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Assemblée nationale (National Assembly)

Compare data for parliamentary chambers in the Oversight module


Parliament name (generic / translated) Assemblée nationale / National Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Type of political regime semi-presidential
Notes The President is the Head of State and the guarantor of independence, national unity, territorial integrity and respect for the Constitution and international treaties and agreements (Article 58 of the Constitution).
Head of the executive President of the Republic
Notes The President chairs the Council of Ministers, and under his authority the Government determines and leads national policy (Article 77 of the Constitution). The Government comprises the Prime Minister, ministers and ministers of state, under-secretaries and secretaries of state.
Method for appointing the executive The election of the President takes place by a one-ballot uninominal majority poll (Article 60 of the Constitution). He/she appoints the Prime Minister by a parliamentary majority and dismisses him/her from office (Article 66 of the Constitution). Upon the proposal of the Prime Minister, he/she appoints the other members of the Government and dismisses them from office.
Term of office of the executive and coincidence with the term of the legislature The President is elected by universal and direct suffrage under a secret ballot for a mandate of five years (Article 59 of the Constitution). He/she may be re-elected. The deputies are elected under universal and direct suffrage by a secret, uninominal, one-ballot majority poll (Article 52 of the Constitution).
Incompatibility of the functions of member of the executive and member of Parliament Yes The functions of a member of the Government are incompatible with the exercise of any parliamentary mandates, any other duty of state institutions or organisations and any public or private, civil or military employment or any other professional activity.
Dissolution of Parliament Yes
  • Circumstances
The President, after consultation with the Prime Minister and the President of the National Assembly, may pronounce the dissolution of the Assembly (Article 68 of the Constitution).
  • Modalities
This dissolution may not take place in the first year of legislature. A new Assembly must be elected within 60 days of the dissolution. It convenes by rights the second Tuesday after being elected. If this meeting takes place outside the period for an ordinary session, a session is opened for 15 days. No dissolution took place between 1990 and 2000.
Accountability of Government to Parliament Yes Under the authority of the President, the Government decides and leads national policy and directs civil and military administration (Article 77 of the Constitution). The Government is collectively responsible to the National Assembly.
Modalities of oversight
  • Oral and written questions of parliamentarians
The members of the Government may be heard by the National Assembly or its committees by means of interpellations or written or oral questions, which may give rise to debate. As part of questions with debate, the conference of the Presidents sets the total time given to parliamentary groups, divided among parliamentary groups proportionate to their numerical strength. When government questions are without debate, the President may reply to the Government. No voting may take place when government communications are underway.
  • Government reports to Parliament
The President may address messages to the nation, and once a year he/she addresses the state of the nation to the parliament (Article 74 of the Constitution).
  • Vote of confidence on Government programs and/or legislative proposals
Before it enters office, the Prime Minister presents its programme of action to the National Assembly (Article 78 of the Constitution). The Assembly expresses confidence by a majority vote of all its members. After the deliberation by the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister may likewise engage the responsibility of the Government before the National Assembly on its programme or its statement of general policy (Article 97 of the Constitution). After a debate the National Assembly casts a vote. Confidence in the Government may not be refused except by a two-thirds majority of the deputies, in which case the Prime Minister must submit the resignation of the Government to the President.
Motions of censure and votes of no confidence (sub-report)
  • Circumstances
The National Assembly may implement the responsibility of the Government by tabling a motion of censure (Article 98 of the Constitution).
  • Modalites
Such a motion must be signed by at least a third of the deputies of the National Assembly if it is to gain admissibility. Voting may only take place five days after the motion is tabled. The National Assembly may only pass a vote of censure agtainst the Government if agreed by a two-thirds majority of its members.
  • Consequences
If the motion of censure is adopted, the Prime Minister submits the resignation of his Government and the President appoints a new Prime Minister. If the motion of censure is rejected, its signatories may not propose another for remainder of the session. No motion of censure was tabled between 1990 and 2000.
Dismissal and/or impeachment of Government and other public officials (sub-report)
  • Circumstances and persons concerned
The vacancy of the presidency of the Republic may be certified by decease, voluntary resignation or permanent impeachment (Article 65 of the Constitution). A motion for resolution bringing an indictment of the President, and the members of the Government or their accomplices may be brought before the High Court of Justice.
  • Modalites and procedure
The Government brings the matter before the Constitutional Court and it may certify the vacancy of the Presidency by decease, voluntary resignation or permanent impeachment.

No motion for resolution before the High Court of Justice is admissible unless signed by at least a third of the deputies of the National Assembly. The Assembly may negotiate it. The decision to take to court as well as the indictment of the President and of the members of the Government is voted by a four-fifths majority of the members of each of the two assemblies. Motions for resolution declared admissible are handed over by the President of the Assembly to a special committee. Following the report of the special committee an indictment is brought against the President of the Republic, the members of the Government or their accomplices , by secret ballot with a two-thirds majority of the deputies.

The High Court of Justice is the only jurisdiction competent to judge offences committed by the President. His political responsibility is only engaged in the case of high treason. The High Court of Justice is competent to judge the members of the Government and their accomplices in the event of high treason. The High Court of Justice also judges crimes and offences committed by members of the Supreme Court. It is bound by the definition of crimes and offences as well as by the outcome of the sentence according to the current penal law at the time the acts were committed.
  • Consequences
If the persons concerned are sentenced, they lose their posts. In the presidency become vacant, the presidential office is carried out provisionally by the President of the National Assembly. The Government summons the electorate within 60 days to elect a new President. Please take notice that on 6 February 2005, Parliament retroactively changed the Constitution, declaring that the former President's son would hold office for the rest of his father's term, with elections deferred until 2008. However, in response to international pressure, the former President's son agreed to hold elections in April 2005, in which he was subsequently elected President.
  • Have these procedures been applied?
Oversight over the actions of the Government administration Yes Under the authority of the President, the Government decides and leads national policy and directs civil and military services. He/she has the administration, the armed forces and the security forces at his/her disposal, and is collectively responsible before the National Assembly.
Means and modalities of oversight
  • Hearings in Committees
The parliament exercises control over the actions of the administration by means of hearings in the committees.
  • Committees of inquiry and missions to Government departments
The National Assembly may authorise the committees to appoint information or inquiry missions for issues within their competence. The objective, duration and composition of the mission must be stated, and it must report to the Assembly within the fixed deadline. A committee of inquiry or control is created by the Assembly as a result of voting for a motion for resolution. This motion must state precisely, either the factors that give rise to an inquiry or the public services or state enterprises whose management must be examined by the committee. The relevant committee must submit its report during the month of the ordinary session following the appropriation of this motion.
  • Oral and written questions of parliamentarians
The procedure of written and oral questions only applies to questions whose authors consider them to be of general interest. Proceedings on personal or special grounds must be dealt with by correspondence or direct contact between the interested deputies and ministers. Oral questions are posed by a deputy in the Government, either on its general policy, or on files or cases within the competence of a given ministerial department. They must be composed summarily and limited to the elements essential for their understanding. They may be asked as oral questions with or without debate. Oral questions are inscribed by the President of the Assembly on the questions list to be delivered. The meeting reserved each week as priority for deputies' questions and government replies is decided at the conference of the presidents.

The insertion of oral questions into the meeting's agenda is decided the day before the meeting on the basis of two lists of questions. Oral questions without debate being transformed from written questions have priority of insertion. An oral question with debate is called by the President who may set the speaking time given to its author. The competent minister responds to it. He/she may postpone this response by announcing for one of the two following days of the meeting a government paper with debate on the same subject. This announcement suspends the debate on the oral question. The government paper is automatically inserted into the start of the agenda of the chosen session. After the response of the minister, the President organizes the debate based on the speakers list and gives each of them the floor for a specially allocated time. The author of the question has propriety of intervention.

An oral question without debate is outlined summarily by its author. The competent minister responds to it, the question's author may speak again and the minister replicates. No other intervention may take place. Questions on current issues are given at the latest two hours before the hour fixed for the conference of the presidents. They are addressed to the Government, which responds to them. Any deputy who wishes to ask a minister a written question submits the text to the President of the National Assembly who transmits it within eight days. These questions must be outlined summarily and may only be posed by a single deputy to a single minister. Written questions are included on special lists as they are handed in. Any written question may be transformed into an oral question upon its author's request. Ministers must reply to questions in the month following their transmission. Ministers always have authority to request, in exceptional circumstances, in order to assemble materials for the reply, an extended deadline that must not exceed one month.
  • Role of Parliament in the appointment of senior Government officials
Not applicable
  • Activity reports of the Government administration and of public services or establishments
Not applicable
  • Representation of Parliament in governing bodies of the Government administration
The parliament in represented within the governing bodies of certain administrative services.
Existence of an ombudsman Yes
  • Method for appointing the executive
An Ombudsman is instituted responsible for settling non-jurisdictional conflicts between the citizens and the government administration (Article 154 of the Constitution). The Ombudsman is an independent administrative authority appointed by decree adopted in the Council of Ministers for a mandate of three years renewable.
  • Relationship to Parliament
The composition, organization and operation of the services of the Ombudsman are fixed by a basic law.
Consultation of Parliament in the preparation of the national budget No Not applicable
Modalities of oversight
  • Examination of the budget / finance act by Parliament
The consideration of finance bills takes place in accordance with ordinary legislative procedure. Amendments to the annual finance bill are received by the Finance Committee at the latest four days with effect of the distribution of the general report for articles of the first part of the bill and articles of the second part whose consideration is not linked to a budgetary entry, and with effect of the consideration of each special report for the appropriations of a budget clause and the articles linked to it. The National Assembly votes the final decision on the finance bill (Article 81 of the Constitution). However, the Senate compulsorily gives its recommendation before the National Assembly vote on the finance bill. In all cases, the recommendation of the Senate is considered as given if it is not announced within 15 days of the bill being submitted before the court, or 8 days in the case of an emergency.
  • Reports on the budget / finance act by Committees
The Finance Committee carries out the examination of the finance bills. Any committee may appoint one or several of its members to take part in an advisory capacity in the work of the Finance Committee during the examination of the articles of the finance bill or national appropriations using its expertise.
Fields overseen
  • Defence budget
The parliament exercises control over all public funds.
  • Budget of special departments
Not applicable
  • Role of Parliament in national development plans
The parliament makes preferred estimates and adopts the public investment programme.
Parliament's deadline for the examination and adoption of the budget / finance act The finance bill is brought before the National Assembly a week before the opening of the October session at the latest. The Assembly must decide within 45 days of the bill's submission.
Consequences of failure by Parliament to adopt the budget / finance act The clauses of the finance bill may be implemented by ordinance if the Assembly has not voted within 45 days and the financial year has just expired. The Government then requests the convening of an extraordinary session for ratification. If the finance bill cannot be introduced within the due time, the Prime Minister urgently requests authorization from the Assembly to resume the previous year's budget by provisional twelfths.
Budgetary autonomy of Parliament Yes Legally, the parliament enjoys budgetary autonomy, but in practice there are difficulties in effectively implementing this autonomy.
Evaluation of Government spending
Parliament approves Government expenditures annually No That said, the Government is expected to present a regulations act.
Parliamentary oversight of public companies Yes The Finance Committee may designate a special rapporteur for that purpose.
Modalities of oversight
  • Body for auditing the Government's books and method for appointing
The Court of Audit judges the accounts of public accountants (Article 107 of the Constitution). It guarantees the audit of the accounts and the management of public establishments and public companies. It assists the parliament and the Government in controlling the execution of the finance bill and carries out all finance and public accounting audits that the latter requests of it. The President of the Court of Audit is elected by his/her peers for three years renewable. The members of the Court have magistrate status. They are irremovable for the duration of their mandate. The functions of a member are incompatible with that of a member of the Government, of the exercise of any elective office, of any public, civil or military employment, of all other professional activity as well as any function of deputation.
  • Reports of the public auditor's office
The Court of Audit draws up an annual report addressed to the President and to the Government and to the National Assembly and in which it states, if appropriate, violations committed and liabilities incurred. The documents and information for carrying out a parliamentary audit of the state budget or the verification of the accounts of state companies are communicated by the competent authorities to the President of the National Assembly, for the attention of the President of the Finance Committee.
  • Specialised committee
Not applicable
Foreign Relations Committee (sub-report)
  • Functions of the Committee
The parliament exercises control over foreign policy via the Committee on Foreign Relations and Cooperation.
  • Powers of the Committee
The committee is responsible for examining the affairs that the assembly must hear, with special attention given to international relations, foreign policy, international cooperation, international treaties and agreements, inter-parliamentary relations, international conferences, protecting the interests of the Togolese abroad, the status of foreigners residing in the country and the cooperation and inter-African integration.
  • Composition of the Committee
The composition of the Commission reflects the numerical strength of each party in the parliament.
  • Bilateral visits of Parliament, inter-parliamentary conferences and information missions abroad
Not applicable
  • Plenary debates on foreign policy issues
The parliament exercises oversight over foreign policy by organizing plenary debates on foreign policy issues on average once every session.
Involvement of Parliament
  • Participation of Parliament in inter-governmental meetings
The parliament may take the initiative of sending a delegation to inter-governmental meetings or participate in them upon the request of the Government.
  • Modalities and procedures for ratifying international treaties and agreements (sub-report)
The President negotiates and ratifies treaties and international agreements (Article 137 of the Constitution). Peace treaties, commercial treaties, treaties relating to international organizations, those that involve state expenditure, those that modify the legislative enactments, those that relate to the status of persons and to human rights, those on the transfer, exchange or addition of territory, may not be ratified except by virtue of law. When the President, the President of the National Assembly or the President of the National Assembly has brought proceedings before the Constitutional Council and it has declared that an international agreement contains a clause that contradicts the Constitution, the authorization to ratify or approve it may only be given when the Constitution has been revised.

When a bill authorizing the ratification of a treaty or the approval of an international agreement, not subject to ratification, is brought before the National Assembly, it is not voted on the articles contained in these acts, and it may not be presented with an amendment. The Assembly concludes with the adoption or rejection of the bill, or with the adjournment of the discussion. The rejection or adjournment of a bill authorizing ratification of a treaty is reasoned.
  • Other mechanisms for participation in foreign policy by Parliament
Besides the aforementioned there are no other means of control available to the Chamber.
National Defence Committee (sub-report)
  • Functions of the Committee
The parliament exercises control over national defence policy via the Defence and Security Committee.
  • Powers of the Committee
The Committee is responsible for examining matters that the Assembly must hear with special attention given to the general organization of defence and security, civil and military armed forces personnel, the gendarmerie, military justice, the police, territorial integrity, the security of persons and assets, cooperation policy and military assistance.
  • Composition of the Committee
The composition of the Committee reflects the numerical strength of each party in the parliament.
Parliamentary oversight of public arms manufacturing companies Not applicable
Circumstances and involvement
  • Modalities and procedures in case of war, an armed attack or a state of emergency
The President is the leader of the armed forces, presides over the defence councils, declares war upon the authorization of the National Assembly, and decrees general mobilization after consultation with the Prime Minister (Article 72 of the Constitution).
  • Role of Parliament in sending troops abroad
The parliament exercises control over national defence policy when troops are dispatched overseas.
  • Other mechanisms for participation in national defence policy by Parliament
In addition to the aforementioned there are no other means of control available to the Chamber.
Circumstances A declaration of war is authorized by the National Assembly (Article 93 of the Constitution). A state of siege as with a state of emergency is decreed by the President in the Council of Ministers. A basic law determines the conditions for implementing a state of siege and a state of emergency.
Can parliament take the initiative to declare a state of emergency No
Consequences of a state of emergency for Parliament When a state of siege or state of emergency is decreed by the President in the Council of Ministers, the National Assembly meets by rights if it is not in session. The prorogation beyond 15 days of a state of siege or a state of emergency may not be authorized except by the National Assembly. The National Assembly may not be dissolved for the duration of such a state.
Modalities of oversight
  • Body ruling on the constitutionality of laws
A specialised body / constitutional Court The Constitutional Court is the highest jurisdiction of the State in constitutional matters (Article 99 of the Constitution). It judges the constitutionality of the law and is the guarantor of fundamental rights of individuals and public liberties. It is the regulating body for the functioning of institutions and the activity of public powers. The Court is composed of nine members appointed for seven years renewable. Three members are appointed by the President, three are elected by the National Assembly by a two-thirds majority and three are elected by the Senate by a two-thirds majority of its members.
  • Means and procedures
The Constitutional Court is the jurisdiction responsible for ensuring respect for the provisions of the Constitution (Article 104 of the Constitution). It is the judge of the constitutionality of laws. The President, the Prime Minister, the President of the National Assembly or a fifth of the deputies laws may refer laws to the Court before their promulgation. For the same purposes, basic laws, before promulgation, the rules and regulations of the National Assembly and the Senate, and those of the High Authority for the Audiovisual and Communication Sector and of the Economic and Social Council, must be submitted to it before their implementation.

During a judicial proceeding, all physical or moral persons may in limine litis raise before the courts and tribunals the exception of unconstitutionality of a law. In that case, the jurisdiction postpones deciding and takes the matter to the Constitutional Court. The latter must decide within a month, but this deadline may be reduced to eight days in the case of an emergency.

A text declared unconstitutional may not be promulgated. If is has already been approved, it must be withdrawn from juridical authorization. The decisions of the Constitution Court are not subject to any recourse. They apply to all public, civil, military and jurisdictional authorities.
Evaluation of laws No Not applicable

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