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Congreso de los Diputados (Congress of Deputies)

Compare data for parliamentary chambers in the Presidency module

Parliament name (generic / translated) Las Cortes Generales / The Cortes
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Congreso de los Diputados / Congress of Deputies
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Senado / Senate
Title President of the Congress of Deputies
Term - duration: 4 years (term of House)
- reasons for interruption of the term: resignation, loss of seat, death, dissolution of Parliament
Appointment - elected by all Members of Congress, at the first sitting of the newly elected Congress (27/3/1996)
- before validation of mandates and swearing-in
Eligibility any Deputy may be a candidate
Voting system - formal vote by secret ballot
- absolute majority required in the first round, in the second round only the 2 candidates with the most votes are left, and election is by a majority of votes cast
Procedures / results - the oldest Deputy presides over the Congress during the voting
- the oldest Deputy and 2 Secretaries (the 2 youngest Deputies) supervise the voting
- the oldest Deputy announces the results without delay
- the results can be challenged
Status - ranks third in the hierarchy of the State, after the King and the Head of Government
- ranks before the President of the Senate in the order of precedence, and therefore presides over joint meetings of both Houses
- represents the Congress with the public authorities
- presides ex officio over the Board, the Conference of Spokesmen and the Standing Deputation
- may, if he so wishes, preside over any committee
- in the absence of the President, one of the 4 Vice-Presidents, in the order of their appointment, can assume his/her role and functions
Board - is regulated by the Standing Orders of the Congress of Deputies
- consists of the President, 4 Vice-Presidents and 4 Parliamentary Secretaries
- meets weekly at the President's initiative
Material facilities + expense allowance
- official residence
- official car
- cabinet, with several advisers and secretaries
- bodyguards

Organization of parliamentary business - convenes sessions
- establishes and modifies the agenda, together with the Conference of Spokesmen
- organizes the debates and sets speaking time, according to the Standing Orders
The Board:
- examines the admissibility of bills and amendments
- refers texts to a committee for study
- examines the admissibility of requests for setting up committees and/or committees of enquiry,

Chairing of public sittings - can open, adjourn and close sittings
- ensures respect for provisions of the Constitution and Standing Orders
- makes announcements concerning the Congress
- takes disciplinary measures in the event of disturbance, and lifts such measures, following a decision by the Board
- gives and withdraws permission to speak
- establishes the order in which amendments are taken up, with the help of the rapporteurs of the Committee which has adopted the text
- calls for a vote, decides how it is to be carried out, verifies the voting procedure and cancels a vote in the event of irregularities
- checks the quorum
- authenticates the texts adopted and the records of debates, together with the Parliamentary Secretaries
- interprets the rules or other regulations governing the life of the Congress - if the interpretation requires a resolution, the agreement of the Board and the Conference of Spokesmen is needed
Special powers The Board:
- is responsible for establishing the budget of the Congress
- recruits, assigns and promotes staff
- appoints the Secretary General, on a proposal by the President
- organizes the services of Parliament
- is responsible for relations with foreign Parliaments
- is responsible for safety, and in this capacity, can call the police in the event of disturbance in the Congress
Speaking and voting rights, other functions - takes the floor in legislative debates, but must leave his seat to do so
- takes part in voting
- proposes bills or amendments
- may intervene in the parliamentary oversight procedure, but must leave his seat to do so
- refers bills to the Head of State (King)
- presides over the Permanent Deputation, which is responsible for looking after the business of the Congress between sessions

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