting dedicated to parliamentary control. The debate shall be held in presence of the Minister concerned, following the order laid down in Chapter Six of these Rules and shall be limited to one hour. The time for debate shall be distributed among Parliamentary Groups in relation to their membership number, being 5 minutes for the smallest and up to 5 minutes total for independent Members of the National Assembly.

(3) The mover of the proposal for debate shall propose a draft resolution. Such drafts may be proposed also by any individual Member. Where more than one draft is proposed, proposals shall be put to the vote in the order of entry, and the mover’s shall be the original proposal within the meaning of Article 56, paragraph 1, item 7.

Article 88. (1) The National Assembly shall hear questions, enquiries, and answers thereto during the last three hours of each Friday sitting, except if it decides otherwise.

(2) The Prime Minister shall be the first to answer, followed by the Deputy Prime Ministers or the Ministers and while answering the Deputy Prime Ministers or Ministers shall be subject to rotation.

(3) The enquiries to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Ministers or the Ministers shall be asked in the order of their entry.

Article 89. (1) Members may not address a question or enquiry to which an answer has already been provided.

(2) Where a question and enquiry do not conform to these Rules or are not addressed to the member of the Council of Ministers under whose responsibility the subject matter of such question or enquiry belongs, the Chairperson shall notify the Member of the Assembly concerned to remove such inconsistencies within three days.

Article 90. (1) The Council of Ministers may request the National Assembly to take a vote of confidence in it on the Council’s overall policy or on a specific issue.

(2) The debate shall commence at the sitting immediately following such request.

(3) After the closing of the debate, a relevant resolution of the Assembly shall be put to the vote, at the same sitting.

(4) The resolution shall pass if more than one half of the Members of the National Assembly in attendance vote for it.

Article 91. One fifth of the Members of the National Assembly may move a vote of no confidence in the Council of Ministers or the Prime Minister by introducing a substantiated draft resolution.

Article 92. (1) The debate on a draft no-confidence resolution shall commence not earlier than three days and not later than seven days after the submission of the motion.

(2) During the debate no amendments or addenda to the draft resolution shall be allowed.

(3) The resolution may not be put to the vote before the expiry of 24 hours after the closing of the debate thereon.

(4) The resolution shall pass if more than one half of all the Members of the National Assembly vote for it.

Article 93. Once the Council of Ministers has received a vote of confidence, or a motion of no-confidence has been rejected, no new motion of no-confidence on the same grounds may be made within the following six months.

Chapter Nine

PARLIAMENTARY INVESTIGATION, INQUIRY AND HEARING

Article 94. (1) The National Assembly, or its elected Committees, may conduct investigations, inquiries and hearings on matters concerning state or public interests.

(2) Parliamentary Committees may require that Ministers appear before their meetings and answer their questions.

Article 95. All government authorities, officials of the government and municipal administration and members of the public, shall have the duty to make available the required information and documents relating to the investigations, inquiries and hearings, even where the information constitutes state, official or judicial secret.

Article 96. The form in which such information shall be made available shall be determined by the National Assembly or the Committee concerned.

Article 97. (1) Officials and members of the public, if invited, shall be bound to appear before the Committees of the National Assembly and to provide any requested information and papers.

(2) The summons for such appearance shall be served by offices of the National Assembly.

Chapter Ten (New, SG No. 18/2007)

PARLIAMENTARY MONITORING AND CONTROL ON EUROPEAN AFFAIRS

Article 97a. (1) The Council of Ministers shall introduce before the National Assembly the adopted Annual Program for the Participation of Republic of Bulgaria in the Decision-Making Process in the EU within one week from its approval by the Council.

(2) The President of the National Assembly shall send the Annual Program referred to in Paragraph (1) to the European Affairs Committee and to the other standing committees.

(3) The European Affairs Committee, having regard to the proposals of the other standing committees, shall propose a draft Annual Work Program of the National Assembly on European Affairs. The Annual Work Program shall contain a list of the draft acts of the European institutions, monitoring and control whereof is provided by the National Assembly. The draft Annual Work Program shall be discussed and approved by the National Assembly.

(4) The President of the National Assembly shall send to the Council of Ministers the Annual Work Program approved pursuant to the preceding paragraph.

(5) In the event of any new developments, the European Affairs Committee may propose, on its own initiative or on a move by other standing committees, supplements to the Annual Work Program of the National Assembly on European Affairs which shall be approved as provided for in Paragraph (3) above.

Article 97b. (1) The Council of Ministers shall introduce the draft acts of European institutions included in the Annual Work Program under Article 97a (3) before the National Assembly within three weeks from their receipt.

(2) The draft acts referred to in Paragraph (1) shall be accompanied by an opinion containing a summary of the act, initial position proceeding from evaluation of national interests and the effect of the act on such interests, information about the procedure of approval and the dates for discussion of the draft in the European institutions, and other information.

(3) In the event of developments that call for changes in the initial Bulgarian position, the Council of Ministers shall inform the National Assembly in due time of such developments and of the changes in the position.

Article 97c. The President of the National Assembly shall, within the time limit specified in Article 64 (1), distribute among the European Affairs Committee and the other standing committees the draft acts of European institutions, accompanied by an opinion. Where such acts concern foreign policy and defense issues, the President of the National Assembly shall assign these without fail to the Foreign Policy Committee, the Defense Committee accordingly.

Article 97d. The European Affairs Committee shall discuss the draft acts of European institutions and the opinions thereto upon receipt of the reports prepared by the other standing committees.

Article 97e. The European Affairs Committee shall prepare a report and shall deliver it to the President of the National Assembly who shall send the report to the Council of Ministers.

Article 97f. (1) Where a draft act of European institutions concerns foreign policy issues, the European Affairs Committee shall hold a joint meeting with the Foreign Policy Committee and where such act concerns defense issues, the European Affairs Committee shall hold a joint meeting with the Defense Committee.

(2) Where joint meetings are held, the two committees shall prepare a joint report.

Article 97g. In fulfillment of Article 105 (4) of the Constitution, the Council of Ministers shall introduce before the National Assembly a report on its activity concerning the approval of acts by the European Union. The report shall also state issues on which there has been divergence from the adopted Bulgarian position upon final approval of an act by the European institutions.

Article 97h. (1) The European Affairs Committee shall hear the candidates for positions in the European institutions proposed by the Council of Ministers.

(2) The candidates referred to in Paragraph (1) shall be obliged to appear before the European Affairs Committee and to answer the questions asked by the Committee members.

Article 97j. (1) The Council of Ministers shall present to the National Assembly on routine basis information about draft acts of the European Union concerning the commitments of Republic of Bulgaria arising from its EU membership and about draft acts where the Council is involved in their elaboration.

(2) The National Assembly and the Council of Ministers shall exchange on a two-weeks basis information about the acts referred to in Paragraph (1), with the Council of Ministers presenting on a routine basis the opinions developed on such acts.

Article 97k. The National Assembly shall organize and support a database of European draft acts and other documents and of Bulgarian opinions thereon, sent to the National Assembly in accordance with Article 97b (2).

Article 97l. (1) In the beginning of every six-month period of EU Presidency the National Assembly shall hear a report by the Prime Minister on the participation of Republic of Bulgaria in the European Union during the mandate of the previous Presidency and the tasks of Republic of Bulgaria during the mandate of the current Presidency.

(2) The National Assembly may conduct hearing of the Prime Minister on the position of Republic of Bulgaria in pending meetings of the European Council.

(3) Members of the European Parliament from the Republic of Bulgaria may take part in the meetings of the National Assembly referred to in paragraphs (1) and (2) in a non-voting capacity.

Chapter Eleven (prev. Chapter Ten, SG No. 18/2007)

MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Article 98. Every Member of the National Assembly may be elected to the bodies of the National Assembly. He shall have the duty to participate in such bodies’ work.

Article 99. (1) Members of the National Assembly shall retain their positions in the government and municipal bodies and organisations obtaining an unpaid leave of absence until the termination of the their powers. This shall also apply to persons who have a contract to manage commercial companies with a more than 50 per cent government or municipal stake, but for not longer than the term of the contract

(2) Where the reinstatement is subject to an act of a government authority, the authority concerned shall issue such act.

Article 100. The time during which Members of the National Assembly perform their duties shall be recognised as length of service in the position occupied before their election to the National Assembly.

Article 101. (1) Members of the National Assembly may not receive any other remuneration in respect of employment.

(2) Members of the National Assembly may receive fees or remuneration as independent contractors.

Article 102. (1) Members of the National Assembly may not occupy any other position in a government authority or carry out any activities, which is incompatible with the status of a Member of the National Assembly under the law.

(2) Members of the National Assembly may not participate in the management of supervisory bodies of commercial companies or co-operatives.

(3) Members of the National Assembly may continue their participation in collective management bodies and academic bodies of the higher education establishments and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences with the exception of individual managerial positions.

(4) Members of the National Assembly shall not have the right to consent to or make use of their official status for commercial advertising.

Article 103. When submitting a bill or speaking in Plenary or in Committee Members with a direct financial interest in the issue under consideration shall be obliged to reveal this interest.

Article 104. Members of the National Assembly shall have the right to a paid annual leave coinciding with the recesses of the National Assembly.

Article 105. (1) Members of the National Assembly shall have the duty to attend the sittings of the National Assembly and those of the Committees to which they are elected.

(2) Any Member of the National Assembly, who has a reason to withdraw from a sitting before the completion of business, or to come late to a sitting, shall notify the Clerks on duty or the leadership of the Committee, as the case may be.

Article 106. Members of the National Assembly shall have all the social rights provided under the Labour Code.

Article 107. (1) Members of the National Assembly may not be taken into custody and shall not be liable to criminal prosecution, save for a committed grave crime and, then, by consent of the National Assembly or, when the Assembly is not in session (Article 33, paragraph 2), of the Chairperson of the National Assembly.

(2) No consent to custody shall be required when the Member concerned is caught in the act of committing a grave crime, in which case the National Assembly, or, when the Assembly is not in session (Article 33, paragraph 2), its Chairperson, shall be notified immediately.

(3) Where there is sufficient data to the effect that a Member of the National Assembly has committed a grave crime, the Chief Prosecutor shall direct a substantiated request to the National Assembly or, when the Assembly is not in session, to its Chairperson, for permission to institute criminal proceedings. Enclosed with such request shall be sufficient data.

(4) The request of the Chief Prosecutor and the data therewith shall be considered by the National Assembly, which shall rule thereon. If so requested, and if the Member concerned appears before it, the National Assembly shall hear the Member concerned.

(5) When the National Assembly is not in session (Article 33, paragraph 2), the permission to institute criminal proceedings against a Member shall be issued by the Chairperson of the National Assembly. Such permission so issued shall be tabled for approval by the Members of the National Assembly at the first sitting of the Assembly.

(6) Where the criminal proceedings conclude with a prison sentence for a premeditated crime or the execution of the prison sentence for any other crime is not suspended, the National Assembly shall adopt a resolution to terminate the powers of the Member concerned before the end of his term.

(7) Where the Chief Prosecutor has requested that the Member concerned be taken into custody, the National Assembly shall pass a separate resolution on such request following the procedure laid down herein. The Assembly may rescind a permission already given.

(8) The provisions of Article 70 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria hall apply, also, where criminal proceedings against a Member of the National Assembly had been instituted prior to his election.

Article 108. Members of the National Assembly shall be exempt from mobilisation and reserve service.

Article 109. (1) Any Member of the National Assembly elected as a Member of the Council of Ministers shall be substituted, for the duration of his office, by the next candidate on the party ballot list.

(2) When such Member of the National Assembly is relieved of his ministerial post, his/her powers as National Assembly Member shall be reinstated, whereas those of his/her substitute shall be terminated. When more than one substitution has been made in one election list, the powers of the last on the list, who has assumed them as a substitute, shall be terminated when the powers of a Member of Parliament are being restored.

Chapter Twelve (prev. Chapter Eleven, SG No. 18/2007)

PARLIAMENTARY CONDUCT

Article 110. Members of the National Assembly shall not have the right to interrupt the speaker, address personal attacks, use offensive language, gestures or threats against any person, divulge information concerning the private life or compromising the good standing of any citizen, behave in any unbecoming manner or such as causes disorder at sittings.

Article 111. The following disciplinary measures may be applied against Members of the National Assembly:

1. Call to order.

2. Reprimand.

3. Censure.

4. Rule out of order.

5. Suspension from one sitting.

6. Suspension for up to three sittings.

Article 112. The Chairperson shall call to order any speaker who does not keep to the matter at hand or disturbs the order of the sitting in any other way.

Article 113. (1) The Chairperson shall reprimand any Member of the National Assembly whom he has already called to order at the same sitting but who persists in his disorderly conduct.

(2) The Chairperson shall likewise reprimand any Member of the National Assembly who, in addressing another Member or other Members, uses offensive language, gestures or threats.

Article 114. The Chairperson shall censure any Member of the National Assembly who, having been called to order or reprimanded, persists in disturbing the order of the sitting or causes disorder in the Plenary room.

Article 115. The Chairperson shall rule any Member of the National Assembly out of order:

1. whom the Chairperson has already disciplined twice during his speech in pursuance of Article 111, items 1-3; or

2. who continues his speech beyond the time limit notwithstanding the Chairperson's invitation to conclude his speech.

Article 116. The Chairperson may suspend from the sitting in progress any Member of the National Assembly who:

1. disputes a disciplinary measure in a rude and unbecoming manner;

2. continuously or repeatedly disrupts the normal progress of business in the Plenary room;

3. votes with another Member’s card.

Article 117. (1) The Chairperson may suspend for more than one sitting, but for not more than three sittings, any Member of the National Assembly who:

1. insults the National Assembly or the Head of State;

2. calls to violence in the Plenary room or on the premises of the National Assembly;

3. repeatedly votes with another Member’s card.

(2) Any Member of the National Assembly suspended in pursuance of paragraph 1 and Article 116 shall not be remunerated for the sittings from which he is suspended.

(3) Any Member shall have the right to contest the imposed disciplinary measure before the Chairperson of the National Assembly who may confirm, repeal or amend it.

ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS

§ 1. (1) These Rules of Organisation and Procedure of the National Assembly may be amended on the motion of the Chairperson of the National Assembly or the motion of any individual Member of the National Assembly.

(2) Such motion shall be examined by the Legal Affairs Committee within 14 days.

(3) The opinion of the Committee shall be sent to the Chairperson of the National Assembly who shall circulate it in writing among all Members of the National Assembly.

§ 2. The National Assembly shall settle by resolution any matter not provided for in these Rules.

§ 3. For the purposes of these Rules, Chairperson shall mean the occupant of the Chair at any sitting of the National Assembly.

§ 4. For the purposes of a secret ballot, ‘in attendance’ shall mean all the Members of the National Assembly who have cast ballots. For the purpose of an open vote, in attendance shall mean the Members of the National Assembly present in the plenary room at the time of the vote.

§ 5. Where the term of the National Assembly has ended or the National Assembly has been dissolved earlier, the powers of the Chairperson under Article 8, paragraph 1, item 6, shall be exercised by the Chief Clerk of the National Assembly.

TRANSITIONAL PROVISION

(SG No. 101/2006)

§ 5a. (New, SG No. 101/2006) (1) The National Assembly shall elect from among its Members 18 Members of the European Parliament from the Republic of Bulgaria, while applying the principle of proportional representation of the Parliamentary Groups.

(2) The Members of the European Parliament under para 1 shall be nominated by the Parliamentary Groups and elected by an open vote and as a whole.

(3) The Members of the European Parliament under para 1 shall be elected for a period starting on 1 January 2007 and ending with the first direct suffrage for Members of the European Parliament. Throughout this period they shall also exercise their powers as Members of the National Assembly.

(4) The Members of the European Parliament under para 1 shall continue to receive only their monthly remuneration as Members of the National Assembly, determined under Articles 3, 4 and 5 of the Financial Regulations for the National Assembly Budget – Annex to the Rules of Organisation and Procedure of the National Assembly.”

CONCLUDING PROVISIONS

§ 6. These Rules are enacted in pursuance of Article 73 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria.

§ 7. These Rules shall enter into force on the date of promulgation in the State Gazette.

CONCLUDING PROVISION to Resolution on Amending the Rules of Organization and Procedure of the National Assembly

(SG No. 18/2007)

§ 12. This Resolution shall enter into force on the date of promulgation in the State Gazette, except for § 1, § 3, § 8 concerning Article 97l, and § 11, which shall take effect as from the first meeting of the European Parliament following the elections for Members of the European Parliament from the Republic of Bulgaria.

Appendix to the Rules

FINANCIAL REGULATIONS FOR THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BUDGET

Article 1. The Budget of the National Assembly shall include all administrative and business expenses, Committee expenses, member expenses, inter-parliamentary and parliamentary group expenses.

Article 2. (1) The Budget of the National Assembly shall be proposed by the Chairperson and shall be passed together with the State Budget Act for the respective year.

(2) The Budget Implementation Report shall be passed by the National Assembly as tabled by the Chairperson not later than six months after the year end.

Article 3. Members of the National Assembly shall receive base monthly remuneration equivalent to three average monthly salaries in the economy according to data supplied by the National Statistics Institute. Such base monthly remuneration shall be adjusted quarterly on the basis of the average monthly salary for the last month of the preceding quarter.

Article 4. The Chairperson of the National Assembly shall receive remuneration greater by 50 per cent than the base monthly remuneration under Article 3 above; Deputy Chairpersons of the National Assembly shall receive remuneration greater by 40 per cent than the same; Standing Committee Chairpersons and Parliamentary Groups Chairpersons under Article 9 shall receive remuneration greater by 30 per cent than the same; Deputy Chairpersons of Committees shall receive remuneration greater by 20 per cent than the same; Parliamentary Clerks shall receive remuneration greater by 10 per cent than the same, and so shall any Member of the National Assembly participating in the work of a Standing Committee.

Article 5. (1) Base monthly remuneration under Articles 3 and 4 shall be adjusted upward by monthly allowances for length of service (class) and for academic degree ‘Doctor’ - 10 per cent, and ‘Doctor of Sciences’ - 15 per cent of the minimum monthly salary in the economy, in pursuance of Article 5 of the Regulation on allowances and other employment remunerations.

(2) The remunerations as calculated shall be adjusted downwards by deductions set pursuant to Article 38 of the Natural Persons Income Tax, as well as insurance contributions under the Social Security Code, the Health Insurance Act, and other deductions such as may be stipulated by law which are at the expense of the insured persons.

Article 6. Members of the National Assembly shall be covered by full insurance with premium rates for third category of labour, and also for the risks covered by life insurance.

Article 7. All additional expenses incurred by any Member of the National Assembly for help or nursing due to disability shall be covered from the Budget of the National Assembly.

Article 8. No Member of the National Assembly may, in such capacity, receive any gifts equivalent to more than one fifth of his base monthly remuneration for the current month. Any gifts exceeding such value shall be transferred to the National Assembly.

Article 9. (1) Members of the National Assembly shall have the right to free travel by state-owned or municipal city transport, the railways, inter-city road transport and sea transport, at first class and sleeping compartment rates, within Bulgaria.

(2) Members of the National Assembly may claim expenses for travel, in connection with their proper work, by private bus services.

(3) Members of the National Assembly whose constituencies fall within an airline service area and are situated at distances exceeding 250 km from Sofia may claim expenses for travel, in connection with their proper work, by air, but limited to 40 return air tickets annually, and all other Members, to 12 return air tickets annually.

(4) Members of the National Assembly who do not own a family home in the Greater Sofia Municipality shall be provided, free of charge, with housing in Sofia from the National Assembly housing fund for term of office holders, any expenses for housing repairs, standard furniture, security through signalling security equipment or otherwise, taxes and fees under the Local Taxes and Charges Act shall be at the expense of the National Assembly budget.

(5) Members of the National Assembly shall have the right to accommodation and per diem allowances when visiting their constituencies. The accommodation and travel allowances when the Member concerned uses his own car shall be fixed by the Chairperson of the National Assembly. This matter shall be regulated with an internal act issued by the Chairperson of the National Assembly.

(6) Members of the National Assembly shall have the right to individual office space in Sofia, provided by the National Assembly and equipped with the necessary technical and communication facilities and shall have the right to a personal Web page in Internet of up to 15 MB supported by the server of the National Assembly.

(7) (New, SG No. 18/2007) The National Assembly shall provide Members of the European Parliament from the Republic of Bulgaria with office space in Sofia equipped with the necessary technical and communication facilities, the maintenance costs of such office space and equipment being for account of the respective Member of the European Parlia ment.

Article 10. The National Assembly shall cover any additional expenses incurred by Members and Parliamentary Groups in connection with their proper work and limited to two thirds of the base monthly remuneration under Article 3. The gross amount shall be disbursed to Parliamentary Groups, which shall determine the manner of its allocation. Such sums shall be outlaid for expenses for assistance, consultations, expert opinions, offices and such others as are connected with the Members’ work in the Assembly and in their respective constituencies.

Article 11. The Budget of the National Assembly shall include entertainment expenses of the Chairperson and Deputy Chairpersons of the National Assembly, the Chairpersons of Parliamentary Groups and Standing Committees, and welcoming expenses for invitees of the Assembly.

Article 12. (1) If any Member of the National Assembly fails, for no valid reason, to attend a plenary sitting two thirds of his daily remuneration shall be withheld.

(2) In case of unjustified absence from a Committee sitting, an amount equal to the surplus payment for participation in the respective Committee sitting shall be withheld from the Member of the National Assembly.

(3) Where a sitting is adjourned due to lack of quorum two thirds of the daily remuneration of the Members absent without a valid reason shall be withheld.

(4) The data on the deductions under paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be based on the registration and voting printouts, reports from the Standing Committees’ Chairpersons and the shorthand records.

Article 13. Any amount withheld in pursuance of Article 12 shall be credited as expenses saved to the Budget of the National Assembly.

Article 14. Remunerations under Articles 3 and 5 shall accrue from Election day, and for Members of the National Assembly subsequently assuming office – from the date on which the Member of the National Assembly has been declared elected by the Central Elections Committee. Remunerations under Article 4 shall accrue from the date of election of the Members of the National Assembly to the respective posts as Committee members.

Article 15. This Annex, concerning the Financial Regulations to the National Assembly Budget shall be updated on an annual basis, as appropriate.