AR wants to resume “normality little by little” and will have two plenary sessions next week

in News · 03-05-2020 12:49:00 · 0 Comments

The Assembly of the Republic wants to resume "normality little by little" and next week, already without a state of emergency, the number of plenary sessions will increase from one to two, but will maintain, for the time being, a presence reduced number of deputies.

The information was transmitted to journalists by the spokesperson for the leaders conference, PS deputy Maria da Luz Rosinha, at the end of the meeting of this body.

"The President of the Assembly of the Republic is absolutely sensitive and willing that, as soon as possible, normality will gradually resume, and the various parliamentary groups have expressed themselves in the same direction," she said.

According to the deputy, there was no opposition on the part of the parties in relation to this intention: "There is a concern for safeguarding security measures, but also a great concern for the Assembly of the Republic to function," she said.

Next week, there will be plenary sessions on Wednesday, 6 May, with party initiatives, and on Thursday, 7 May, with biweekly debate with the prime minister.

They will also meet next week with the chairmen of the commissions and again the conference of leaders, with consideration being given to the functioning of the committees simultaneously with the plenary sessions.

Another hypothesis under study, explained Maria da Luz Rosinha, will be, in the case of plenary sessions, the distribution of deputies between two spaces of the Assembly of the Republic, such as the Sessions Room and the Senate Room.

"Possibilities are being studied to find other spaces here in the Assembly of the Republic that, simultaneously with the plenary, can welcome deputies, with the appropriate technological means, to allow them to participate, intervene and vote in person", he explained, stressing that remote voting is not considered valid.

However, next week the rules still in force will remain: the plenary sessions are held with a minimum working quorum (46 deputies, one fifth of the total) and, when there are votes, at least 116 parliamentarians must register, they can do it up to an hour before them, to avoid everyone being present in the room at the same time.

Asked about the need for wearing masks in parliament in the future, the deputy of the PS said that the issue "has not been addressed", but admitted that it will be one of the subjects that "will be discussed and addressed in the next meetings".

At the end of the meeting with epidemiologists at Infarmed to take stock of the covid-19 pandemic situation, the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, announced that the state of emergency, which has been in force in Portugal since 19 March, will end on Saturday, 2 May, at midnight.

"Following the decisions of the President of the Republic that there would be no renewal of the state of emergency, the Assembly of the Republic will also give some signs with regard to its functioning", justified the spokesperson of the conference of leaders, in the end of each meeting.

In the plenary session of 6 May, he explained, "each party made an appointment", and the next day, in addition to the biweekly debate, the Government's draft law will also be debated and voted on.

Asked how the functioning of parliamentary committees will proceed, Maria da Luz Rosinha stressed that the President of the Assembly of the Republic, Ferro Rodrigues, left this matter "at the discretion of each president of each committee", with some meetings already taking place in person.

"All of this is very new, the necessary adjustments will be made, always in compliance with the health and safety criteria", she assured.

On 16 March, the leaders' conference approved new rules of operation of the Assembly of the Republic due to covid-19: the plenary started to meet only once a week, instead of the usual three, and with the recommendation that it work with only one fifth of the total of 230 deputies (46 parliamentarians).

It was also decided that parliamentary committees should meet only if necessary, only with the elements of the table and coordinators of each party, and if necessary in rooms larger than usual.

Also at the level of parliamentary officials, there was a substantial reduction in their physical presence in the Assembly of the Republic.

PSD and CDS-PP came to defend greater restrictions on the functioning of parliament, such as the replacement of the plenary by the Permanent Commission (organ that works outside the effective period of parliament), but this position has always been a minority in the leaders' conferences, with the remaining parties to point out that this would not allow the voting of necessary diplomas in this period.


Comments:

Be the first to comment on this article
Interactive Topics, send us your comments/opinion on this article.

Please note that The Portugal News may use selected comments in the printed edition of the newspaper.