Chapter 1 Section 6

The Sessions


Article 57. The National Congress shall meet each year in the Federal Capital, from February 2 to July 17 and from August 1 to December 22.

Paragraph 1. If sessions scheduled for these dates fall on a Saturday, a Sunday or a holiday, they shall be transferred to the subsequent workday.

Paragraph 2. The legislative session shall not be interrupted before the approval of the bill of budgetary directives.

Paragraph 3. In addition to other cases provided for in this Constitution, the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate shall meet in a joint session to:

  1. inaugurate the legislative session;
  2. draw up the common regulations and regulate the creation of services common to both Houses;
  3. take the oath of the President and of the Vice-President of the Republic;
  4. acknowledge a veto and resolve thereon. Paragraph 4. Both Houses shall meet in a preparatory session, beginning February 1 of the first year of the legislative term, for the installation of its members and the election of the respective Directing Boards, for a term of office of two years, the re-election to the same office in the immediately subsequent election being prohibited.

Paragraph 5. The Directing Board of the National Congress shall be presided by the President of the Federal Senate and the remaining offices shall be held, alternately, by the holders of equivalent offices in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Federal Senate.

Paragraph 6. Special sessions of the National Congress shall be called:

  1. by the President of the Federal Senate, in the event of a decree of a state of defense or of federal intervention, of a demand for the authorization to decree a state of siege and the taking of oath and inauguration of the President and the Vice-President of the Republic;
  2. by the President of the Republic, by the Presidents of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Federal Senate, or by request of the majority of the members of both Houses, in the event of urgency or important public interest, approval by the absolute majority of each House of the National Congress being required in all cases referred to in this item.

Paragraph 7. In a special legislative session, the National Congress shall deliberate only upon the matter for which it was called, exception being made for the event mentioned in paragraph 8 of this article, the payment of a compensatory amount by virtue of the special session being forbidden.

Paragraph 8. If there are provisional measures in effect on the date a special session of the National Congress is called, they shall be automatically included in the agenda of the session.

Section 7: The Committees

Article 58. The National Congress and both its Houses shall have permanent and temporary committees, established in the manner and with the incumbencies set forth in the respective regulations or in the act from which their creation resulted.

Paragraph 1. In the composition of the Directing Boards and of each committee, the proportional representation of the parties or the parliamentary groups which participate in the respective House shall be ensured to the extent possible.

Paragraph 2. The committees have the power, on account of the matter under their authority:

  1. to debate and vote on bills of law which, in accordance with the regulations, are exempt from being submitted to the Plenary Assembly, except in the event of an appeal from one-tenth of the members of the respective House
  2. to hold public audiences with entities of civil society
  3. to summon Ministers of State to render information on matters inherent to their duties
  4. to receive petitions, claims, statements or complaints from any person against acts or omissions of Government authorities or entities
  5. to request the testimony of any authority or citizen
  6. to examine construction work programs and national, regional and sectorial development plans and to report thereupon.

Paragraph 3. Parliamentary inquiry committees, which shall have the powers of investigation inherent to the judicial authorities, in addition to other powers set forth in the regulations of the respective Houses, shall be created by the Chamber of Deputies and by the Federal Senate, jointly or separately, upon the request of 1/3 of its members, to investigate a given fact and for a certain period of time, and their conclusions shall, if the case may be, be forwarded to the Public Prosecution to determine the civil or criminal liability of the offenders.

Paragraph 4. During recess there shall be a committee to represent the National Congress, elected by both its Houses in the last regular session of the legislative session, with incumbencies defined in the common regulations, the composition of which shall repeat, to the extent possible, the proportional representation of the political parties.


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