Constitutional legal basis of establishment and operation of the Senate
of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Constitutional legal provision of the activity of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis is based on the Principal Law
of the country which is the Constitution of the of the Republic of Uzbekistan, adopted on 8thDecember,
Taking into account the results of a national referendum and in connection with the institutional reforms of transition from the unicameral parliament to a bicameral system, proper constitutional amendments were made on 24th April, 2003, namely to its section pertaining to the lawmaking process. Chapter XVIII of the Principal Law highlights the fundamental constitutional principles and provisions related to the activity of the bicameral Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
This chapter lays down the legal foundations for the formation and operation of the Legislative Chamber as well as the Senate, its powers shared with the lower chamber, sole powers, forms of doing business by the Senate, participation in the lawmaking process and the status of senators.
In general, the Constitution regulated all of those key issues related to internal organization and operation
of the Senate which were later specified in detail in the Constitutional Law «On the Senate of the Republic of
Uzbekistan», the Law «On Rules of the Senate of the Republic of Uzbekistan» and the Rules of the Senate
itself, approved by Resolution ¹29-I of the Senate on May 6, 2005. All above listed laws became a base for
adoption of further legal acts having a lower place in «the scale of rank» and possessing less legal effect, in
particular resolutions of the chamber as well as regulations and other subordinate pieces of legislation.
A base law defining the status and grounds for operation of the Senate is the Constitutional Law «On the results of Referendum and fundamental principles of organization of the state power» (came into effect on April 4, 2002) adopted as a result of the referendum conducted on January 27, 2002 seeking establishment of a bicameral parliament and making amendments to the constitutional term of power of head of the state.
The Constitution and the constitutional law «On the Senate of the Republic of Uzbekistan» declare the upper chamber of parliament a chamber of territorial representation. The Senate is formed by means of electing 84 senators from among deputies by secret voting in joint sessions of deputies of the Djokarghi Kenes of the Republic of Karakalpakstan and bodies of the representative branch at regional, district and city level.
Sixteen members of the Senate are appointed by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan from among the most prominent citizens of the country with considerable experience and special merits in science, literature, and production and other spheres of state and social life. Elections are regulated by the law «On elections to the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan».
Direct participation of the Senate in the lawmaking process represents one of the most important aspects of its activities. The Role of the Senate is significant and it lies in consideration of laws submitted by the Legislative Chamber and its approval or rejection of laws as a whole.
The Law «On Rules of the Senate of the Republic of Uzbekistan» and the Rules of the Senate itself describe procedures of consideration and approval of laws. The Rules of the Senate adopted on May 6, 2005 is the legal regulation which determines the order of convening sessions of the upper chamber, the order of doing business by its committees and commissions, and of course, the procedures for the Senate and its bodies to participate in the lawmaking process as well as a routine of the upper chamber related to its daily business. It consists of 6 parts, 9 chapters and 59 articles, which regulate the operation of the Senate.
The legislative process in the Senate may be conditionally subdivided into three phases: a preliminary consideration of laws passed by the lower chamber by a Senate committee (1), hearing the issue(s) in the meeting of Kengash of the upper chamber and deciding whether to submit it (them) to the floor (plenary session) or not (2), when laws are on the agenda of the floor of the Senate, the latter considers the laws and adopts an appropriate resolution (3).
Due to the fact that all of the above-mentioned legal acts do not regulate the rules and procedures of consideration of laws in Senate committees in full measure, the Kengash of the upper chamber with its Resolution dated June 29, 2006 approved Provisions on the order of preliminary consideration of laws, passed by the Lower Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
The given legal act regulates key aspects such as the order of
preliminary consideration of laws, passed by the Lower Chamber, by
the Senate committees, establishing working groups within
committees to study responses from civil organizations and
governmental agencies, interaction between committees and the
Secretariat of the Senate, the role of the Secretariat with regard to
assisting committees on convening their meetings, preliminary
consideration of laws to be submitted to Senate plenary sessions
and, finally, formalizing Senate resolutions and other acts related to
final clearing and submitting of laws to the President of the Republic
of Uzbekistan for signature. Basically, the way Senate committees
go about their business is similar to the way the lower chamber
committees work when considering laws.
As mentioned earlier, the upper chamber senators consider laws and then decide whether to approve or reject them. In case of rejection the Senate may send a proposal to the lower chamber to establish a conciliation commission to resolve differences between two chambers on the wording of legislation and work out a wording acceptable to both chambers. The work of the conciliation commission is considered a separate stage in the lawmaking process because it is a conditional option i.e. in case a law is rejected and needs to be revised by both chambers so a consensus can be reached. In an effort to make the procedure of conciliation more efficient both chambers adopted Rules of organization of conciliation commissions, which sets procedures to appoint commission members from both chambers, establishes the order of conduct of its meetings and submission of commission reports on specific pieces of legislation and other.
The second important activity of the Senate is the way it oversees the implementation of the laws of
Uzbekistan. The experience in the early years showed a need for senators to be more efficient in this department.
To this end, the Programmme of Actions on implementation of principal provisions of speeches of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan (delivered on February 10, 2006 at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers devoted to consideration of results of socioeconomic development in 2005, and the one delivered at the fifth plenary session of the Senate Oliy Majlis on February 24, 2006) adopted by Kengash of the Senate, established a number of Rules to resolve specific issues within the framework of senatorial powers of control and lays down principle approaches and directions for this important activity.
Later the Senate also adopted «Regulations for procedures for overseeing the implementation of laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Resolutions of the Senate (Kengash of the Senate) and of the Senate committees by state governing bodies», «The Order to Send by the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan and by the Senate member a Parliamentary Inquiry» (Resolution of Kengash of the Senate dated of June 29, 2006), which have substantially broadened the existing legal basis and settled such aspects as planning committees
activities related to parliamentary control: investigating law implementation in the regions of the country; order to send a parliamentary inquiry by the chamber and individual senators, hearing of testimonies by officials representing bodies of state power and demanding necessary documents and materials from governmental agencies.
Due to the particular way the Senate Oliy Majlis is formed(a considerable number of structures of the chamber consists of deputies of regional, district and city kengashes of people’s deputies representing territories, which they are elected from) legal regulation of all aspects of interaction of the upper chamber and local Kengashes was recognized as an issue of utmost importance. Since this matter was not detailed in principal laws regulating activity of the Senate that were adopted earlier, the latter faced the task of adopting a number of legal acts within the above mentioned Plan of Action, which altogether would deal with a variety of issues.
As a result, the Senate approved «Model Rules of local Kengashes of people’s deputies» and «Model Rules of standing commissions of local Kengashes of people’s deputies» which, to a certain extent, facilitated interaction between senators and deputies of local Kengashes and directed their focus at resolving issues together.
To support the activity and functions of members of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis the Law «On the status of the deputy of the Legislative Chamber and members of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan» and the Law «On Recall of deputy of Kengashes of people’s deputies, deputy of the Legislative Chamber and member of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan» were adopted on December 2, 2004. These legal acts define basic rights and powers of senators, which were necessary for them to perform their duties in full measure.
Undoubtedly, resolving issues and objectives in an effective and timely manner by senators, committees and other institutional bodies of the chamber when it comes to overseeing and considering laws depends on informational, organizational, consultative and technical assistance by the Secretariat. The Senate’s Kengash adopted a Resolution which approved «The Statute of the Secretariat of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan». This piece of legislation regulates the routinely nature of its activity, reflects the principle of doing business, structure, functions, tasks, powers and the status of subdivisions of the Secretariat and other aspects.