Plenary Sitting. Functioning
Last revision: 01/13/2020
The Plenary is made up of all the Senators who have been dully called. It is the most important functional body and, therefore, ultimately decides the majority of procedures, particularly legislative ones. It is also called on to elect members of other bodies, such as the Constitutional Court, the General Council of Judicial Power, the Court of Auditors and others, and jointly with the Congress of Deputies, the Ombudsman.
Plenary sittings are called with an agenda established by the Speaker, in accordance with the Bureau and having consulted the Board of Spokespersons. The Government can include a single priority matter. These sessions are chaired by the Speaker of the Senate, who can be substituted for this purpose by either of the two Deputy Speakers. In this role, the Speaker leads deliberations, maintains order and, if required, takes the relevant disciplinary action.
Plenary sessions are public except in the very specific cases established by the Senate Standing Orders. A certain number of accredited representatives of the media and citizens may attend. They are broadcast on television and on the internet, and recordings and full transcripts are subsequently available in the Journal of Sittings.
The Plenary Sitting normally meets during the periods of sessions for two alternate weeks every month. They start on Tuesdays at four in the afternoon, continuing with morning and afternoon sessions on Wednesdays and Thursdays if required.
The meeting agenda normally includes the following matters:
- Minutes from the previous session
- Motions resulting from an interpellation
- International treaties
Other matters may be included when pertinent, for example the election of members to other bodies, supplications, incompatibilities…