National Assembly Of Sudan
SUDAN’S NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, LOCATED IN OMDURMAN, IS A SINGLE CHAMBER 360-SEAT LEGISLA – TIVE AND INVESTIGATIVE body representing geographical and sectoral constituencies. Geographical representation is constituted by 270 members, while the other 90 members represent various sectoral constituencies, including women, scientists, and other professionals. The 1998 Constitution requires that “Islamic law and the consensus of the nation, by referendum, constitution, and custom shall be the sources of legislation; and no
legislation in contravention with these fundamentals shall be made.” It is therein noted, “…however, the legislation shall be guided by the nation’s public opinion, the learned opinion of scholars and thinkers, and then by the decision of those in charge of public affairs.” Any Sudanese, 21 years of age, in sound mind,and having no conviction regarding his honor or honesty within the past seven years is eligible for a seat in the National Assembly, provided he is not a member of a state assembly, a governor, nor a member of a state council of ministers, and is elected by his constituency.
Federal ministers may concurrently be members of the National Assembly. Members are elected for four years and there is no constitutional limit on the number of terms one may serve.
The National Assembly, like the common lot of its counterparts around the world, in principle represents the popular will in legislation, planning and assuring accountability of the Executive. It is also expected to play a leading role in political and social mobilization. It is empowered to pass into legal effect the annual federal government budget, long and medium term development plans and policies. Any committee or individual member of the National Assembly may table bills, a prerogative which is shared with the President of the Republic, the Federal Council of Ministers, and individual federal ministers. Likewise, constitutional amendments may be proposed, as well as passed,by the assembly– upon a two-thirds majority.
A major recurrent responsibility of the National Assembly is passing of the annual budget of the Federal Government, which the National Assembly Complex at Omdurman Council of Ministers is obliged to submit in
good time before the beginning of a new fiscal year. In addition to detailed estimates of proposed revenues, expenditures, and balancing,the budget bill includes a description of the general economic and financial situation of
the country. An appropriation bill is submitted as a separate document, wherein expenditures to be authorized for the fiscal year are itemized.
In tandem with the appropriations bill, a schedule of taxes and levies is submitted. It is the job of the National Assembly to scrutinize and assess the proposed budget and subsidiary bills, coordinating with the Council of
Ministers with a view to passing the package.
Each chapter of the budget is passed as a separate bill and the appropriations bill is passed in total. If passing of the new budget is delayed into the coming fiscal year, recurrent expenditures continue flowing based on the estimates
of the previous fiscal year. No member or committee of the National Assembly may propose any revenue or appropriation bill outside the general budget.
During the six months following the end of a fiscal year, the Council of Ministers must submit to the National Assembly final accounts of revenues and expenditures for the budget term. The assembly will also receive a report from the Auditor General concerning all public accounts.
The National Assembly is led by a Speaker, elected from and by its members, who presides over all its sessions. He is backed by an elected Deputy Speaker and appoints a secretary general, who is not a member of the assembly but becomes responsible for its general administrative affairs under the Speaker’s direction.
The assembly is composed of a number of specialized standing and adhoc committees, with chairpersons. Although the Constitution does not stipulate minimum education requirements for members of the National Assembly, they
are usually graduates and competent to perform the high level work of drafting, proposing, discussing, and deciding upon contemporary state legislation. The Frmr. Speaker of the National Assembly, Ahmed Ibrahim Al Tahir is
a lawyer and his deputy Angelo Beda is a political scientist who has been in the political arena since the early days of the republic.
The National Congress Party currently dominates the National Assembly, as well as the executive, but with the anticipated normalization of Sudan’s political situation through ongoing peace processes, opposition party election
boycotts will no doubt eventually cease, making political power ever more cooperative.
Sudan’s National Assembly is a member of both the African and Arab Parliamentary Unions and has played a leading role in the affairs of both. Sudan hosted the 25th Conference of the African Parliamentary Union in October 2002, at which Speaker Ahmed Ibrahim Al Tahir was elected APU chairman.