Political Landscape

Struggling to Get a Quorum in Parliament: Fiddling the figures and suspending MPs


Anything but a full house - many seats in the Wolesi Jirga plenary hall were often not even occupied by half of the MPs - meaning that no quorum was reached to vote on legislation. (Photo Source: Pajhwok 2016)

Anything but a full house - many seats in the Wolesi Jirga plenary hall were often not even occupied by half of the MPs - meaning that no quorum was reached to vote on legislation. (Photo Source: Pajhwok 2016)

The lower house of the Afghan parliament has always struggled with attendance. However, during the current legislative year, which began in March, it has been rare for it to get a quorum (ie a majority of MPs attending). With two thirds of all plenary sessions inquorate, many laws on the agenda could not be voted on and the parliament has fallen behind in its legislative calendar. AAN’s Salima Ahmadi and Lenny Linke have been looking at how the house is trying to cope with the dwindling number of MPs turning up to work. It has suspended six MPs who had been absent from parliament for more than 21 consecutive days, and threatened to suspend three more. It has also quietly been declaring sessions quorate when only a minority of MPs was actually present.

It seemed to start so well…

The opening of the parliament’s sixth year, on 6 March 2016, saw one of the highest numbers of MPs ever turning. They flocked to the lower house, the Wolesi Jirga, along with high-ranking figures such as former president Hamid Karzai and the ambassadors of neighbouring countries. While AAN has not been able to find out the exact number of MPs who attended (as parliamentary monitors were not allowed to witness the session), a member of the Parliamentary Affairs Office, an office within the parliament acting as a liaison between the government and the parliament, told one of the authors that more than 230 MPs out of a total of 240 had been present. (According to the constitution, the Wolesi Jirga should have 249 members, but nine MPs who died, were killed or given government jobs cannot be replaced because replacing MPs is banned in the final year of a parliament. (1) That ‘final year’ will be extra-long this time, given that the official tenure of the Wolesi Jirga expired on 22 June 2015, but elections have yet to happen. (For further detail on the legal status and legitimacy of the parliament, see here, and a detailed discussion on the Wolesi Jirga quorum, see here.))

Voting for the new Administrative Board (7 to 14 March 2016), also brought in large numbers of MPs, with a high of 220 (around 92 per cent). Elected anew each legislative year, the Board presides over plenary sessions, prepares the lists of who can speak in the free discussion hour, records MPs’ attendance and is in overall charge of running the sessions of the Wolesi Jirga. Positions on the Board are considered very influential. Hence, competition among the MPs looking to secure a seat is fierce. (2) As in previous years, the election was not easy or quick. Indeed, MPs took almost two weeks (a total of six plenary sessions) and four rounds of elections to complete the election and in the end, the new Board looked very much like the old one – all but one member had been re-elected to their previous position. The one exception was Ahmad Nazir Ahmadzai, a Kuchi representative, who had held the position of Second Deputy Speaker and was replaced by Sheikh Nematullah Ghafari from Helmand. The two most contested positions – the First Deputy Speaker and the Second Deputy Speaker – were in the end taken by Haji Zahir Qadir from Nangarhar and Sheikh Nematullah Ghafari from Helmand, respectively. (3)

During the two weeks of elections for the Board, attendance was astonishingly high – for the six sessions, the attendance figures were: 220, 216, 211, 207, 206 and 131, out of a total of 240. MPs appeared unwilling to finish the voting in one or two days; they kept casting large numbers of blank or invalid votes making a new round of voting necessary. Observers speculated that MPs were using delaying tactics to solicit more bribes from the candidates. “MPs do business with blank votes,” one member of the Parliamentary Affairs Office told AAN. The same source added that there were “rumours that the candidates spent millions of dollars to be elected as first and second deputy speakers.” (See Dari report here).

…and quickly went bad

The high attendance must indeed have been related to the elections, because immediately afterwards, in the first session after the vote, the number of MPs attending had plummeted sharply. Only 58 MPs turned up to that first session with a regular agenda (provincial reports from MPs) on 16 March 2016. Indeed, in the second half of March 2016, the Wolesi Jirga failed to reach a quorum for any session.

Then, on 9 April 2016, there was again a spike in attendance. It was the day of voting for or against the president’s nominees for Minister of Interior (Taj Muhammad Jahed) and Attorney General (Farid Hamidi). The MPs turned up in droves – 226 MPs, about 94 per cent, were present, constituting the highest attendance rate for any plenary session since the beginning of the 2016 legislative year. (Both candidates got the necessary votes. For further information, read AAN’s previous report).

In contrast, the lowest number of MPs turning up to work so far this year has been for the sitting on 19 March 2016. On that day, reports from the provinces were supposed to be presented, with one MP from each province speaking about the problems and developments in their province, while other MPs listened. Only 24 MPs, or about ten per cent, came to parliament that day. So actually, fewer MPs turned up than there are provinces of Afghanistan. Yet, this should have been a particularly important session, with MPs having a chance to speak directly on behalf of the interests of their constituents.

Another day with an especially low attendance was 16 May 2016, the day of the protests about the routing of the TUTAP power line (for detail, see AAN reporting). Many MPs joined the protest and only 28 MPs (not even 12 per cent of the members) attended the parliamentary session. It was supposed to discuss and vote on the Real Estate Draft Law. Due to a lack of quorum, however, this agenda item had to be pushed to the next session, like so many others since March 2016.

Low Attendance – the biggest obstacle for Wolesi Jirga

With only one session that had a quorum so far in the month of May (and two inquorate ones where voting took place nonetheless), the low attendance has been the biggest challenge for the Wolesi Jirga, particularly problematic given its ambitious legislative calendar. In 2015, there had already been criticism about low attendance paralysing its normal procedures on several occasions (see AAN’s previous reporting). In 2016, however, MPs seem even less interested in attending the plenary sessions or meetings of the commissions, which prepare legislation ahead of discussion and voting in plenary sessions.

Out of the 35 sessions held before 31 May 2016, only eleven sessions had a quorum. Excluding the six sessions used for the Administrative Board elections, there were only five regular plenary sessions that had a quorum – not even 15 per cent of the total. The repeated failure to reach a quorum has prevented progress on several important issues where voting and discussions have had to be constantly postponed. For example, proposed amendments to Article 11 and 12 of the Civil Aviation Law, which seek to change the registration procedures for civilian aircrafts in Afghanistan, and the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Strasbourg 1983, which is intended to facilitate and regularise procedures for the social rehabilitation of prisoners by giving foreigners convicted of a criminal offence the possibility of serving their sentences in their own countries, were both on the agenda for three and four consecutive sessions in April, respectively. The vote for these pieces of legislation finally took place only on 4 May 2016, after seven consecutive sessions without quorum.

Five other pieces of legislation were on the agenda twice before they could be discussed and voted on: the bilateral trade agreement between Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates; Presidential Decree 76 (Annex One to the Criminal Procedure Code which legalises detention without trial (see AAN reporting for more detail); the draft law of the Afghanistan Red Crescent Society’s Affairs; the Passport Law, which will change procedures for issuing passports; and the Draft Law on the Military Higher Education Institutes aimed at expanding and developing higher education in the military field.

On 30 May 2016, the house had two pieces of legislation on the agenda: the Convention on Protecting the Cultural Property and Artistic Works, and on the G7+ Charter, whose purpose is to stop conflict, promote state building, and eradicate poverty through innovative development strategies. Surprisingly, three other pieces of legislation were added to the agenda after the initial two had been voted on. These three had already been on the agenda at least twice before 30 May 2016: the Protection of Consumers Law, Legislation Regulating the Usage of the National Flag, Anthem and State Insignia, and the Draft Law on the Military Higher Education Institutes. All five pieces of legislation were approved during this session.

However, the Wolesi Jirga actually lacked a quorum, but voting was allowed to go ahead anyway. (More detail on this tactic, below).

Failing to turn up to commissions too

Low attendance rates have also affected the work of the commissions and joint commissions, which are crucial for discussing prospective legislation ahead of discussion and voting in the plenary. Many MPs have complained about flaws and problems in draft legislation presented at plenary sessions. It appears that usually it was those MPs, who criticised the legislation, raised objections and proposed amendments during the plenary sessions, who had failed to attend the commission’s sessions. This back and forth of legislation between commissions and plenary frequently resulted in even further delays to parliament’s work.

The absence of MPs also paralysed the sessions of the Committee of Presidents, which meets every Tuesday when parliament is sitting and is attended by the heads of the Wolesi Jirga’s standing commissions and the Administrative Board. It has the hugely important task of setting the agenda for the coming week (beginning each Saturday). On Monday, 2 May 2016, no plenary session could take place because no agenda had been set. Several MPs who had apparently come to parliament that day only to find that no session was taking place complained about it – Negah TV reported on it during evening news. However, the Secretary of the House, when questioned about the reason for the cancellation of this session, said “Today, MPs were tasked to work on commissions.” Most MPs did not find this to be an acceptable answer as commissions’ work usually only takes place on Sundays and Tuesdays, while Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays are reserved for the plenaries.

Taking action: suspending MPs

Despite threats and warnings, no serious measures were ever taken against MPs who were constantly absent from plenary and commissions sessions. MPs have been suspended or expelled for other reasons, but never for absences. However, Articles 121, 122 and 123 of the Rules of Procedures of the Wolesi Jirga do prescribe a range of measures that can be taken, depending on the number of days (or months) of unexcused absence, ranging from a salary cut to withholding a person’s entire salary, to suspending his or her privileges, including revoking immunity. (4) These rules had never been enforced since the inauguration of the Afghan parliament in 2005 – but pressure has been mounting on the Wolesi Jirga to start doing its job properly.

After several inquorate plenary sessions this legislative year, criticism from a host of those MPs who do turn to work was picked up by the media, and appears to have led to the Administrative Board taking action against the absentees. For example, shortly before the Nowruz holidays, the plenary on 19 March 2016 saw only 21 MPs present and, afterwards, Sharif Balkhabi from Sar-e Pul province gave highly critical interviews to journalists.

Then, on 30 April 2016, the Secretary of the House, who is also a member of the Administrative Board, made an unexpected announcement, “The standing commissions of the house have been asked [by the Administrative Board] to report members with 21 days of consecutive absence [which equates to seven weeks]. The house promised to share the list of absent MPs with the media in order to implement Rules of Procedures and so that MPs felt compelled to attend to their responsibilities and be present in the house and approve the laws.” According to the Rules of Procedures, Article 70 A (3) “Publication of the name of the offending member in the official journal of the Jirga,” is required and, presumably, that was what the Secretary of the House was referring to when he mentioned the media. (For full citation, see footnote (5)).

Ironically, on the same day, the house again lacked a quorum, so that day’s agenda had to be postponed to the next session.

The strict warning from the Administrative Board, however, did little to improve the attendance pattern of MPs. For example, from 4 May to 30 May, the Wolesi Jirga held fourteen plenary sessions. In only three of the sessions was a quorum reached. In another two, the Administrative Board announced a quorum, but in fact a minority of MPs had been present.

On 14 May 2016, the Speaker then followed through on his earlier threat of suspension, announcing the names of six MPs whose active membership in the parliament was to be put on hold for two months. The lawmakers suspended are the following: Amanullah Guzar from Kabul, Farishta Anwari from Nimroz, Muhammad Ishaaq Rahguzar from Balkh, Ezatullah Atif from Kabul, Faridoon Momand from Nangarhar, and Alam Khan Azadi from Balkh. Speaking to AAN in mid-April 2016, ie before his suspension, MP Amanullah Guzar said, “Those coming to the sessions are from the provinces. They cannot travel to their provinces due to security reasons, so they have no other choice but to come to the plenary sessions. As for me, I have many things to do and many people to meet here in Kabul.”

The Administrative Board decided after suspending the six MPs to recalculate the quorum. From 18 May, the total number of MPs went from 240 to 234 and the quorum from 121 to 118.

However, despite the suspensions and the lower target for reaching a quorum, on 23 May 2016, the house again lacked a majority. Voting on the Military Higher Education Institutes Law was postponed until the next session. This again caused an outcry among MPs who were present, who, this time, asked the Speaker to take even stricter actions against the absentees. Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, in response, said, “The house has already suspended six MPs who were absent for a long period of time and suspended all their privileges (withholding their entire salary, banning them from the house and revoking their immunity).” The Administrative Board, he said, was now considering suspending other MPs who also had 21 consecutive absences.

It should be noted that, although the Administrative Board is in charge of running the Wolesi Jirga, it is actually not much better than most MPs in terms of turning up to work. Those MPs who are frequently in parliament have complained that not all Administrative Board members are coming to the sessions either.

Fewer MPs in total – another problem with getting a quorum

Apart from suspensions, the Wolesi Jirga has also ‘lost’ MPs through walkouts, boycotts and government appointments. These lost MPs have not been subtracted from the official total number of MPs in parliament. This has added to the difficulty of reaching a quorum.

Several MPs have recently been given high-profile jobs:

– Naqibullah Faiq appointed head of the Afghanistan National Standards Authority (ANSA), an anti-corruption body, 8 February 2016

– Shukrai Barakzai appointed ambassador to Norway, 11 February 2016

– Shinkai Karokhel appointed ambassador to Canada, 13 May 2016

For the moment, Karokhel is still coming to the plenary sessions, but when she departs to Canada, the Wolesi Jirga will have lost three MPs. These appointments mean an actual permanent reduction in the number of MPs until the next election, but, unlike the suspended MPs, the official number and the quorum have not been adjusted downwards.

Another loss to the number of MPs, at least temporarily, was Sakhi Meshwani, MP for Kunar who was suspended due to misconduct. On 13 April 2016, during a summoning (istejwab) session for the Ministers of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Finance, and Public Works regarding the status of national development projects, Meshwani assaulted the Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Nasir Ahmad Durrani. He had become furious when his microphone was cut off after his three-minute time for putting a question had expired. He went up to the ministers and hit Durrani in the face with his name placard. Security guards took Meshwani out of the session and his fellow MPs insisted his action was against the Internal Rules of Procedures of the House and action should be taken against him.

Based on Article 70 of the Internal Rules of Procedures, the house then decided to bar Meshwani for a period of ten consecutive calendar days. MPs had initially demanded a year-long suspension. (6) The MPs also demanded he should apologise to Erfanullah Erfan – the Assistant Secretary of the house who had also been assaulted by him.  While Sakhi Meshwani is now back in parliament after his suspension, it occurred during a period of time when the Wolesi Jirga did not have a quorum even once. (The majority was not adjusted while he was suspended.)

Sakhi Meshwani’s suspension for misconduct was the first disciplinary action taken by the house since 21 May 2007 when it voted to suspend Malalai Joya for the rest of the parliamentary term. An outspoken ‘anti-warlord’ MP from Farah, who had received the most votes in her province, she was deemed to have insulted parliament after comparing it to a “stable of animals during a television interview. (She said her remarks had been edited out of context and she had said she had divided MPs into two groups – one which was working to uphold democratic principles while the other was undermining them, thereby serving the Afghan population even less than animals in a stable.)

MPs walking out

More MPs have also been lost in the controversy over where one crucial part of the north-south electricity line known under the acronym TUTAP should be routed. On 14 May 2016, most Hazara MPs and a number of others – 31 in total – walked out of the session, announcing they would not return until the fate of TUTAP had been determined. The non-Hazara MPs were Latif Pedram from Badakhshan, who declared there was a need for an opposition to the announcement of the government decision on the TUTAP route and he would lead it (he returned to parliament on 21 May), (7) Mohiuddin Mehdi, a Tajik Jamiat-e Islami intellectual and the Uzbek Muhammad Hashem Ortaq (although he is a member of Jombesh, the TUTAP ‘route it through Bamyan’ movement is not supported by party leader, Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum).

The walkout was a further blow to the already meagrely attended Wolesi Jirga and to the efforts to increase attendance through a strict implementation of the rules. Since the walkout, the house has failed to reach an (undisputed) quorum. Recognising the consequences of the walkout, the Speaker met the disgruntled MPs on 22 May and requested they return. He was partially effective; first, five and then another four MPs returned to parliament on 23 and 25 May. On 30 May, two more of walkout MPs rejoined the sessions. It is not clear whether and when the remaining 19 MPs plan to come back to the Wolesi Jirga.

How to cope with a chronic lack of quorum…

One solution to the scarcity of MPs has been to falsely declare inquorate sessions quorate. This has occurred twice so far, on 18 May 2016, and then again, on 30 May 2016. The plenary session held on 18 May under the chairmanship of Haji Zahir Qadir, the First Deputy Speaker and MP for Nangarhar, ordered a discussion and voting on the following: the Real Estate Law, Legislative Decree Number 78 (detention without trial), proposed amendments on the Passports Law, and the Draft Law on Industrial Concepts. Only 98 MPs were present in the session, but the Assistant Secretary of the house announced 122 MPs were present. The Women and Peace Studies Organization’s Parliament Watch reported on this discrepancy on their Facebook page; one of the authors also witnessed it. The house then proceeded to vote on and approve the Passports and Industrial Concepts Laws and referred the Real Estate Law to a commission for further discussion. As a way of explaining the events on 18 May 2016, a member of the Parliamentary Affairs Office told AAN, “The house is upset with the Hazara MPs who walked out, and the rest of the MPs are trying to show that, even without them, the house can have a quorum and approve legislation.” The tactic – to continue work even without a quorum – had previously been discussed during the commission sessions by MPs upset about ‘the Hazara walkout’. On 30 May 2016, the situation was repeated – the Assistant Secretary of the House announced 121 MP as present and proceeded with the agenda, although parliamentary observers (including one of the authors) only counted 111 MP in the plenary. The Women and Peace Studies Organization’s Parliament Watch again reported this discrepancy.

One thing to note: as far as one of the authors could find out, other organisations, that also monitor the parliament, only report the attendance numbers as officially announced by the Administrative Board.

Those who want to return

While around 40 MPs (12 per cent of original gone) have not been at the parliament in the last month and/or will not attend any more, Kabul MP Baktash Seyawash, who has been absent since June 2015 as a sign of protest against President Ghani’s extension of the current parliament’s term wants to come back. Two other MPs have been boycotting plenary sessions for the same reason – Farkhunda Zahra Naderi and Ramazan Bashardost. While there has been no word from Naderi since June of last year, Bashardost, who said on 10 June 2015 that, “people say MPs traded with the government leaders on extending the Parliament term in exchange for collecting votes in their favour in the second round of presidential elections,” came back to the house a month ago. Seyawash has also expressed an interest in re-joining the Wolesi Jirga (possibly because of the lack of a realistic date for the end of this parliament and new elections). He has now said he will continue his boycott until the Administrative Board officially asks him to return. A member of the Parliamentary Affairs Office told AAN, the Board would not request his return, despite him several times asking them to invite him back. Considering the difficulties that the Wolesi Jirga has with reaching a quorum, each additional MP willing to return is important. The Board has not adjusted the quorum for the boycotting MPs. (8)

What does this mean for the rest of the legislative period?

When, on 25 May 2016, the Wolesi Jirga again lacked a quorum and the house could not vote on two pieces of legislation, the Secretary of the House announced the Administrative Board would go ahead with suspending three more MPs and would soon be announcing their names. He also said suspensions would continue, until MPs recognised they had an obligation to attend parliament. It seems, therefore, that the total number of recognised MPs and the quorum is likely to shrink further.

The pattern of non-attendance is paralysing the Wolesi Jirga. It is now far behind its legislative calendar. Suspending six MPs did not work to bring other delinquents to heel. Since then, the House has had no session with a quorum and has resorted twice to falsely announcing higher attendance numbers to order to vote on legislation in bulk. With three more suspensions due and the threat of more to come, one wonders how low the numbers would have to go before there were enough working MPs to form a majority in the house. Low enough to get regular quorums might also be so low as to raise questions of whether the house was still representative of the country’s population. Yet, even without that dire scenario, a house with so many non-attending MPs is scarcely representing the country in practice, anyway. (9) Unfortunately, whatever action the Administrative Board takes will deepen the democratic deficit of the Wolesi Jirga, unless or until more MPs turn up for work.

 

(1) According to the constitution, the Wolesi Jirga has 249 members and 68 of those seats are allocated to women through a quota system. Currently, however, there are 69 women in parliament as one woman was able to secure enough votes to enter parliament even without this quota. The Constitution stipulates there must be “at least, on average” two women from each of the 34 provinces (Art 83). Of these 68 seats, three are allocated to Kuchis.

The overall membership of the current Wolesi Jirga has been reduced from 249 to 240. Three of the nine members that the Wolesi Jirga lost were killed as a result of terrorist attacks. Two MPs died of natural causes; other MPs resigned ahead of 2014 presidential elections – some of them were not replaced, as there is a legal provision stipulating that their seats be left open. Between 2005-10, when there was an even higher number of such incidents, victims were simply replaced. The candidate who had secured the next largest number of votes would assume the vacant position. However, given that he/she may have been a political opponent, this practice, which was widely known as the “assassination clause,” was seen as possibly encouraging of such acts. Therefore, this practice was altered and now only those MPs who die of natural causes are replaced, and only “if more than one year remains until the end of the term of office of Wolesi Jirga.” So far the only MP replaced has been Shahnaz Hemati from Herat province, who died in a car accident. The next female runner up for Herat province, Semin Barakzai, took her seat.

Other replacements of MPs occurred because at least seven MPs from the current parliament resigned ahead of the 2014 presidential elections in order to campaign for presidency or other key positions in the government. The parliament replaced the resigning MPs, including Haji Mohammad Mohaqqeq, Sayyed Ishaq Gailani, Sayyed Hussain Anwari, Abdul Rab Rassul Sayyaf, Shah Abdul Ahad Afzali, Sayyed Hussain Alami Balkhi, and Ibrahim Qasemi. Later on in 2014, other MPs resigned as well ahead of the second round of the presidential elections because they were hoping for key positions in the new government (such as ministers, for example.) They were not replaced, as this parliament had entered its last year of tenure.

(2) The Administrative Board includes the president, the vice-presidents, the secretary and assistant secretary, as outlined in chapter 3 of the Rules of Procedures of the Wolesi Jirga.

(3) The new Administrative Board members were: Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi – the Speaker, who is elected for another five years term, Haji Zahir Qadir – First Deputy Speaker, Sheikh Nematullah Ghafari – Second Deputy Speaker, Abdul Rauf Inaami – Secretary, and Erfanuallh Erfan – Assistant Secretary.

(4) Rules of Procedures of the Wolesi Jirga, Chapter 22 “Presence and Absence”:

Article 121:  

In case of a Member’s unjustified absence in the plenary or in the Commission session, the net salary of the Member is reduced on a pro-rated basis.

 Article 122:

If a Member cannot attend the session because of some engagement in relation to his or her duty or a legal holiday, his or her salary may not be deducted.

These engagements include national and international travel in relation to his or her duty or those duties to be performed at the time that sessions are being conducted in the Capital.

 Article 123

1. If a Member does not attend the plenary or the relevant Commission session for one month, his or her net salary may not be paid.

2. If a member does not attend the plenary or the relevant Commission session for two successive months, according to the report of the Administrative Board, the issue of his or her absence shall

3. be assessed by the Rights, Privileges and Security Commission. The Commission shall present its proposal to the plenary and the Jirga may pursue a proper decision about the Member in accordance with article 108 of the Constitution.

 Article One Hundred Eight of the Constitution states:

In cases of death, resignation, and dismissal of a member of the National Assembly or disability or handicap, which impedes permanent performance of duty, the placement of the new representative for the remaining period of the legislative term shall be in accordance with 30 provisions of the law.

Matters related to the presence and absence of members of the National Assembly shall be regulated by the Internal Duties Statute. 

(5) Chapter 12 of Rules of Procedures, Article 70 states:

Members of the Jirga are subject to the disciplinary measures if they committed any of the following offences:

1. Disregard for the internal rules and procedures of the Jirga

2. Absence or lack punctuality, tearing up documents in a sign of objection, provocative and irrelevant slogans

3. Leaving the session without reasonable excuse, quarrels and physical fighting or causing chaos and riot in the session

4. Intimidation and threatening of a member, defamation and accusation of others, insult and disrespect for the Administrative Board, government officials and staff of general secretariat

5. Engagement in other employment contrary to the provisions of the article 152 of the Constitution

A. In case of violations of the tenets of the above-mentioned article, the following disciplinary measures shall be taken:

1. Advice

2. Warning

3. Publication of the name of the offending member in the official journal of the Jirga

4. Exclusion of the offending member from the session of that day

Implementation of the disciplinary measures stipulated in the preceding paragraph is under the authority of the Speaker of the Jirga

B. The suspension of an offending member for more than one day for any violation is implemented upon the recommendation of the Administrative Board and approval of the Jirga.

(6) Chapter 12 of the Rules of Procedures covers disciplinary measures of the house, see here.

(7) Pedram has tried at earlier occasions to put himself at the head of a parliamentary opposition but without success (see for example here).

(8) Although absent for most or all sessions since 2015, the three MPs boycotting parliament because they were unhappy with its extended term have not been categorised as suspended – reportedly, according to a source in the Parliamentary Affairs Office because they had officially declared their boycott and because most of them did not seem to have used any of the privileges accorded to MPs such as the use of cars and guards.

(9) Concerns about representativeness have been raised all along with regard to the system of SNTV (single non-transferrable vote) in elections. Among other problems, it allows MPs to be elected with extremely low numbers of votes). (For more detail, see previous AAN analysis ).

 

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Thematic Category: Political Landscape