No problems foreseen with quorum during Sixth Parliament

15 Jan 2015 12:20pm
WINDHOEK, 15 JAN (NAMPA) – Parliament Liaison Officer, David Nahongandja said he is confident that the amendments made to the Namibian Constitution last year will ensure that the issue of a lack of a quorum will not resurface during the sittings of the Sixth Parliament.
Members of Parliament (MPs) of the Sixth Parliament will be sworn-in around 20 March this year. The issue of a lack of a quorum has been a thorny matter in previous National Assembly gatherings, where important debates often had to be postponed and delayed because legislators were absent.
A quorum is the minimum number of members needed to conduct official business in a deliberative assembly.
“In previous parliaments, we often struggled to reach a quorum especially during the months of September, October and November, because most international parliamentary organisations hold their meetings during those months. But I think this quorum issue has now been dealt with through the changes that were made in our laws last year,” he said.
Nahongandja explained that given the increase in the number of National Assembly legislators from 78 to 104, changes had to be made to the Namibian Constitution to introduce a two-tiered quorum process.
With the change in the law, a minimum 53 MPs will be required for any voting to take place in the National Assembly. This number excluded the Speaker or presiding member.
“However, for any normal discussion when no voting is to take place, 28 members of the National Assembly shall be regarded as sufficient for the purposes of a quorum. It is important for parliament to always have a quorum, which was not always the case in the past, particularly because ministers often travel out of town on official duties,” he stated.