Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments


Rules of September 1971
(as amended in Geneva in October 1973, in Bucharest in April 1974, in Sofia in September 1977, in Geneva in September 1984, in Berlin in October 1999, in Jakarta in October 2000, in Havana in April 2001 and in Marrakech in March 2002)



Rule 1

Rule 1 The Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments, is a consultative organism of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in accordance with Section VII, Article 26 of the Statutes of the Union. It aims:

  • to facilitate personal contacts between its members
  • in conjunction with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, to cooperate with those Parliaments which request legal and technical assistance and support
  • to study the law, practice and procedure of Parliament
  • to propose measures for improving the working methods of different Parliaments
  • to secure cooperation between the services of different Parliaments.

Rule 2

Each member of the Association shall furnish information about the law, practice, procedure, working methods and organisation of his own Parliament and the administration of the parliamentary services, for any inquiry by the Association or at the request of any other member.


Rule 3

(1) The Association shall consist of Secretaries General and Deputy Secretaries General of Parliaments, or international Parliamentary Assemblies whether or not such Parliaments or Assemblies are affiliated to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

(2) Where a Secretary General or Deputy Secretary General is unable to take part directly and personally in the work of the Association, the Association may admit as a member a high officer of that Assembly who will act under the authority of the Secretary General.

Rule 4

By a Secretary General of a parliamentary assembly is meant a person who is in charge of the parliamentary services.

Rule 5

The Association shall decide upon applications for membership on a report from the Executive Committee.

Rule 6

(1) If a member is unable to attend a session, meeting or sitting of the Association, he/she may nominate as a substitute another member of his/her parliamentary staff.

(2) Any such nomination shall be communicated to the President of the Association in writing not later than the opening of a sitting to which it applies. It shall remain valid for that session or meeting only.

Rule 7

No Assembly may be represented by more than two members at any one time.

Rule 8

The Association may confer honorary membership upon a former member of the Association who has rendered it important services at the proposal of the Executive Committee, either of its own motion or at the request of any member.

Rule 9

The Association may, taking into account the principles and conditions set out in the Statute of the IPU, at the proposal of the Executive Committee admit observers by reason of their particular status or technical expertise.

Rule 10

(1) When the affiliation of a Parliament to the Inter-Parliamentary Union has been suspended because it is in arrears in the payment of its contribution to the Union, a member from that Parliament may continue to be a member of the Association.

(2) When the affiliation of a Parliament to the Inter-Parliamentary Union has been suspended because the Parliament has ceased to function, the Executive Committee shall decide at the earliest opportunity on the eligibility of any member from that Parliament to remain a member of the Association.


Rule 11

(1) In every year the Association shall meet in session concurrently with the conferences of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and at the same place.

(2) It may also meet otherwise, concurrently with meetings of the Council of the IPU, and at the same place.

(3) The Association may also hold exceptional meetings in co-operation with the IPU.

Rule 12

The President shall convene each session or meeting of the Association in a circular which shall set out the draft Agenda for the session. The draft Agenda shall set out the order and timing of contributions and other matters.

Rule 13

A representative of the Union shall be heard if he/she so wishes at full sessions and other meetings of the Association.

Executive Committee and Bureau

Rule 14

The Executive Committee shall consist of the President of the Association, the two Vice-Presidents, and six other members who shall be elected by the Association and former Presidents who are members or honorary members of the Association. All the elected members of the Executive Committee must belong to different Parliaments.

Rule 15

The Bureau shall consist of the President, of the Vice-Presidents, and two joint secretaries who shall be appointed by the President.

Rule 16

When Rule 10(2) applies, a member from that Parliament cannot be a candidate for election to any post on the Executive Committee. If at the time of the suspension a member from that Parliament is a member of the Executive Committee, his membership of the Executive Committee shall cease forthwith and the post become vacant.

Rule 17

(1) Candidates for election to the Executive Committee must be nominated in writing in a set form by a time to be laid down by the Executive Committee. Such nominations must be accompanied by a formal acceptance by the candidate.

(2) The members of the Executive Committee shall be elected for a period of three years.

(3) Elections will take place at the Annual Sessions held under Rule 11(1).

(4) Terms of office shall take effect from the day after the close of the session at which elections take place and shall terminate at the close of the plenary session at which new elections take place.

Rule 18

(1) If a vacancy occurs during the term of office of a member of the Executive Committee, an election to fill the vacancy for a new full term of office shall be held.

(2) If the President is absent or a vacancy occurs in the office of President, the duties of President shall be carried out temporarily by the earlier elected Vice-President. Otherwise, the duties will be carried out by one of the other members of the Executive Committee, chosen on the same basis. In case of equality of seniority of election, the oldest member will take precedence.

Rule 19

Members of the Executive Committee may not stand for election to the same office for two years. Their place shall be taken by a member from another Parliament.

Rule 20

Each member of the Executive Committee shall have a vote. If the votes are equal, the President shall have a casting vote.

Rule 21

The Executive Committee shall

(a) initiate subjects of study and appoint Rapporteurs;

(b) decide about specific topics to be presented and discussed in the course of the forthcoming sessions or meetings;

(c) propose the agenda for sessions or other meetings of the Association;

(d) take any necessary steps to ensure the execution of the Association's decisions;

(e) approve the draft annual budget of the Association for the forthcoming year and to lay the accounts for the past year before the Association for approval;

(f) decide the place and date of exceptional meetings referred to in Rule 11(3);

(g) consider and submit to the Association proposals to amend the Rules of the Association, and

(h) propose arrangements for the holding of elections.

Rule 22

(1) The Executive Committee shall meet on being convened by the President. The Committee shall meet at least twice at the time of each session or meeting of the Association.

(2) The Secretary General of the Union or his representative may be heard at meetings of the Executive Committee at his request.

(3) The Committee may also make decisions by way of meetings held using electronic means of communication.

Decisions and methods of voting of the Association

Rule 23

Only decisions taken at a session or other meeting of the Association shall bind the Association. Apart from exceptional circumstances the Association shall not adopt a report and authorise its publication until after it has been considered at at least one session.

Rule 24

(1) Observers shall not take part in votes on reports or in elections. They shall not be elected.

(2) Those who are members under the provisions of Rule 3(2) shall not be elected.

Rule 25

The majority required to adopt any proposal submitted to the Association shall be a majority of votes cast.

Rule 26

The President shall have a vote but no casting vote. If the votes are equal, the proposal shall not be carried.

Minutes and publications

Rule 27

The minutes of sessions of the Association shall be kept in the official languages of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and circulated to members of the Association by the Joint Secretaries.

Rule 28

(1) The Association shall be responsible for the publication and distribution of "Constitutional and Parliamentary Information" in the official languages of the IPU.

(2) Reports adopted by the Association shall be published in "Constitutional and Parliamentary Information".

(3) The following may also be published in the Review "Constitutional and Parliamentary Information" on the decision of the President:

  • new or revised Constitutions
  • Communications presented at sessions and meetings
  • debates on specific topics decided by the Executive Committee
  • other constitutional or parliamentary information of interest to members of the Association.
(4) The Association shall also ensure the distribution and publication of information on the Internet site of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.


Rule 29

(1) The languages used at meetings of the Association or the Executive Committee shall be the official languages of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

(2) All questionnaires, reports and other documents of the Association shall be drawn up in the official languages of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

(3) If a member cannot use one of these languages, he/she may use an interpreter at his/her own cost who shall interpret into one of the official languages.


Rule 30

(1) The President shall submit to the Executive Committee of the Association the draft budget for the forthcoming year which he/she has prepared in consultation with the Secretary General of the Union, and after having been heard by the Executive Committee of the Union if the budget estimates of the Association do not correspond to those proposed by the Secretary General of the Union.

(2) The budget shall be submitted for ratification at the earliest opportunity.

(3) Each Chamber represented in the Association shall contribute annually to the budget of the Association a sum to be fixed by the Association.

(4) Observers shall pay a contribution equal to half of the median level of subscription of members.

(5) The Executive Committee may propose that all or some of the rights associated with membership be suspended, as set out in article 5.2 of the Statutes of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, if there is a delay of at least three years in the payment of subscriptions.

Amendments of Rules of the Association

Rule 31

(1) Any member may propose an amendment to the Rules of the Association. A proposal to amend the Rules of the Association shall be considered by the Executive Committee before being submitted to a vote by the Association.

(2) The members of the Association may be informed by the President of any proposals to amend the rules which are sent to the Executive Committee before such proposals are discussed by the Executive Committee.

Temporary Rule

Rule 32

The term of office for members of the Executive Committee elected before the Spring 2002 session shall retroactively be set at three years. Such terms of office will be deemed to have taken effect from the close of the session at which they were elected.

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