The National Assembly of the Republic of The Gambia is unicameral and consists of 58 members who serve a five-year term. 53 members are directly elected while the remaining five are nominated by the President. Members are elected in single-member constituencies using the simple majority, or First-past-the-post system.
In a bid to ensure the fulfilment of its key functions of legislation, oversight and representation, the National Assembly has over the past years undertaken numerous activities through training of NAM and staff, establishment of inter-parliamentary friendship groups (inter-parliamentary diplomacy), joint partnership Platform with donors and sector ministries and departments, periodic regional outreach forum (social audit), study tours to benchmark international parliamentary best practices etc.
Constitutional Mandate of the National Assembly of the Republic of The Gambia
The constitutional mandate (legislative, oversight and representation functions) of the National Assembly of The Gambia is derived from sections 100, 101 and 102 of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia.
100: The Legislative Power
- The legislative power of the Gambia shall be exercised by Bills passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the President.
- The National Assembly shall not pass a Bill—
- To establish a one party State,
- To establish any religion as a state religion, or
- To alter the decision or judgement of a court in any proceedings to the prejudice of any party to those proceedings or deprive any person retroactively of vested or acquired rights but subject thereof, the National Assembly may pass Bills designed to have retroactive effect.
- Where a Bill passed by the National Assembly is presented to the President for his or her assent, the President shall, within thirty days, assent to the Bill or return it to the National Assembly with the request that the National Assembly reconsiders the Bill, and if he or she requests the National Assembly to reconsider the Bill, the President shall state the reasons for the request and any recommendations for amendment of the Bill.
- Where the National Assembly has reconsidered a Bill as so requested in accordance with subsection (3) and has resolved by a vote supported by not less than two-thirds of all the members of the National Assembly that the Bill, with or without the amendments recommended by the President, be presented again to the President for his or her assent; the President shall assent to the Bill within seven days of it being so presented.
- A Bill which has been duly passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the President shall become law as an Act of the National Assembly and the words of enactment shall be: “Enacted by the President and the National Assembly”
- The President shall cause Acts of the National Assembly to be published in the Gazette within thirty days of assent.
- No Act of thee National shall come into operation until it has been published in the Gazette, but the Act or some other Act of the National Assembly may provide for the postponement of its coming into force.
- Nothing in this section shall prevent an Act of the National Assembly from conferring on any person or authority the power to make subsidiary legislation.
- Introduction of Bills and Motions
- Subject to the provisions of this section, a Bill or motion may be introduced in the National Assembly by a member of the Cabinet or by a member of the National Assembly, and the National Assembly shall give consideration to Bills and motions so introduced.
- No Bill, other than a Bill referred to in subsection (5), shall be introduced into the National Assembly unless it is accompanied by an explanatory memorandum setting out in detail the policy and principles of the Bill, the defects which it is intended to remedy and the necessity for its introduction.
- No Bill, other than a Bill referred to in subsection (5), shall be introduced into the National Assembly unless it has been published in the Gazette, and such published and such publication has been made at least fourteen days before the date of its introduction.
Provided that the President certifies that the enactment of the Bill is required in the public interest as a matter of urgency, the Bill may be introduced notwithstanding that it has not been published fourteen days beforehand, but the Speaker shall, on the introduction of the Bill, cause a vote to be taken in the National Assembly without debate on a motion to give consideration to the Bill notwithstanding that the said period of fourteen days has not expired.
- Without prejudice to the power of the National Assembly to make any amendment (whether by the increase or reduction of any tax or charges, or the amount of any payment or withdrawal, or otherwise), the National Assembly shall not give consideration to a Bill that in the opinion of the person presiding makes provision for—
- The imposition of taxation or the alteration of taxation,
- The imposition of any charge on the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Gambia or the alteration of any such charges,
- The payment, issue or withdrawal from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Gambia of moneys not charged thereon or any increase in the amount of such payment, issue or withdrawal, or
- The composition or remission of any debt due to the Government.
- When a Bill is introduced into the National Assembly, it may be allocated to an appropriate committee for examination, and a report made thereon to the National Assembly.
102: Additional Functions of the National Assembly
In addition to the other powers conferred on the National Assembly by this Constitution or any other law, the National Assembly may
- Receive and review reports on the activities of the Government and such other reports as are required to be made in accordance with this Constitution.
- Review and approve proposals for the raising of revenue by the Government,
- Examine the accounts and expenditure of the Government and other public bodies funded by public moneys and the reports of the auditor General thereon,
- Include in a Bill a proposal for a referendum on an issue of national concern defined in the Bill, or
- Advice the President on any matter which lies within his or her responsibility.