Definition of National Assembly :: Assembly

Definition of National Assembly

Prescriptive title to end for

There are two ministers of government who have taken and subscribed to the oath of office as members of the National Assembly and are sitting members thereof, but who are not lawfully and constitutionally qualified to be members of that august body. Their presence in the National Assembly is, therefore, unlawful and unconstitutional.

It is the constitution and to a lesser extent, the Representation of the People’s Act, Chapter 1:03 that determine who is qualified to be a member of the National Assembly. By virtue of Article 8, the constitution is the supreme law of Guyana, and any other law which is inconsistent with it, is void to the extent of that inconsistency. So if there is a conflict between the constitution and the Representation of the People’s Act, the constitution shall prevail.

Members of the National Assembly fall into two categories: those who are elected members of the National Assembly and those who are non-elected members of the National Assembly. Elected members of the National Assembly have a right to vote therein. Non-elected members do not.

An elected member of the National Assembly is defined by Article 232 of the constitution as “any person elected as a member of the National Assembly pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (2) of Article 60 or Article 160 (2).”

Under our constitutional and electoral system, individuals do not contest elections. Lists of persons do. The electorate votes for a list of candidates and not for a candidate. Article 160 of the constitution provides, inter alia, for the allocation of seats to those lists of candidates in proportion to the number of votes cast in favour of those lists. Each list is expected to field 65 candidates. When any of those lists are allocated one or more seats in the National Assembly, theoretically, that entire list is elected to the National Assembly, though not all 65 members will be able to take up seats in the National Assembly at the same time.

Based upon the number of seats allocated, having regard to the number of votes cast, the Representative of the List, extracts from the list the names of the persons whom he selects to take up seats in the National Assembly. These instructions are forwarded to the Chief Elections Officer who publishes a notice to this effect in the Official Gazette pursuant to section 98 of the Representation of the People’s Act. These persons then become members of the National Assembly with a right to vote therein.

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