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6 JUNE 2020


Dictionary of terms

General terms

Observance of the Constitution.

Promise or oath made by members of parliament to respect and abide by the Constitution. The act of observance is an indispensable condition required by the House Standing Orders to be a member.


Behaviour of a member of parliament aimed at impeding the discussion and processing of matters or the adoption of agreements within parliamentary bodies, on occasion through the abuse of regulatory means and resources available to members. Examples of parliamentary obstruction are: abuse of the turn-taking; reiterated or unjustified petitions of quorum to deliberate and vote; requests for roll-call ballots; or absenteeism which prevents the reaching of the quorum required for the adoption of agreements.

Official Bulletin of Parliament (BOCG).

Official publication featuring bills put forward by parliamentary members (Senators, Deputies, Parliamentary Groups) and decisions reached by parliamentary bodies (Plenary, Committees, Bureau, etc.), both parliamentary and administrative in nature. It is divided into three sections: Congress of Deputies, Senate and Parliament.

Official publications.

Within the sphere of parliament, official publications are the Official Bulletin of Parliament (BOCG), which in turn is divided into three sections (Parliament, Congress of Deputies and the Senate), and the Journal of Sittings. All official publications can be viewed on the webpage. See "Official Bulletin of Parliament" and "Journal of Sittings”.

Official trip.

Trip made by a member of parliament, a parliamentary delegation or a body of the House to attend official events or meetings, which might be national or international in nature.

Official visit.

Visit made to the House by members of parliament, delegations or authorities from other countries, as part of official public acts and meetings.

Opening of the sitting.

Act performed by the Speaker, during a Plenary Sitting or a Committee Meeting, indicating that the relevant body is beginning its agenda and that, therefore, everything that is done, said or agreed thereafter will be recorded and have legal validity.

Oral question in Plenary Sittings.

Questions that require an oral response in a Plenary Sitting must contain the strict formulation of one question only. The inclusion of questions in the agenda is carried out by means of a quota system for each Parliamentary Group. There is the possibility of replacing the questions presented with others pertaining to matters agreed by the Council of Ministers or matters of particular urgency or topicality. Questions are formulated from the member's seat. Firstly, the member asking the question speaks, formulating the question for response by a member of Government. The member then has a turn to reply, and the member of Government has another turn to formulate a rejoinder. In the Senate, each of the intervening parties has three minutes in total to make use of the two turns described above.

Oral question within a Committee.

Questions to be answered orally within a Committee must fulfil the same requirements as oral questions raised at a Plenary Sitting, although they are not subject to a timescale for formulation. In the Senate, once they have been classified by the Bureau and after seven days from their publication, they can be included in the agenda of the Committee. The time slots allocated to each turn on the floor are longer than responses in Plenary Sittings. Only Ministers and Secretaries of State may appear in order to respond to these kinds of questions.