About the Assembly
The National Assembly of Seychelles is the Legislative branch of Government and is a unicameral Parliament consisting of only one House.
The Constitution of the Third Republic of Seychelles provides for the establishment of the National Assembly, its composition, the election of Members and bestows upon the institution, the legislative power, to make and pass laws.
On the 12th September, 2016 the 5th National Assembly was dissolved. This happened in accordance with Article 106 (2) (b) of the Constitution of Seychelles. It was recorded that the Assembly will meet again once a Proclamation published in the gazette to summon its first meeting has been done by the President, in line with Article 107 of the Constitution.
Following the Proclamation made by President James Michel, in the Official Gazette of Monday the 19th September, 2016, the 6th National Assembly of Seychelles convened for its first meeting of its Sixth Session on Tuesday 27th September, 2016 at the National Assembly building, Ile Du Port.
The Assembly currently comprises of 33 Members, of whom 25 are directly elected to represent Constituencies and 8 are proportionally elected.
The Functions of the National Assembly
The functions of the National Assembly of Seychelles include making and passing laws, taking up a critical oversight role to check on the actions, state finances and policies of the Executive.
Only the National Assembly has the power to pass laws for every Seychellois and every person on the territory of Seychelles.It does that in two ways: passing laws proposed by the Executive and amending the constitution where necessary. Any change to the Constitution must be approved by the National Assembly.
Although the Assembly carries out its Parliamentary Business in a number of ways, such as debating Motions and addressing Questions to Ministers and scrutinising the national Budget, a large part of the oversight work also takes place in the work of Standing and Select Committees.
Procedures in the National Assembly
The National Assembly functions in line with the Standing Orders which regulate the details of its operation, such as how debates are to be conducted and how order is maintained. Meetings of the Assembly are chaired by the Speaker or Deputy Speaker or, in their absence, by a Member elected by the Assembly. The Speaker or Deputy Speaker remain in office until after new legislative elections are completed and a new Speaker is elected.
Members of the Assembly take an oath of allegiance before taking their seats and they are guaranteed freedom of speech in the Assembly and whatever they say cannot be the subject of action in any court. This improves the debates in that it guarantees that Members say what they need to say without fear of action by anybody who feels disturbed by what the Member has stated and provides them with the space to carry out their role of Representation and speaking on behalf of citizens. Members also have a number of protections, called privileges and immunities to ensure that they carry out their duties without constraints.
The Assembly also operates through Committees. These are appointed from among Members at the start of each Session of the Assembly, or at any other time agreed by the Members. Committees that continue for the whole duration of the Assembly are called Standing Committees and the Committees that are temporary are called Select Committees. Assembly Committees have the same power as the Supreme Court to summon and examine witnesses.
Sessions and Dissolution of the National Assembly
The period in which the National Assembly is in between elections is called a Session. Every term the Assembly meets during a session, it is called a Meeting and every day’s work is called a Sitting.
A session of the National Assembly begins with the President summoning its first meeting. A session of the National Assembly may be dissolved before the 5-year term for which it has been elected and this can be done at any time either by the President or by the Assembly itself.
The Speaker is the head of the Legislative branch of Government and is the presiding officer of the National Assembly. He is also the administrative head of the Institution.
The Clerk of the National Assembly is the Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the Secretariat and serves as the principal adviser on parliamentary procedures and practices. The Clerk guides and directs all departments within the Secretariat to provide specialist advice in relation to the House’s proceedings and parliamentary support services.
The Secretariat of the National Assembly is the impartial administrative body led by the Clerk. The Secretariat provides necessary services to allow the Assembly to function properly and efficiently in all matters connected with its procedures and parliamentary practices.
The Secretariat also organizes the Assembly’s Business and proceedings, and the works undertaken by its Committees and other international Parliamentary Associations.
The Secretariat aspires to deliver a service that adheres to the highest ethical standards, is impartial and apolitical, and above ll upholds and maintains the dignity of the House in the execution of its Constitutional duties and responsibilities.
The mission of the Secretariat is to ensure the efficient functioning of the National Assembly by:
- Providing professional support to the National Assembly;
- Providing timely, accurate, honest and impartial advice to the Office of the Speaker and to the National Assembly and its Committees;
- Maintaining a high standard of service delivery to the National Assembly and its Members;
- Establishing and nurturing a well-organised working environment where the values and ethics of the National Assembly are upheld;
- Providing opportunities for further professional development of staff of the Secretariat to ensure the continuous development and capacity building of the Institution;
- Encouraging a culture of operational efficiency where staff are encouraged to develop self-discipline, motivation and responsibility;
- Establishing and consolidating links with the Parliamentary Services of other Parliaments so as to ensure the highest standard of capacity building;
- Maintain the National Assembly precincts and its physical resources to provide a safe and secure working environment for the Members and staff.
The National Assembly’s values include;
- Mutual respect
Our Emblems and Symbols
The official motto of the National Assembly is ‘Unity in Diversity’. In an institution like the National Assembly, the Parliament of the country; differences in opinions will always exist, but such differences should, rather than divide, unite us. It is simply through unity in diversity, that the institution will remain strong, and fulfil its constitutional role to ensure stability and prosperity for the country.
The Building & Pillars
The building is represented in the logo by the two pillars, which represents the two political forces in the country- the Government and the Opposition. Both political forces support the Seychellois nation, represented in our logo by the building’s crown.
In between the two pillars, is a book which represents the Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles; the supreme law of the land. The Constitution reminds us that as citizens of Seychelles and Members of the National Assembly, we must always respect the rule of law. It is the Members’ duty to defend and uphold the Constitution of the Republic.
The Colours of the National Flag
The colours of the National Flag of Seychelles are represented in the land on which the building stands.
The Coco-de-Mer surrounds all the aforementioned elements, and represents a unique element of our islands. At the bottom we see two Coco-de-Mer Palm leaves, each facing in opposite directions. This illustrates that in nature, it is only when we have two opposing forces; positive and negative; that a balance is maintained.
The Third Republic & the Archipelago
1993, is the year in which the Third Republic came into being and thus the National Assembly was created. The Seychelles is an archipelago of 155 islands, illustrated by the 155 spikes surrounding the logo.
The National Assembly Mace
The Mace is the Symbol of the Speakers’ authority and impartiality. It is carried into the Chamber by the Sergeant at Arms, who is the custodian of the Mace.
In the National Assembly of Seychelles the Mace is placed upright in a special wooden stand on the Speakers’ own right. By Convention, the Assembly cannot proceed unless the Mace is present in the Chamber. The National Assembly Mace is made of ‘Bwa Nwar’ and at the top of the Mace is an open book which represents the Constitution of Seychelles with the Preamble engraved on it. The open book rests on a Coco De Mer which in turn rests on a drum like wooden bust with the crest of Seychelles engraved on the front. The Mace of the National Assembly was designed and built by Mr. Colin Dyer, a former Member.