Senate (Fiji)

From Academic Kids

Template:Politics of Fiji The Senate of Fiji is the upper chamber of Parliament. It is the less powerful of the two chambers; it may not initiate legislation, but may amend or veto it. The Senate's powers over financial bills are more restricted: it may veto them in their entirety, but may not amend them. The House of Representatives may override a Senatorial veto by passing the bill a second time in the parliamentary session immediately following the one in which it was rejected by the Senate, after a minimum period of six months. Amendments to the Constitution are excepted: the veto of the Senate is absolute. Following the passage of a bill by the House of Representatives, the Senate has 21 days (7 days in the case of a bill classified as "urgent") to approve, amend, or reject it; if at the expiry of that period the Senate has done nothing about it, it is deemed to have passed the bill.

The Senate has 32 members. Formally, they are appointed by the President. Constitutionally, however, the President is required to accept the nominees of specified institutions. 14 Senators are chosen by the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (Great Council of Chiefs), though in practice it has chosen to delegate this prerogative to Fiji's 14 Provinical Councils, each choosing one Senator. A further 9 Senators are chosen by the Prime Minister and 8 by the Leader of the Opposition. The one remaining Senator is selected by the Council of Rotuma, a Fijian dependency.

From among their own members, the Senators elect a President and Vice-President, whose roles are similar to those of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively. As of January 2005, the President of the Senate is Taito Waqavakatoga; the Vice-President is Kenneth Low.

The built-in near-majority of Fijian chiefs in the Senate gives them an effective veto over contentious social legislation, as well as constitutional amendments, provided they vote as a block, as they will almost certainly be joined by enough other senators to muster a majority. In addition, any changes to clauses of the constitution guaranteeing indigenous Fijian ownership and control of most of the land must be approved by 9 of the 14 Senators chosen by the Great Council of Chiefs, as well as by a majority in the Senate as a whole.

Senators, like their fellow-parliamentarians from the House of Representatives, may be appointed to the Cabinet - the executive arm of government.

As of 26 April 2005, the Fijian Senate comprises the following persons:

Contents

Nominated by the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (with province in parenthesis)

Nominated by the Prime Minister

Nominated by the Leader of the Opposition

Nominated by the Council of Rotuma

Notes

Source: Fiji Parliamentary website (http://www.parliament.gov.fj/mp/senate.aspx) (incomplete list, supplemented from the Hansard (http://www.parliament.gov.fj/hansard/index.aspx) records)

[1] Kenneth Low was elected Vice-President of the Senate (http://www.parliament.gov.fj/hansard/viewhansard.aspx?hansardID=327&viewtype=full) on 28 February 2005 to succeed Ahmed Ali, following Ali's appointment to the Cabinet.

[2] Dr Ahmed Ali, a nominee of the Prime Minister, died on 8 June 2005.

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