PARLIAMENT

Composition of Parliament

ARTICLE 51.         
There shall be a Parliament of Guyana, which shall consist of the President and the National Assembly.

ARTICLE  52.     
(1) Subject to paragraph (2) and to articles 105, 185 and 186, the National Assembly shall consist of sixty-five members who shall be elected in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution and, subject thereto, in accordance with any law made by Parliament in that behalf.
(2) If any person who is not a member of the National Assembly is elected to be Speaker of the Assembly, he shall, by virtue of holding the office of Speaker, be a member of the Assembly in addition to the members aforesaid.

ARTICLE  53.         
Subject to article 155 (which relates to allegiance, insanity, and other matters) a person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly if, and shall not be so qualified unless, he

(a) is a citizen of Guyana of the age of eighteen years or upwards; and
(b) is able to speak, and, unless incapacitated by blindness or other physical cause, read the English language with a degree of proficiency sufficient to enable him to take an active part in the proceedings of the Assembly.

ARTICLE  54.         
Members of the National Assembly shall vacate their seats in the Assembly in the circumstances set out in article 156.

ARTICLE  55.         
Whenever elections have been held pursuant to the provisions of article 61, the National Assembly shall hold its first meeting at the time appointed under article 69 (1), and any reference in this Constitution to the National Assembly meeting for the first time after any election shall be read and construed as a reference to such first a meeting.

ARTICLE  56.     
(1) When the National Assembly first meets after any election and before it proceeds to the despatch of any other business, elect a person to be the Speaker of the Assembly; and, if the office of Speaker falls vacant at any time before the next dissolution of Parliament, the Assembly shall, as soon as practicable, elect another person to that office.
(2) The Speaker may be elected either from among the members of the Assembly who are not Ministers of Parliamentary Secretaries or from among persons who are not members of the Assembly but are qualified for election as members.
(3)  When the National Assembly first meets after any election and before it proceeds to the despatch of any other business except the election of the Speaker, the Assembly shall elect a member of the Assembly who is not a Minister of a Parliamentary Secretary to be Deputy Speaker of the Assembly; and if the office of Deputy Speaker falls vacant at any time before the next dissolution of Parliament, the Assembly shall, as soon as convenient, elect another such member to that office.
(4) A person shall vacate the office of Speaker of Deputy Speaker if required to do so by article 157 (which relates to loss of qualification for election as a member of the National Assembly and other matters).

ARTICLE  57.     
(1) There shall be a Clerk and a Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly, and appointments to those offices shall be made by the President acting in accordance with the advice of the Speaker.
(2) The tenure of office and terms of service of the Clerk and Deputy Clerk and other matters relating thereto shall be regulated by article 158.

ARTICLE  58.     
(1) Any person who sits or votes in the National Assembly, knowing or having reasonable ground for knowing that he is not entitled to do so, shall be liable to a penalty of fifty dollars for each day upon which he so sits or votes.
(2) Any such penalty shall be recoverable by civil action in the High Court at the suit of the Attorney General.

Elections

ARTICLE  59.         
Subject to the provisions of article 159, every person may vote at an election if he is of the age of eighteen years or upwards and is either a citizen of Guyana or a Commonwealth citizen domiciled and resident in Guyana.

ARTICLE  60.     
(1) Elections of members of the National Assembly shall be by secret ballot.
(2) Subject to the provisions of article 160 (2), fifty-three members of the National Assembly shall be elected in accordance with the system of proportional representation prescribed by article 1 60 (1).
(3) On such day as the President may by proclamation appoint, being a day which he considers to be as early as practicable after an election of members of a regional democratic council has been held in consequence of a dissolution effected under the provisions of article 73 (2), the council shall elect one of its members to serve as a member of the National Assembly.
(4) On such day as the President may by proclamation appoint, being a day which he considers to be as early as practicable after an election of members of the National Congress of Local Democratic Organs has been held in consequence of a dissolution effected under the provisions of article 80 (2), the Congress shall elect two of its members to serve as members of the National Assembly.

ARTICLE  61.         
An election of members of the National Assembly under article 60 (2) shall be held on such day within three months after every dissolution of Parliament as the President shall appoint by proclamation:

Provided that no balloting commenced during the period of three months aforesaid, performed before the day so appointed, and pursuant to which the votes of any person registered as electors are cast at the election, shall be deemed contrary to the requirements of this article by reason only that such balloting has been so performed.

ARTICLE  62.         
Elections shall be independently supervised by the Elections Commission in accordance with the provisions of article 162.

ARTICLE  63.         
Parliament may make provision for the filling of casual vacancies among the seats of members of the National Assembly and for other matters relating to election of members of the Assembly in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (2) and (3) of article 160.

ARTICLE  64.         
All questions as to membership of the National Assembly shall be determined by the High Court in accordance with the provisions of article 163.

Powers and Procedure of Parliament

ARTICLE  65.     
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament may make laws for the peace, order and good government of Guyana.
       
Amended by Act No. 1 of 1988 by insertion as follows:

(2) The validity of any law under this Constitution with effect from a date earlier than the day on which this Constitution commenced shall not be called in question in any court or tribunal on the ground that it contravenes, or is inconsistent with, any provision of any constitution which was in force in Guyana at any time before the day on which this Constitution commenced.

ARTICLE  66.         
Subject to the special procedure set out in article 164, Parliament may alter this Constitution.

ARTICLE  67.     
(1) The President may at any time attend and address the National Assembly.
(2)  The President may send messages to the National Assembly and any such message shall be read, at the first convenient sitting of the Assembly after if is received, by the Prime Minister of by any other Minister designated by the President.

ARTICLE  68.         
All other matters concerning Parliament (including the procedure thereof) shall be regulated by the provisions of articles 165 to 172 (inclusive).

Summoning, Prorogation and Dissolution

ARTICLE  69.     
(1) Each session of Parliament shall be held at such place within Guyana and shall begin at such time (not being later that six months from the end of the preceding session if Parliament has been prorogued or four months from the end of that session if Parliament has been dissolved) as the President shall appoint by proclamation.
2)  Subject to the provisions of the preceding paragraph, the sittings of the National Assembly shall be held at such time and place as the Assembly may, by its rules of procedure or otherwise, determine.

ARTICLE  70.     
(1) The President may at any time by proclamation prorogued Parliament.
(2) The President may at any time by proclamation dissolve Parliament.
(3)  Parliament, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date when the Assembly first meets after any dissolution and shall then stand dissolved.
(4) During any time when the President considers that Guyana is at war Parliament may from time to time extend the period of five years specified in the preceding paragraph by not more than twelve months at a time:

Provided that the life of Parliament shall not be extended under this paragraph by more than five years.

(5) If, after a dissolution and before the holding of an election of members of the Assembly, pursuant to the provisions of article 61, the President considers that owing to the existence of a state of war of a state of emergency in Guyana or any part thereof, it is necessary to recall Parliament, the President shall summon the Parliament that has been dissolved to meet, but the election of members of the Assembly shall proceed and the Parliament that has been recalled shall, if not sooner dissolved, again stand dissolved on the day before the day on which the election is held.