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22 AUGUST 2019

XIII LEGISLATURE

Dictionary of terms

General terms

Absolute majority.

Rule for the adoption of an agreement by virtue of which over half of the rightful members of the House or Committee must vote in favour.

Abstention

Manifestation of will expressed in a ballot or voting procedure in which a member of parliament, without avoiding an issue, decides to vote neither for nor against a motion.

Acceptance or rejection of amendments

Stage of parliamentary debate of a motion in which the author of the motion accepts or rejects any amendments presented by other members

Affiliated staff

Staff from the General State Administration service units who are posted to the House for the performance of security functions and others not attributed statutorily to Parliamentary Civil Service units. Said staff, regardless of their permanence in their original units in the situation of active service, will report, to all intents and purposes, to the Speaker and the Secretary General of the House.

Agenda.

List of matters which a parliamentary body will examine at a meeting. The agenda is established prior to a meeting, thereby avoiding matters being raised by surprise or without the knowledge of any of the members of the House. The drafting and any modifications made to the agenda are extremely important because it determines the priority given to the different initiatives currently being debated. In the Senate, the agenda for Plenary Sittings is established by the Speaker in accordance with the Bureau, having consulted the Board of Spokespersons. The representative of the Government can include a single priority matter. The agenda for Committee meetings is established by their Speaker, having consulted the respective Bureau and taking into account the schedule of the House. A third of the members of a Committee can include a single priority issue.

Agreements between Self-Governing Communities.

Agreements between Self-Governing Communities are instruments of regional cooperation. They are examined by Parliament. Agreements reached between Self-Governing Communities that pertain to the management and provision of services within said Communities must be communicated to Parliament so that the Houses are aware of them. In other cases, cooperation agreements will require Parliamentary authorisation.

Amendment.

Proposal for modification formulated by members of Parliament or Parliamentary Groups by virtue of which the aim is to suppress, add or alter a section or fragment of a parliamentary bill. In the case of legislative bills, amendments must be congruent and fulfil the formal requirements of presentation demanded by the House Standing Orders.

Assent.

Means of adopting agreements within parliamentary bodies, which involves the Speaker of the corresponding body announcing the agreement reached without the members present raising objections or opposition.

Assent (voting).

Procedure whereby a proposal is approved if, once it has been announced by the Speaker of the sitting, there is no opposition voiced by the members in attendance.

Association of European Senates.

Inter-parliamentary cooperation forum in which the Speakers of the Senates from the European Member States participate. It aims to develop relationships of cooperation between its members, to promote bicameralism within the framework of parliamentary democracies and to strengthen European identity and awareness.

Authorisation of international treaties.

Function attributed by the Constitution to Parliament in the conclusion and denunciation of international treaties (sections 93 and 94.1 of the Constitution).