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Functioning

The National Congress works in legislative terms, which last four years. Each year, there is an ordinary legislative session, in two periods: from February 2 to July 17 and from August 1 to December 22. There will be no interruption while the Budgetary Guidelines Bill is not approved.

The extraordinary legislative session occurs whenever the National Congress is convened to deliberate exclusively on the matter that motivated the convocation. If there are provisional measurements in force at that time, they will also be assessed during the call special session. The chances of convening are set forth in the Constitution.

Bodies

To carry out its duties, the Senate is organized in

collegiate bodies. The main ones are the Plenary and the committees.

In the Plenary, the meeting of all the senators takes place. It is the highest instance of deliberation. Its work is directed by the Board (Steering Committee), which is composed of the president, two vice-presidents, four secretaries and four alternate secretaries. All of them are elected for a two year term.

Committees may be permanent or temporary. The permanent ones are defined in the Internal Regulations, which establishes its quantity, composition and thematic area. The temporary ones have their characteristics defined in the respective act of creation.

Among the specific attributions of the committees, we highlight the competence to assess definitely (without the Plenary’s input) some propositions and to investigate certain facts within the scope of the Congressional Investigating Committee.

Among the other bodies of the Senate, there are blocs, leaderships,

Disciplinary board, Complaint Office,  Attorney's Offices, forums, councils, fronts and groups.

 

Get to know the parliamentary blocs and leaderships

Get to know the committees

Get to know the Steering Committee

Follow the Presidency

Get to know the other bodies of the Senate

 

Sittings and Meetings

The legislative works are carried out in meetings in the sphere of

their respective bodies.

Meetings in the Plenary are called sittings , but the Internal Regulations designate preparatory meetings those that occur before the opening of the regular legislative session.

The preparatory meetings are designed to the inauguration of the senators and to the election of the Board in the first year of the legislature and only to the election of the Board, in the third year.

Once a legislative session is opened, it may occur four different kinds of sittings in the Plenary: deliberative, non-deliberative, special and of thematic debates.

The deliberative sittings may be ordinary or extraordinary. The ordinary ones take place from Mondays to Thursdays at 2:00 p.m. and on Fridays at 9:00 a.m., with a previously designated agenda. The extraordinary deliberative sittings may occur at any time and must have an specific agenda in the act of its convocation.

With regard to access, the sittings are usually public, but must be secret when called by the President of the Senate, deliberated by the Plenary or, obligatorily, when considering matters specified by the Internal Regulations.

The appointments to develop legislative work inside de committees are called meetings.  The committees’ meetings cannot coincide with the daily calendar of the ordinary deliberative sittings, at which point the agenda of the Plenary is considered.

The standing committees may work in regular meetings,

at the moments set in the Internal Regulations, or in extraordinary meetings, with specific time and agenda established in the convocation. As for access, the meetings have provisions similar to those at the sittings.

Follow the Meetings

Follow the Plenary’s daily calendar

Take part of interactive meetings