Uzbekistan’s Senate Convenes for General Session
The fourteenth general session of the Senate of Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan opened in the city of Tashkent on April 10, 2014. It was attended by the invited members of the Cabinet of Ministers, heads of ministries and other government agencies, representatives of other institutions and mass media. The session was chaired by Chairman of the Senate I.Sobirov.
The senators started with the consideration of the draft law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the Introduction of Amendments and Addenda to Certain Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Articles 32, 78, 93, 98, 103 and 117)” that was introduced for deliberation of the parliament by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan as a legislative initiative. The bill was elaborated and approved in accordance with provisions and ideas outlined in the speech of the head of our state at the ceremonial meeting occasioned to the 21st anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan that defined the priority tasks directed at the considerable enhancement of the democratic reforms being spearheaded in the country.
The current amendments and addenda to the Constitution of Uzbekistan are being introduced in order to intensify the democratization process of the system of government and management, to secure a gradual implementation of the principle “From a Strong State to a Robust Civil Society”, bolster the role of both houses of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the system of government and their rights and powers in the realization of strategic tasks in the internal and foreign policy, boost the functions of the supreme legislature and representative bodies of government in overseeing the activities of the Cabinet of Ministers and executive bodies, and raise the liability of the government and local executive bodies for the execution of objectives in the socio-economic development of the nation.
Members of the senate stressed in particular that the law is to become an important factor in the realization of the constitutional principle of the separation of powers into legislative, executive and judicial branches and in the further promotion of the system of checks and balances among them.
The law is of immense significance for the further implementation of the underlying principle in the evolution of our country, “From a Strong State to a Robust Civil Society”, for the formation of a polity that secures a reliable protection of human rights and freedoms and other universal values and norms of democracy, stipulated in the national Constitution.
The institution of parliamentary scrutiny is being introduced into the Basic Law.
Remarkably important in the further development of parliamentarianism, multiparty system and interparty competition, inter-faction struggle, of this critical component of a democratic society is the introduction of a norm to the Constitution envisaging that the nominee for the post of the Prime Minister, during deliberations and approval of his nomination in the parliament, presents an action plan of the government for the near and long-term future.
The bill also envisions the government obligation to present the parliament with annual reports across the most important issues in the socio-economic life of the country.
Members of the upper house underlined the importance of fixing the norms in Article 98 of the Constitution envisaging the clarification and enhancement of the powers and rights of the Cabinet of Ministers.
Notably, the Cabinet is assigned with a responsibility for the conduct of effective economic, social, financial, monetary and credit policies, for the elaboration and implementation of programs for the development of science, culture, education, healthcare and other sectors of economy and social sphere. The Cabinet of Ministers coordinates and directs the work of government and management bodies, ensures oversight of their activities in the order stipulated by the law. The senators noted that these provisions dedicated to securing the independence and responsibility of the Cabinet of Ministers are conditioned by the very logic of Uzbekistan’s political and constitutional evolution.
The role and significance of civic institutions in addressing the most critical challenges in the socio-economic and humanitarian areas are being bolstered to a considerable extent by the amendments to Article 32 of the Constitution. The norm of this Article envisages that the citizens of the Republic of Uzbekistan have a right to take part in the affairs of society and state by the means of self-government, referenda and the democratic formation of state bodies, is being added by a norm whereby this right is also realized by promoting and perfecting the public scrutiny over the activities of government bodies.
In order to boost the independence and at the same time the liability of local executive bodies before the representative bodies, Article 103 of the Constitution is being added by a norm that establishes the obligation for the hokims (governors) of the province, district and township mayors to present the relevant Kengash (Council) of People’s Deputies with reports on crucial and pressing issues in the socio-economic development of the region, district or city, and whereby the Kengash of People’s Deputies adopts corresponding decisions.
Senators stressed the special importance of amendments to Article 117 of the Basic Law directed at perfecting the constitutional foundations in the arrangement of activities, functioning and status of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan as an independent constitutional body formed by the parliament. The Constitution fixes the major principles of the activities of the Central Election Commission like independence, legitimacy, collective nature, openness and justice. All this is a significant step toward further democratization of the electoral system.
The members of the Senate who spoke at the session underscored that the provisions of the bill initiated by the head of our state are receiving a high appreciation from foreign political figures and specialists, who note that these novelties meet the most democratic requirements and universal international standards. The bill got approved by the senators.
The upper house members also deliberated on activities of the Senate of Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2013 and adopted a corresponding resolution.
Afterwards, the senators discussed and approved the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the Introduction of Amendments and Addenda to Certain Legislative Acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan Following the Adoption of the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the Introduction of Amendments and Addenda to Certain Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Articles 32, 78, 93, 98, 103 and 117)””, in accordance with which the norms of the acting legislation are adjusted to the amendments being introduced to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
During the deliberations of these bills, the lawmakers noted that their approval and the consistent realization of democratic reforms in Uzbekistan constitute a decisive factor in securing stability and sustainable development of the nation. Along with this, the implementation of initiatives of the head of our state aimed at the intensification of democratization in the country and the formation of civil society has an important international significance.
In the context of international developments, the senators stressed that Uzbekistan, like the world community in general, cannot be indifferent to the developments in the Ukraine and around it. Expressing support for the posture outlined in the relevant statements of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made on 4 and 24 March, the senators stressed that the events underway in the Ukraine that led to the grave complications of situation and to the confrontation that can lead to an even greater escalation of tensions and consequences hard to predict, pose a real threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, cannot but arouse deep alarm and concern in Uzbekistan.
Members of the upper house conveyed an opinion whereby the resolution of the situation can be seen, first and foremost, in the rejection of application of force and instead in the use of political means and efforts to address the arising issues with peaceful resources, by way of negotiations, building thus on the fundamental norms of international law and the UN Charter.
The legislators considered the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the Openness of the Activities of Bodies of Government and Management” elaborated in the name of the execution of the Concept of Intensification of Democratic Reforms and Formation of Civil Society in the Country.
It was noted that the bill is dedicated to the further perfection of mechanisms in the realization of constitutional rights of citizens for information concerning the activities of government agencies, to securing the transparency and openness of their activities, as well as to the elevation of liability of government and management bodies and their public officers for the quality of decisions taken. The bill got approved by the senators.
Further on, the members of the Senate deliberated on the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On Stock Companies and the Protection of Rights of Shareholders” in a new edition that was elaborated in accordance with the Concept of Intensification of Democratic Reforms and Formation of Civil Society in the Country and the 18 July 2012 Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On Measures to Cardinally Improve the Business Environment and Provide for Greater Freedom for Entrepreneurship”.
As it was suggested, the bill is intended for a more clear-cut definition of powers, rights and liability of corporate management bodies and oversight agencies, to boost the role and significance of supervisory boards, general sessions and auditing committees of stock companies with an eye to the practice of application and new realities in the evolution of market relations, to uplift the transparency and accessibility of information regarding the activities of stock companies for all shareholders and potential investors.
According to senators, the law is to facilitate the further democratization of market reforms and liberalization of the activities of stock companies, perfection of the system of corporate management, elevation of the significance and participation of the class of owners in the economy, intensification of competition in the financial markets, and improvement of the investment and business environment in our country. The senators passed the bill.
The lawmakers also considered the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On Delinquency Prevention”. It was pointed out during the general session that the bill is directed at refining the normative mechanisms in the prevention of delinquency, raising the effectiveness in the interaction of bodies of delinquency prevention, including law enforcement agencies, ensuring the coordination in their activities, the systemic nature and orderliness of the measures being taken, as well as the unification of numerous law norms regulating the issues related to the prevention of delinquency.
According to representatives of the upper house of the parliament, adoption of this law is to allow for securing the formation of a holistic normative and legal base in delinquency prevention, to facilitate the further consolidation of law and order, the creation of an effective and multilayered system of prevention that ensures the maintenance of law and order, protection of human rights and legitimate interests.
Then, the senators discussed the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the approval ofRegulations on Qualification Panels of Judges in a new edition that was elaborated as part of the realization of provisions of the 30 November 2012 presidential decree “On Organizational Measures to Further Improve the Activities of Courts” and the 29 December 2012 Resolution of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On Improving the Activities of the Supreme Qualification Commission under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the Selection and Recommendation for the Positions of Judges”.
It was noted during the session that the norms of the Regulations are intended for the further perfection of the system of organizational-legal mechanisms in selection and training nominees for the positions of judges, organization of the activities of qualification boards of judges of all levels, and to cementing the genuine independence of the judiciary.
The senators also considered the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the Introduction of Amendments and Addenda, and the Staleness of Certain Legislative Acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan”, which is dedicated primarily to further improve the acting legislation in the socio-economic, socio-political and judicial spheres.
The bill introduces amendments and addenda to a range of laws: “On the Notaries”, “On Communications”, “On the Execution of Judicial Acts and Acts of Other Bodies”, “On State Oversight of the Activities of Corporate Entities”, “On the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan”, “On the Order of Elaboration of Draft Laws and Their Introduction to the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan”, “On the Securities Market”, the Criminal and Civil Codes, as well as a number of other acts of legislation.
Further on, the members of the upper house deliberated on the issue of the introduction of amendments to the composition of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan and a respective resolution was adopted.
The senators also heard and approved the report on the activities of the Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights (Ombudsman) in the year 2013. It was noted that the activities of the Ombudsman last year was directed at the implementation of measures to enhance the parliamentary scrutiny in the compliance of government and management bodies and their public officers with human rights and freedoms and to assist the perfection of legislation on this front.
A range of events have been marshaled to boost the law culture and interaction of civil society institutions with bodies of government and management, law enforcement and judicial agencies, and to improve the mechanism of public control over their activities.
A special significance was attached to the Ombudsman’s consideration of complaints and appeals of citizens concerning infringement on their rights and freedoms and to the adoption of legitimate measures directed at restoring them. The practice of reception of appeals through electronic mail has been expanding in scale lately. Along with this, popular among the residents is another form of appeals, namely, the personal reception of the Ombudsman and staff of his/her Secretariat.
During the deliberations, the senators expressed a range of wishes and recommendations to further improve the activities of the Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights (Ombudsman).
This ended the first day of the fourteenth general session of the Senate of Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Press Service of the Senate
Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan