In quest of an effective discussion
Key constraints about the freedom of speech exercised from the parliamentary stand
On three occasions in recent years (2008, 2010 and 2013), the parliamentary political parties voted to amend the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly thereby significantly restricting the freedom of discussion by members of Parliament. Such constraints equally address the duration of the speech acts as well as their frequency, and refer to constrains applicable both to the plenary meetings and committees’ hearings. The procedural changes over the years have created circumstances of extensive regulation, which greatly affect the quality of the discussion in the Assembly as well as the capability of the legislature to effectively perform the role of a controller of the operation of the executive branch. Thus, further inequality between the executive and legislative powers in the Republic of Macedonia was extended, thereby disentitling the Assembly to effectively participate in the adoption of legislation and policy making. This brief on public policy, studies the impact of the amendments to the Rules of Procedure, which affect the quality of discussion rendered in the Assembly. We consider the different restrictions on various parliamentary procedures to have adverse effects on the development of the quality of discussion, inter-parliamentary democracy and comprehensive quest of a consensus on pertinent issues, as a principle of an inclusive and democratic decision making. Rather, we propose to have the sections of the Rules of Procedure which address the restrictions on speech acts re-examined, and to provide for such provisions so as to enable circumstances that will generate greater quality of discussion in the Assembly as a significant factor in the quality, legitimacy and effectiveness of the legal acts and the parliament decisions. In the design of the recommendations, the example of the Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia was considered, whose procedural provisions, unlike the Macedonian ones, to a greater extent facilitate the development of a parliamentary discussion.
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