Updated on 16/08/2021
“In the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate.”
These Articles of Procedures are issued to regulate the internal affairs of the Wolesi Jirga pursuant to articles 87, 88, 89, 106, 108, and 109 of the Constitution of Afghanistan.
The definition of words and expressions used in these Articles of Procedure shall be understood as follows:
- Jirga: The Wolesi Jirga (WJ).
- Session: The total sittings of the Jirga of WJ consisting of a four and a half month-period based on article 107 of the Constitution.
- Articles of Procedure: Internal Articles of Procedure of the WJ.
- Administrative Board: The Speaker, the First and Second Deputy Speakers, the Secretary, and the Deputy Secretary in accordance with article 87 of the Constitution.
- Member: A Member of the WJ.
- Constitution: The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
- Bill: Legislative proposal which is transmitted by the Executive to the National Assembly for consideration and/or approval according to article 95 of the Constitution.
- Members’ Bill:Legislative proposal which is initiated by Members of the WJ in accordance with article 95 and last paragraph of article 97 of the Constitution.
- Government Statements: Issues which are presented to the plenary sessions as per the request of the government.
- Hearing: listening to the report presented by the government to the plenary or commissions upon the request of the Jirga.
- Questioning: Oral or written questions which are asked by the Members from the government in the Commissions or in the plenary and which require responses from such officials.
- Interpellation: The process of requiring Ministers to provide an explanation of their action in accordance with article 92 of the Constitution.
- Vote: The expressed opinion which approves, rejects, or abstains on an issue.
- Majority Vote: The greater number of votes in comparison to the other votes on a particular issue or person. Abstentions and null votes are not counted as part of the majority.
- Total Majority Vote: The votes of 50 per cent plus one of total Members of the Wolesi Jirga.
- Present Majority Vote: the votes of 50 per cent plus one of Members in the Jirga present at the time of the vote.
- Original (Net) Salary: This is the amount of salary which is paid on a monthly basis to every Member, subtracting deductions.
The First Session of the National Assembly
After the official announcement of the election results and the information about convening of the inaugural session, including the date and location of such inaugural session, having been published in the mass media by the Secretariats of the Assembly, the joint session of the National Assembly shall be inaugurated officially by the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
- At the first sitting of the Jirga, the oldest Member, who is not a candidate for the position of Speaker, shall be appointed as Pro Tem Speaker.
- The oldest Member shall present his or her identity card to the Secretary General in order to be appointed Pro Tem Speaker. The national identity card (Tazkara) shall determine the age of the Member.
- If there are two or more Members of exactly the same age, the Pro Term Speaker shall be appointed by lottery.
- The two youngest Members of the Jirga, who are not candidates themselves, shall be appointed as Deputy and Secretary to the ProTerm Speaker.
- The method of election of the Secretary and Deputy to the Pro Term Speaker of the Jirga shall be in accordance with clauses 3 and 4 of this article.
No discussion or debate shall take place during the inauguration ceremony.
The Provisional Speaker may not himself or herself be a candidate for the position of the Speaker of the Jirga. The duty of the Provisional Speaker is only to preside and supervise the election for permanent Speaker of the Jirga.
In the presence of the President of the Islamic Republic, the Pro Term Speaker and Members of the Jirga shall take the following oath:
“In the name of God Almighty, the most gracious and most merciful,
…. I do swear in the light of Islamic virtues and the values of the Constitution, in order to uphold national unity and national interests without any discrimination, that I shall discharge my duties in a faithful manner.”
Election of the Speaker and the Administrative Board
Under the chairmanship of the Pro Tem Speaker, the Speaker of the Jirga shall be elected by the Present Majority and by secret ballot, for the term of the legislature, as follows:
The Pro Term Speaker shall read out the list of candidates and give permission to each of the candidates to deliver a five-minute speech.
In case a candidate withdraws, he or she shall inform the Pro Term Speaker in writing before voting starts.
After the speeches, the Provisional Speaker shall announce the beginning of the vote.
If none of the candidates wins the Present Majority of votes in the first round, a second round shall be held between those two candidates who obtained the most votes in the first round; the one who wins the Present Majority of votes in the second round shall be elected.
- After the election of the Speaker of the Jirga and under his or her leadership, two Members shall be elected as First and Second Deputy Speakers and two other Members shall be elected as Secretary and Deputy Secretary by majority vote for a period of one year.
- In case none of the candidates wins in the first round, a second round shall be held between those two candidates who obtained the most votes in the first round; the one who wins the Present Majority in the second round shall be elected.
In case neither of the candidates wins in the second round, the voting shall be held between them for the third round, and the candidate who gets the Present Majority of votes shall be declared the winner.
If neither of the abovementioned candidates wins the Present Majority in the third round, the voting shall start again, and previous candidates do not have the right to compete in the new round.
- After the election of the Administrative Board, the Speaker of the Jirga shall notify the President of such election in writing.
In the event of resignation or death of the Speaker of the Jirga, another Member shall be elected for the remainder of the legislative tenure. In the event of resignation or death of the First or Second Deputy Speaker or of the Secretary or Deputy Secretary of the Administrative Board, another Member shall be elected for the remaining period.
The Speaker and Administrative Board members can be removed from their positions by the proposal of one-third and approval of two-thirds of all the Members of the Jirga and after the final decision of a competent court in following circumstances:
- Commission of treason
- Commission of crimes against humanity
- Suffering from an incurable disease that prevents the performance of his or her duties.
Structure, Duties and Powers
The Jirga shall have an Administrative Board, a Committee of chairs, Commissions, Parliamentary Groups, and a Secretariat.
The Administrative Board of the Jirga shall consist of the Speaker, the First and Second Deputy Speaker, the Secretary and Deputy Secretary, in accordance with article 87 of the Constitution.
The Committee of chairs shall be composed of the Administrative Board of the Jirga, Chairs of Standing Commissions, and Chairs of Parliamentary Groups.
If necessary, the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs may attend the meetings of the Committee of chairs.
The Speaker of the Jirga shall have these duties and authorities:
- Administering the Session of the Jirga with full neutrality and presiding over the Committee of chairs and Administrative Board.
- Enforcing disciplinary measures to maintain order of the session.
- Exemplifying and preserving the prestige of the Jirga within and outside the country.
- Signing all contracts with legal entities after the approval of the plenary session.
- Proposing the appointment of grade A employees to the President of the Islamic Republic.
- Recruiting and changing the other staffs of the Secretariat in accordance with the provisions of law.
- Supervising and monitoring the implementation of the budget of the Jirga.
- If necessary, participating in the meetings of Commissions and supervising their performance.
- Receiving reports from Commissions.
- Signing letters in the name of the Jirga.
The duties and authorities of the Deputy Speakers shall be as follows:
The First Deputy Speaker shall carry out the duties and authorities of the Speaker when the latter is
absent; in the presence of the Speaker, he or she shall carry out the duties assigned to him or her by the Speaker.
The Second Deputy Speaker shall assume the duties of the Speaker when the Speaker and the First Deputy Speaker are both absent; in their presence, he or she shall carry out the duties assigned to him or her by the Speaker
The Duties of the Secretary shall be as follows:
- Assist the Speaker in conducting the sittings.
- Confirm to the Speaker of the existence of a quorum during sittings.
- Count and verify the outcomes of votes.
- Record the minutes and prepare the official report of plenary sittings of the Jirga, in Dari and Pashto, to be signed by him or her and countersigned by the Speaker.
- Prepare and submit the official enactments of the Jirga for publication in the Official Gazette.
- Register Members in the Speaker’s list of presentations.
- Other duties assigned by the Speaker.
Duties and authorization of the Deputy Secretary shall be as follows:
- Assist the Secretary and carry out his or her duties when the latter is absent.
- Manage the properties and assets of the Jirga.
- Edit the transcripts of debates of the plenary session.
- Register Members in the Speaker’s list of presentations.
- Other duties assigned by the Speaker.
The duties of the Committee of chairs shall include the preparation of the work plan and agenda of the plenary session, preparation of work schedules of Standing Commissions, and the approval of procedures and regulations of the internal administration of the Jirga.
The Secretary General of the Jirga shall be at the top of the administrative and executive affairs and he or she shall carry out his or her duties under the supervision and direction of the Speaker.
The Members of the Jirga may organize themselves into Parliamentary Groups according to shared opinions and affinities.
The minimum number of Members of the Jirga required to form a Parliamentary Group shall be 23; each Member can be a member of only one Parliamentary Group at a time. Each Parliamentary Group shall have a Chair, Deputy, Secretary, and one Assistant.
- The Parliamentary Group shall be introduced to the Speaker of the Jirga through a list which contains the names of the Members and Chair along with the signature of each person.
- None of the Parliamentary Groups can be formed contrary to the objectives of the Constitution.
- Changes in the composition of a Parliamentary Group, including the joining, separation or withdrawal of Members or Chair of the group shall be communicated to the Administrative Board after obtaining the signatures of the majority of the members of the group.
- If a member of a Parliamentary Group resigns, the issue shall be communicated to the relevant group and the Administrative Board of the Jirga.
A Parliamentary Group may hire a person as an assistant to carry out its affairs. The salary and other privileges of the assistant shall be paid through the Secretariat.
The Speaker of the Jirga shall specify the sitting chairs of the hall with the mutual understanding of the Chairs of Parliamentary Group and non-affiliated members in proportion to the number of their members.
The organizational structure, procedures, duties, and election of the administrative board of Parliamentary Groups shall be provided for in an additional regulation.
Standing Commissions and Joint Commissions
The Wolesi Jirga shall have the following Standing Commissions:
- Commission on International Affairs
- Commission on Internal Affairs, (Internal Security, Border Control, National Security and Local Administration)
- Commission on Defence and Territorial Affairs
- Commission on Finance, Budget, Public Accounts and Banking Affairs
- Commission on Complaints and Petitions
- Commission on Legal Affairs
- Commission on Women’s Affairs, Civil Society and Human Rights
- Commission on Judicial, Justice, Administrative Reform and the Fight Against Corruption
- Commission on National Economy, Non-governmental Organisations, Rural Development, and Agriculture and Animal Husbandry.
- Commission on Counter-Narcotics, Toxic Substances and Immorality
- Commission on Transport, Telecommunications, Urban and Housing Affairs, Water and Power Supply and Municipal Affairs
- Commission on Religious and Cultural Affairs, Education and Higher Education
- Commission on Health, Sports, Youth, Labour and Workers
- Commission on Disabled, Martyr’s Dependants and Widows
- Commission on Nomads, Tribal Affairs, Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s)
- Commission on Natural Resources and Environment
- Commission on Immunities, Rights and Privileges of Jirga Members
- Commission on Central Investigation and Overseeing the Implementation of Law
The list of Members of the Jirga, who registered their names for their preferred Commissions, shall be announced by the Administrative Board in a plenary session and shall be approved for a legislative period.
Each Member shall select a Commission that is relevant to his or her experience and profession.
The membership of a Member may be changed from one Commission to another upon the request of such Member and the consent of the majority of members of both Commissions.
Each Member of the Jirga can only be a Member of one Commission at a time. By invitation or permission of other Commissions, a Member of a Commission may attend other Commissions’ sessions but without
the right to vote. Such Member, by the consent of the Chair of the Commission, may express his or her views.
Each Standing Commission shall be comprised of 10 to 25 Members of the Wolesi Jirga.
At its first meeting, under the leadership of its oldest Member who himself or herself is not a candidate for the position of Chair, each Commission shall elect, for a period of one year, its Chair, Deputy Chair, and Secretary by a Present Majority vote of its Members.
Before end of the tenure, the Administrative Board of the Commission may be elected by the proposal of one-third of Members and approval of two-thirds of Members.
The Commissions shall have the following duties and powers:
- Review draft bills referred by the Speaker of the Jirga.
- Propose amendments to draft bills.
- Prepare and present reports and recommendations to the Jirga.
- Conduct and process all other affairs which are under the jurisdiction of the Jirga according to the Constitution.
- If necessary, the Commissions may call on social institutions, including national and international non-governmental organizations, for questioning and hearings.
The Commissions shall have the right to put questions to each of the Ministers and other individuals who are mentioned in clause 11, Article 64 of the Constitution about specific issues within their jurisdiction. The Minister concerned shall provide a written or oral answer during the session of the Commission as required.
Each Member shall be present at all Commission sessions and participate actively in sub-Commission activities. In case a Member is prevented from reporting for duty by sickness or other compelling circumstances, such Member shall duly report his or her absence to the Chair of the Commission by any possible means.
The quorum for a valid Commission decision shall be majority of its Members, and decisions shall be approved by majority of the Members present.
If a bill covers issues falling within the area of jurisdiction of more than one Commission, the Speaker of the Jirga shall refer it to the Commission within whose jurisdiction the principal issues falls.
After the approval of each proposed bill , it shall be referred by the Chair of the Commission to one of the Members of the Commission who shall be the reporter.
When selecting a Member as reporter, his or her professional expertise shall be taken into account in accordance with the needs of the bill.
The agenda of Commissions’ sessions shall be set by the Administrative Board of the Commission.
Before the end of each session of the jirga, each Commission shall present a report of its work within fifteen minutes in the plenary session.
Standing Commissions may set up sub-Commissions to examine special issues.
If it is required, a Standing Commission may create joint provisional Committees. The number of Members of these joint Committees shall not exceed 21.
The creation of joint Commissions and their membership list shall be approved by the Jirga.
Special Commission to Investigate Government Action
The Jirga shall have the power to establish a Special Commission, upon a proposal by one-third of its Members, for the purpose of investigating Government actions in accordance with article 89 of the Constitution.
The Special Commission shall be composed of at least 21 Members.
The composition of this Commission shall represent the composition of the Jirga. The list of Members must be approved in plenary session of the Jirga.
At its first session, the Special Commission to Investigate Government Actions shall elect its Chair, Deputy Chair, and Secretary of the Commission by majority of its Members who are present in the session.
The Jirga shall issue instructions defining the scope and subject matter of the Special Commission’s mandate.
The quorum of the Special Commission shall be the majority of its Members and decisions shall be taken and approved by majority of the Members present.
The work of the Special Commission shall end as soon as the investigation procedure concerned is closed; the maximum duration for an investigation procedure shall not exceed 6 months.
This duration may be extended by the Jirga based on the request of this Commission if needed. The Special Commission shall submit the report of its study and investigation to the Jirga.
The Agenda of the Plenary Session of the Jirga
The agenda of the plenary session of the Jirga includes the following two segments:
- Government related business,
- Jirga related business.
Government business includes bills, resolutions, and other motions, including approval of appointments, in accordance with the Constitution, which are introduced on behalf of the Government by the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs.
Jirga business includes all affairs within the jurisdiction of the Jirga as enshrined by the law.
The working agenda of the Jirga is arranged by the Committee of chairs.
On the proposal of the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, the Committee of chairs determines the order of Government business in plenary sessions.
According to article 97 of the Constitution, the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs shall, on behalf of the Government, determine the priority of bills initiated by the Government, particularly treaties and development plans, in the agenda of the plenary session of the Jirga.
The Plenary Sessions of the Jirga and Organisation of Debates
The term of both sessions of the Jirga is nine months per year divided into two working four and a half months sessions, unless it is deemed necessary to extend the sessions in accordance with the provision of article 99th the constitution.
The period for summer and winter recess are from 15th of Jauza (5 June) to 1st Asad (July 23) and from 15th Qaus (6 Dec) to 1st Dalwa (20 Jan) of each year, respectively.
Plenary sessions are held during specified time in accordance with the determination of the Committee of chairs.
According to the suggestions made by the Speaker of the Jirga, Chairs of Parliamentary Groups, and Chairs of the Commissions, the session can also be held during unofficial time.
The Jirga session shall begin with the recitation of the Holy Quran.
The Speaker shall start the business of the session by stating the following sentence:
“In the name of Allah, most merciful most compassionate”
The Speaker shall close the sitting with the following sentence:
“Their ultimate prayer is praise be to God, Lord of the Universe”.
When the Jirga decides to hold a sitting in camera, the Speaker shall order the public and press galleries and hallways to be cleared and doors closed.
Only the Secretary General and other persons specially authorized by the Administrative Board of the Jirga are admitted to the session.
The Secretary reads the agenda at the beginning of every session.
Members of the Jirga shall observe the following rules during the session:
- Always speak from his or her designated chair and shall not pass in front of Member who is speaking,
- Maintain silence,
- Shall not speak without getting permission from the Speaker,
- No discussion shall take place beyond the subject matter,
- Shall not utter seditious or defamatory words or make use of offensive or un-parliamentary expressions or words which may offend the sensitivities of any person,
- Shall not threaten each other either verbally or physically,
- Shall not grant interviews during a general session,
- Shall turn off their phones and not use their computers during the plenary. Article 47
Every Member of the Jirga, who wishes to express his or her opinion, raises his or her hand and the Secretary notes his or her name. Later on, the Secretary announces the name of a Member who has been registered and, with the permission of the Speaker of the Jirga, such Member begins speaking.
Every Member can speak once on one issue during a plenary session. A second chance will be given to him or her only when there are no other Members who registered to speak.
A Member speaks for 3 minutes in accordance with the agenda, and during his or her speech shall not speak beyond the scope of the subject being discussed.
Whenever a Member deviates from the issue, the Speaker of the Jirga shall bring this to the Member’s attention.
If the Member considers his or her speech related to the matter and continues speaking, the Speaker of the Jirga draws the attention of the Members of the Jirga and asks the Member who is speaking to conclude his or her speech immediately.
If the Member who is speaking continues his or her speech as before, the Speaker of the Jirga shall stop such Member’s speech and allow another Member to speak on the matter.
Whenever a Member misconstrues the statement of another Member, the latter can get permission to speak from the Speaker of the Jirga without waiting for his or her turn but may speak only once.
If Ministers, Chairs, Reporters of Commissions, and other government officials seek to speak, they shall be allowed to do so.
The Speaker of the Jirga, before the end of a session, informs the Members about the agenda of the next session.
Even when a matter is beyond the subject being discussed, the Speaker can, in urgent cases, demand its inclusion in the agenda and, if is approved by a majority of the Jirga, the matter is included in the agenda and debate over the issue begins immediately.
Every Member shall have the right, in the course of the debate, to present reasonable objections.
The objection is deemed reasonable when the action objected to is contrary to the provisions of the Constitution and the Articles of Procedures of the Jirga.
The objection shall not be beyond the agenda being discussed.
No Member shall deliver his or her personal views under the pretext of an objection.
The objecting Member shall raise his or her hand, addressing the Speaker of the Jirga by saying:
“I have a reasonable objection.”
The Speaker of the Jirga shall give him or her permission, out of turn, to voice the objection in line with the Constitution or in line with the Articles of Procedure of the Jirga.
The Committee of chairs shall organise the debate so as to allocate speaking time to Parliamentary Groups and to independent Members in proportion to their number and their presence in the Jirga.
The Chairs of Parliamentary Groups shall include the names of those Members who wish to speak on a list, which is presented to the Speaker of the Jirga by the Secretary.
According to the agenda, the aforementioned list is read along with the specific time given to each Member.
Members shall not speak for more than the time allotted to their group.
Once the group has used up its speaking time, no other Members of the same group shall be called to speak.
Publication and Observers
The proceedings of the session shall be broadcast live by radio and television unless, in specific cases, the Jirga decides otherwise.
The Jirga shall have its own publication, in which the debates and approvals of the Jirga shall be published without any changes.
The Jirga may publish its decisions concerning national and international issues as a declaration in the media.
Observers can attend sessions of the Jirga in the following manner:
A) Cards shall be distributed in accordance with the number of special seats to the observers.
B) Priority shall be given to those who have applied first.
Observers shall refrain from any action that may cause disturbances to the session. They shall refrain from applause, conversation, or interference in Jirga affairs.
Observers do not have permission to communicate from their special seats to Members of the Jirga in the session hall. Likewise they are not allowed to converse with Members within the session hall and its corridors while the session is going on.
Voting is the personal right of each member
Voting shall be public during plenary sessions unless the nature of the matter requires its secrecy. Public voting shall be performed by raising hands or cards or by standing and sitting, or by electronic means, while secret vote shall be through paper ballot.
- If 10 Members express their doubt about the result of a vote by raising of hands, the Speaker shall request the Jirga to vote by standing and sitting. If doubt remains, voting shall then be in public by casting paper ballots in the ballot box.
- Upon the request of 10 Members and approval of the Present Majority, voting can be held in secret in any instance.
- No Member can vote after the counting of votes begins.
- No one shall be given permission to speak during voting.
- After announcement of the voting’s result, another debate cannot be held over an approved subject. Article 66
Each Member shall personally put a ballot paper into the ballot box, under the supervision of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of the Jirga and with the assistance of the staffers of the General Secretariat.
A green paper is an affirmative vote, red is a negative vote, and white is an abstention.
No more than one paper ballot per Member shall be put into the ballot box. A Member cannot transfer his or her right to vote to another person.
The ballot boxes must be brought to the rostrum of the Jirga and the Speaker, who orders that the boxes be opened by using the following words:
“Open the boxes”.
During the opening process of the ballot boxes, no one shall be given permission to speak.
The Speaker shall announce the result of the ballot as ascertained by the Secretary and Deputy Secretary.
The Speaker can take part only in a secret vote, unless otherwise provided in these Articles of Procedures
On the written request of one-third of the present Members of the Jirga and approval of two-thirds of the total Members of the Jirga, a matter that has already been approved can be amended or abrogated.
According to the provisions of the Constitution, approval of a subject requires the Present Majority of the Members. The Present Majority can be ascertained by reference to the number of total ballots used.
The public vote is performed in the following manner:
- The Secretary announces the beginning of the vote and asks Members to be seated in their own seats.
- The Secretary counts the number of present Members in the Hall, and also announces the number of the present majority.
- Voting begins thereafter. When the votes are equal, the Speaker’s vote shall determine the result.
The Speaker of the Jirga has the duty to control and maintain order of plenary sitting.
Members of the Jirga are subject to disciplinary measures if they committed any of the following offences:
- Disregard for the internal rules and procedures of the Jirga;
- Absence or lack of punctuality, tearing up documents in a sign of objection, provocative and irrelavant slogans;
- Leaving the session without reasonable excuse, quarrels and physical fighting, or causing chaos and riot in the session;
- Intimidation and threatening of a Member, defamation and accusation of others, insult and disrespect for the Administrative Board, government officials and the staffers of the general secretariat;
- Engagement in other employment contrary to the provisions of article 152 of the Constitution. A. In case of violations of the tenets of the above mentioned article, the following disciplinary measures shall be taken:
- Publication of the name of offending Member in the Official Journal of the Jirga,
- Exclusion of the offending Member from the session of that day. Implementation of disciplinary measures stipulated in the preceding paragraph is under the authority of the Speaker of the Jirga. B: The suspension of an offending Member for more than one day for any violation is implemented upon the recommendation of the Administrative Board and approval of the Jirga. Article 71
If the offending Member tries to enter the Jirga by force before the period of exclusion is finished, the Administrative Board shall prevent him or her from entering the Jirga and disciplinary measures against him or her shall be doubled based on the decision of the Jirga.
Proposals for the Confirmation or Rejection of Appointees
(Vote of Confidence)
The President of the Republic or one of his or her Vice Presidents officially introduces members of the cabinet to the Jirga.
Biographies, copies of citizenship papers, and evaluated educational documents and work experiences of proposed members shall be submitted to the Jirga at least 4 days in advance by the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs.
The Wolesi Jirga approves the number, powers, and duties of ministers.
Other officials enumerated in items 11 and 12 of article 64 of the Constitution are introduced following the above procedure.
The vote on the appointment of Ministers and other officials enumerated in items 11 and 12 of article 64 of the Constitution shall be direct, secret, and individual.
Each Minister and each of the officials enumerated in items 11 and 12 of article 64 of the Constitution shall come to the session and explain their work plan.
If a Minister has dual citizenship, the Jirga shall decide on the matter.
- One Member from each Standing Commission and one Member from each Parliamentary Group, after being registered by the Administrative Board, may deliver brief professional questions to, and get answers from, Ministers and other officials enumerated in items 11 and 12 of article 64 of the Constitution.
- After questioning Ministers and other officials enumerated in items 11 and 12 of article 64 of the Constitution, voting shall begin and the result is announced on the same day.
- Each question shall not exceed 2 minutes and the total time of answers shall not exceed 30 minutes.
If a proposed Minister or any official mentioned in items 11 or 12 of article 64 of the Constitution is rejected by the Jirga, the same person cannot be re-appointed to the same post.
Processes of Legislation
Introduction of Bills
- The Government may introduce a bill either on its own behalf, signed by the Minister concerned, or, in the area of jurisdiction concerning the judiciary, on behalf of the Supreme Court, signed by the Minister of Justice, through the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, together with a statement explaining the reason for its introduction to the Jirga.
- Ten Members of the Jirga may also introduce a bill by notifying the Speaker of the Jirga. The notification shall be accompanied by a copy of the bill, together with an explanatory statement signed by the Members. Article 78
- The Speaker, based on paragraph 3 of article 97 of the Constitution, shall refer the bill within one month to the Committee of chairs for inclusion in the agenda of the plenary.
- The Speaker of the Jirga may invite the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and the Minister to whom the bill relates to formally introduce the bill to the plenary session.
- Bills introduced by the Government or by Members shall be registered, tabled, and announced at the sitting of the Jirga.
- There shall be no debate during the introduction of the Bill. After introduction of the bill, the Speaker shall refer the bill to the relevant Standing Commission. Article 79
Based on clause 6 of article 97 of the Constitution, during the introduction of a bill, the Government, the Chair of a Standing Commission, the Chair of a Parliamentary Group, or ten Members of the Jirga may request the Jirga to take up a bill for immediate consideration.
If a majority of the Members of the Jirga approves the request, the bill is put into the agenda.
Legislative Processes in Standing Commissions
The relevant Commission shall approve the bill, which has been referred to it by the Speaker of the Jirga, in 20 days.
If required, the main Commission may invite the proponent of the bill for explanations.
The Chair of the Commission shall designate a Reporter for each bill.
The Reporter shall prepare his or her report, which contains the amendments, additions, and modifications, and shall send a copy of the Bill to other Commissions and Parliamentary Groups.
Other Commissions and Parliamentary Groups may propose their amendments within the timeframe requested by the main Commission.
The main Commission shall determine a date for the compilation of amendments made by other Commissions and Parliamentary Groups, and the Reporter of each Parliamentary Group and Commission will participate in the sitting of the main Commission. Other Commissions and Parliamentary Groups shall send their amendments in writing.
The main Commission shall debate and compile the proposed amendments referred to the main Commission by other Parliamentary Groups and Commissions.
The compiled bill shall be referred to the plenary session by the Committee of chairs for approval.
Legislative Proceedings in Plenary Session
In the plenary session, only those articles over which one or more Commissions have disagreements with the main Commission shall be debated. The other articles shall not be debated and they shall only be recited and approved.
In case any articles of the bill was reported against the decision of the main Commission, the incorrect report will be brought to the attention of the Jirga by the Commission’s Reporter.
The government’s budget, after it has been approved by the Meshrano Jirga, is handed over to the General Secretariat of the Jirga. After incorporating the remarks of the Speaker of the Jirga, it is forwarded to the Commission on Finance, Budget, Public Accounts and Banking Affairs, for technical analysis.
A copy of the budget is handed out to all Commissions through the Commission on Finance and Budgeting. Each Commission in accordance with the provisions of these rules is instructed to attach (include) its analysis and evaluation and present its related conclusion through its Reporter to the Commission on Finance on Budgeting for the purpose of consolidation.
The government budget shall be arranged by the Ministry of Finance in book bound form.
The Commission on Finance and Budgeting, after consolidating all analytical reports sent by other Commissions and Parliamentary Groups, shall present the government budget to the plenary session for debate and voting.
Only Reporters of Commissions, Chairs of Parliamentary Groups, Chair and Reporter of the Commission on Finance and Budgeting, the Finance Minister, and government’s experts are allowed to debate.
Until the annual budget report of the government is finalized in the plenary session in accordance with article 98 of the Constitution, there shall be no debate over the government’s budget.
Relations between the Wolesi Jirga and the Meshrano Jirga
The text of a bill approved by the Wolesi Jirga shall be submitted to the Meshrano Jirga.
If one Jirga rejects the bill approved by the other Jirga, a Joint Committee composed of an equal number of Members from each Jirga shall be formed to resolve the differences, in accordance with article 100 of the Constitution.
Members of the Joint Committee are selected upon the recommendation of the relevant Standing Commission and approval of the plenary session.
The introduction of the members of the Joint Committee to the Meshrano Jirga shall be processed in one week after receiving the suggestion.
The first session of the Joint Committee shall be convened and chaired by its oldest Member to elect its Chair and Deputy Chair.
The Committee shall elect its Chair and Deputy Chair accordingly so the Chair shall be from one Jirga and the Deputy Chair from the other, in accordance with the provisions of these Articles.
The Joint Committee shall conduct its discussions about the proposed bill in accordance with the procedure laid down for Legislative Commissions. If the bill is from the Government, the Minister who proposed the bill may be present.
Parliamentary Oversight, Statements of the Government, Privileged Hour, Questions and Discussions outside the Agenda
1) Request for Statements by the Government
The Government can request to make a public statement on specific or important issues with or without debate before the Jirga.
In the event of statements with debate, the debate shall be organized in accordance with Articles 48, 49 and 50. The Minister speaking on behalf of the Government shall be given the floor at the end of the debate in order for him or her to respond to the questions of members who have spoken in the debate.
2) Privileged Hour
Every week, there shall be a Privileged Hour for free discussion on topics not included in the agenda, on a day fixed by the Speaker.
Any Member may speak on any matter of general interest. If more than one person wishes to speak, they shall apply in writing to the Speaker.
3) Oral Questioning
The day and time for oral questioning of Ministers and officials enumerated in item 11 of article 64 of the Constitution shall be determined by the Committee of chairs.
A separate notice of each question shall be given in writing to the Speaker of the Jirga two days in advance, and shall specify the name of the author and the Minister to whom it is addressed.
Each Member may ask only one oral question at the same session.
The Speaker shall call the Members in the order in which their names appear on the list of questions.
During questioning, the Member shall not speak for more than five minutes and the Minister to whom a question is addressed, or the Minister responding on his or her behalf, shall respond in no more than ten minutes.
4) Written Questions for Written Answers
Written questions for written responses from an official shall be drafted briefly.
Questioning shall not contain personal allegations against any specific individual.
Members wishing to table written questions shall convey them to the Speaker of the Jirga who shall notify the Government.
Written questions and the answers of the responsible official shall be published in the Official Journal of the Jirga.
Until they are given in the session, the Minister’s written answers are confidential and shall not be made accessible to the media.
Questioning shall be governed by the following conditions:
- The question shall be to the point, specific and limited to the issue.
- The question shall not be ironic and defamatory and shall avoid abusive statements.
- The question shall not touch upon the character or the conduct of any person except in his or her official or public capacity.
- The question shall not have a hypothetical basis.
- The question shall ordinarily not exceed 150 words. Article 98
At the end of the questioning, the Minister or his or her representative who is invited to the sitting, as per their wish and with the permission of the Speaker of the Jirga or the Chair of the Commission, may stay to follow the rest of the sitting.
According to article 92 of the Constitution, upon the proposal of twenty percent of all Members, the Jirga may decide that an inquiry on a Minister be initiated.
The proposal shall be conveyed to the Speaker of the Jirga and included in the agenda by the Committee of chairs.
The Minister shall appear at the session according to the agenda and respond to the questions. If the responses obtained are not satisfactory, the Jirga may pursue a vote of no-confidence.
The vote of no-confidence on a Minister shall be precise, direct, and based on justifiable reasons.
This vote shall be issued by the total majority.
If more than one Minister is being interpellated, the reasons for of interpellation shall be separate for each of them.
The Jirga may also interpellate the officials mentioned in item 11 of article 64 of the Constitution observing the same provisions on the interpellation of Ministers.
During interpellation, each questioner may speak for at most ten minutes and the Minister for at most one and half hours.
The Wolesi Jirga supervises the activities of the Judiciary.
If the Lower Jirga receives a complaint about the Chief Justice or one of the Supreme Court members or one of the Judges, then the Wolesi Jirga through its concerned Commission can request a written response from the Supreme Court regarding the complaint.
The Supreme Court can present a written or oral response to the subject in question.
If the complaint is made by one or more MPs, the given answers are debated in the appropriate Commissions in the presence of aforementioned MP(s).
If the complaint is about judges rather than members of Supreme Court, which, according to article 133 of the Constitution has the authority to investigate the case, the Court shall investigate and then inform the Wolesi Jirga about the results of the investigation through the relevant investigators.
If the Supreme Court dismisses a Judge or makes a decision on his or her dismissal, the issue of his or her dismissal shall be published in the Official Journal of the Jirga.
In accordance with article 127 of the Constitution, when more than one-third of the Members of the Jirga demand the trial of the Chief Justice, or a member of the Supreme Court, he or she will be informed about the specific charge of the accusation in writing.
After he or she is notified about the accusation, the Committee of chairs informs the accused person about the date of his or her summoning to the Jirga, and he or she shall be summoned within a maximum of 15 days after notification of accusation.
The accused person shall be present in the plenary session of the Jirga on a specified date, and shall defend himself or herself against the accusation. During his or her statement, no other questions shall be asked from him or her.
The accused person, after his or her statement, shall leave the session, and consequently the voting process starts, and if two-thirds of the Wolesi Jirga Members approves the accusation, the accused is dismissed from his or her post and a special court is established for inquiry of the crime in accordance with the law.
Reports of Debates
In accordance with the constitutional principle that sessions of the Parliament shall be open to the public, the debates in the plenary sittings of the Jirga shall be reported verbatim and in extenso in the Official Journal of the Jirga, except when the Jirga decides to hold a sitting in secret.
The Official Journal shall mention the agenda of the session, the Reports of the Commissions, and any other information on parliamentary activities.
The Secretary of the Jirga is responsible for overseeing the publication of these reports.
Chapter Twenty One
Complaints and Petitions
Complaints and petitions received by the Complaints and Petitions office shall be registered and referred to the Commission on Complaints and Petitions for further examination.
In accordance with the law, the Commission may forward the complaint or petitions received to the authority concerned for further investigation, or summon the person authorised by the Government to one of its meetings in accordance with the provisions of these Articles of Procedure.
The complaints received may directly be referred to the ministries and independent directorates.
If necessary, the Commission on Complaints and Petitions may set up an Investigation Committee in order to examine the complaint or petition received.
If the complaint or petition of a complainant produces a result that solves a problem or administers justice, the proceeding of such an event shall be published in the official Journal of the Jirga, unless the complainant disagrees.
Chapter Twenty Two
Presence and Absence
Every Member is obliged to represent his or her constituents by regular attendance in the plenary and Commission sessions.
In case a Member is not able to attend the plenary or Commission session, because of some justified reasons, the Member shall inform the administrative board of the Jirga or his or her relevant Commission through any possible means.
Before the official announcement of the sessions’ conclusion by the Speaker of the Jirga, Members may not leave the session without a reasonable excuse unless in the form of an objection.
A Member shall inform the Administrative Board of the sickness that prevents him or her from attending the session.
The arrangement of Members’ attendance registration is conducted by the Administrative Board in the plenary and in the Commission’s session by the Commission’s secretary.
In case of a Member’s unjustified absence in the plenary or in the Commission session, the net salary of the Member is reduced on a pro-rated basis.
If a Member cannot attend the session because of some engagement in relation to his or her duty or a legal holiday, his or her salary may not be deducted.
These engagements include national and international travel in relation to his or her duty or those duties to be performed at the time that sessions are being conducted in the Capital.
- If a Member does not attend the plenary or the relevant Commission session for one month, his or her net salary may not be paid.
- If a member does not attend the plenary or the relevant Commission session for two successive months, according to the report of the Administrative Board, the issue of his or her absence shall
- be assessed by the Rights, Privileges and Security Commission. The Commission shall present its proposal to the plenary and the Jirga may pursue a proper decision about the Member in accordance with article 108 of the Constitution. Article 124
The arrangement and monitoring of this chapter’s provisions are the responsibility of the Commission of Rights, Privileges and Security of Jirga Members.
Chapter Twenty Three
After accomplishing the Parliamentary Elections, the Independent Election Commission shall deliver the assurances of the Members of the Wolesi Jirga to the Secretariat of the Jirga.
Unless, for exceptional reasons, the Jirga decides otherwise, the session hall shall be used for holding sessions only.
The following people have permission to enter the session hall:
- Secretary General
- Deputy Secretary General for Parliamentary Affairs, in case of Secretary General’s absence
- Director of Parliamentary Affairs
- Chief of Staff of the Office of the Speaker of the Jirga
- Director of Research Services
- General Manager of the session
- General in charge of Commissions
- Manager of Technical Department of Recording
- Manager of Session
- In Charge of Security, who is recruited for this purpose
- In Charge of Maintenance and Monitoring
- Commission Assistant, during the report of the relevant Commission to the plenary Article 128
The following people may enter the plenary session hall by the permission of the Administrative Board:
- Deputies of the President
- Members of the cabinet
- Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs
- Other officials and persons who are invited Documents and Records
All documents and records related to the Jirga’s completed business shall be sent to the special parliamentary archive for upkeep and protection.
The Jirga may approve its own official seal.
Chapter Twenty Four
The budget of the Jirga shall be prepared by the Committee of chairs in consultation with the Government and, after the approval of the Jirga, shall be considered as part of the government budget.
According to Article 67 of these Internal Rules of Procedure, changes, amendments, deletions and additions may be made to these internal Articles of procedure.
To contribute to international relations, the Jirga shall form Parliamentary Groups to establish relations with the parliaments of friendly countries.
The composition, authority and activities of the friendly groups between the parliaments are provided for in a separate procedure.
These Articles of Procedures shall be enacted after the approval of the plenary and published in the Official Journal of the Jirga and Official Gazette of the Ministry of Justice.
Additional Amendments to WJ Internal Rules of Procedure
Approval No. (5) Dated: 09 February, 09
Amendment to paragraph 2 of Article 82:
The articles agreed upon by the joint sessions of the commissions, shall be subject to voting without reciting and debates.
Amendment to paragraph 1 of Article 94:
In every plenary session, prior to debate over the specified agenda, there shall be half an hour Privileged time for discussion over free matters and topics not included in the agenda.
Additional Paragraph to Article 111:
The administrative board of the commissions shall present the weekly working report of the commission to WJ administrative board in writing on the last day of the week.
The secretary or deputy secretary shall recite the brief report of the commissions to the plenary session on Saturday.
Additional Paragraph to Article 117:
A member can request a leave of fifteen days due to sickness or any needs, within a legislative session of four and half months.
Sickness proved by presenting certificates from clinics as well as maternity leave for women are an exception.
Additional Paragraph to Article 119
The request for leave shall be presented to the WJ secretary, in writing.
Amendment to Article 121
In case a member’s absence in a plenary session or commissions’ sessions exceeds five days, without a justifiable reason, the salary for the absent days shall be deducted and his/her name shall be announced through media, at the end of every week; he/she shall be excluded from the foreign trips for that session.
The delegation that travels abroad shall present its report to the administrative board of the Jirga, in writing.