The ad hoc Committee on Draft Rules of Procedure of the ECOWAS Parliament has proposed changes to be presented to the Plenary on Monday to guide the Fourth Legislature.
At its meeting in Abuja, Nigeria on Saturday, committee members worked through the document and discussed amendments aimed at improving the functioning of the Fourth Legislature if adopted by the Plenary.
Highlights of the planned alteration accepted at the committee’s meeting included changing the names and functions of some of the Parliament’s 13 standing committees to reflect the structures obtainable at the Commission.
A new provision, Rule 83 has been added to give the Community’s citizens greater access to approach the Parliament with their petitions. The rule further spelt out how petitions should be handled once submitted.
Rule 83: 1 reads, “Any citizen of the Community, and any natural or legal person residing or having its registered office in a Member State, shall have the right to address, individually or in association with other citizens or persons, a petition to Parliament on a matter which comes within ECOWAS fields of activity and which affects him, her or it directly.”
In a move to strengthen the rules, a request for the quorum to be established must now be made by five Representatives under the planned modification as opposed to the existing rule where the request can be made byjust one member.
Electronic voting is now envisaged alongside other modes of voting during plenary while Minutes of Proceedings and Verbatim Reports have been expansively defined in the reform to be presented to Plenary.
Another proposed modification specified that the Rules of Proceeding can only be suspended by an absolute majority of the Members of Parliament present, as opposed to the original text that accepted suspension of the rules by majority of Representatives