Pursuant to Article 67 of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, the sessions of the Assembly are convened by the President of the Assembly. According to Article 68, MPs must receive the decision for convening a session of the Assembly, together with the proposed agenda and the materials with the proposed questions for the agenda of the session, at least ten working days before the scheduled date for the session. There is a possibility to convene committee sessions and a plenary session on the same day, however, using this possibility should be limited. In accordance with Article 24 of the Law on the Assembly, the President of the Assembly regularly meets every Monday with the vice-presidents and coordinators of parliamentary groups to coordinate the weekly work schedule of the working bodies of the Assembly.
Although these provisions leave a reasonable space for MPs to prepare for the topics to be deliberated during parliamentary sessions, these deadlines are not always respected when scheduling the plenary and committee sessions. The analysis of the quality of debate in 18 parliamentary sessions with focus on 73 different items on the agenda reveals that as of the date of convening until the date of the actual session, either committee or plenary session, in average, MPs have seven days to prepare for the items on the agenda. MPs were provided longest time for preparation with regard to plenary session number 71, where the monitored discussion developed around three items on the agenda: “Proposal for a Law on Financial Stability”, “Proposal for a Law on Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism”, and “Proposal for a Law on Performing Accounting Matters”. Between the date of convening and the actual session, MPs had a total of 19 days to prepare for the session. MPs had the shortest time to prepare for the session number 36 of the Committee on Finance and Budget, when the “Proposal for a law amending the Law on Excise Duties” and “Proposal for a law amending and supplementing the Law on Value Added Tax” were discussed. For this session, MPs had no time to prepare at all between the date of convening and the actual session, i.e., it was convened and held on the same day.
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