The main bodies of the Shura Council are:
- The Council Chairman.
- The Council Bureau.
- The Council Committees.
The Council Chairman
The chairman of the Shura Council is appointed by royal order for a term equal to the term of the council.
In case of the vacancy of the council chairman office for any reason, the King shall appoint a replacement thereof during three weeks of the vacancy date should the council be within the commencement term, and prior to the meeting of the council should the vacancy occur during vacation.
The council chairman is the person who represents the council in its communications with the other bodies, speaks in the name of the council, oversees all its proceedings and monitors the bureaus and committees thereof. He further oversees the general secretary of the council, while observing in all this the implementation of the provisions of the constitution and laws, and the implementation of the provisions hereof. He may be assisted for this purpose by the bureau body, by the members he selects for such purpose or by one of the committees. He is the person who opens sessions, presides over them, announces the termination thereof and regulates the same, administrates discussions, permits speaking, forwards directed questions and announces the results of polling. He may speak at any time if he deems this useful for the discussion system or for the clarification thereof. He is the person who determines the subject of investigation, returns it back to the irregular speakers thereof, alerts to the preservation of order, and he may explain or enquire in regard to a matter he deems vague, issues subjects to take opinion thereon, announces the resolutions issued by the council, and generally, oversees the good progress of the procedures of the council. The council chairman may participate in discussions, and in this case, he shall relinquish the presidential forum of the council, and may not return back to sit at the presidential forum until the discussion in which he has participated is over.
The council chairman may invite any committee of the council’s committees to commence in order to investigate an important or urgent topic, and he presides over the committees’ sessions which he attends. Correspondences between any committee of the council’s committees and the executive or any other bodies outside the council shall be undertaken through the council chairman.
If the council chairman is absent, the sessions are presided by the first vice-chairman, and should this fail, then by the second vice-chairman, and this also fail in one of the sessions after the opening thereof, such session is presided by the oldest member in age. The session chairman shall have the competencies resolved hereby for the council chairman in the administration of the session. The council chairman may furthermore delegate some of his competencies to one of the two vice-chairmen. In all cases, the first vice-chairman, then the second vice-chairman, shall replace the chairman in all his competencies if the chairman’s absence extends for more than three continuous weeks.
The Council Bureau
The council bureau shall be composed of the council chairman and his two vice-chairmen, in addition to the chairmen of the qualitative committees provided under clauses 1-5 (inclusive) of the first paragraph of article (21) hereof, as soon as they are elected.
The first vice-chairman and the second vice-chairman of the chairman of the Shura Council are elected by subsequence in the first session of the council at the beginning of every commencement term, by the absolute majority of the present members. Should the achievement of such majority fail in the first time, election is repeated between the two candidates having the highest count of votes, and should the candidate with the second highest count of votes be shared by another candidate having the same count of votes, such another candidates is included as a third candidate in the second round of election, where election in this case is undertaken by relative majority. Should more than one candidate obtain an equal relative majority, the council shall make the selection among them by a lot. Candidacies are submitted to the council chairman during the period determined thereby, and should only one candidate run for the vice-chairman office, the council chairman shall announce his election to such office by recommendation. The election process shall be anonymous and held in a public session. The council chairman shall announce the election of the first vice-chairman, then the second vice-chairman of the council chairman. If the place of any of them is vacated for any reason, a replacement thereof is elected in the same manner, during two weeks of the vacancy date.
The council chairman shall inform the King of the constitution of the council bureau immediately following the completion of this constitution.
The council bureau shall be competent to undertake the following matters:
a) to set out an agenda for the sessions of the council, while observing the priority of listing the draft bills referred thereto by the parliament after the competent committees have completed the study thereof, and also the important current topics. The chairman shall announce the agenda and inform the members and the government thereof within sufficient time.
b) to adjudicate in what is referred thereto by the council, as objections to what has been recorded in the sessions’ representations (minutes).
c) to consider the proposal of the annual budget of the council and the proposal of the final account thereof, upon the referral thereof to the bureau by the chairman, prior to the presentation thereof to the council for the approval thereof.
d) to follow-up the proceedings and reports of the council’s committees, and to assist such committees to set out the regulatory rules for the administration of the proceedings and the liaison of the activities’ aspects thereof.
e) to suggest whom it determines to represent the council internally, upon the nomination of the chairman, prior to the presentation of the matter on the council to adjudicate therein.
f) to study the reports submitted by delegations for the missions and visits thereof, prior to the presentation thereof to the council.
g) to exercise the administrative competencies of the council in between the commencement terms, upon the request of the council chairman.
h) to study what is presented by the chairman in regard to cases of the members who do perform their duties or who behave in a way that inconsistent with the dignity of membership, prior to the presentation of the issue to the council to take the appropriate action.
i) to investigate anything the bureau chairman finds it appropriate to take opinion in regard thereof.
The council bureau shall meet upon the invitation of the bureau chairman, and the meetings thereof are deemed correctly convened by the presence of the majority of the members thereof, provided that among them he shall be present the chairman or one of the two vice-chairmen. The resolutions thereof are passed by the majority votes of the present members, and in case of equality of votes, the vote casted by the chairman is considered a conclusive vote for the result of voting. The meetings of the bureau may not be attended by persons other than the members thereof, and the person elected by the bureau shall prepare minutes of the meetings of the bureau’s authority for the important matters which ought to be presented to the council or the various committees. The chairman shall invite the minister competent in the affairs of the Shura Council and the Parliament to attend the meetings of the bureau, at the time of preparation of the council’s agenda. The general secretary of the council may attend the sessions of the council bureau upon the request of the bureau chairman, where in such case, he shall undertake to record the minutes of the bureau meetings.
The general secretary of the council is competent to edit the representations of the bureau sessions and to record the names of the members demanding to speak according to the order of their requests and to embody alerts to preserve order and register polling results, in addition to other matters that the general secretary is requested to undertake by the chairman in regard to the administration of the session.
During the first week of the beginning of the ordinary commencement term, the following qualitative committees shall be formed to study the proceedings falling within the competency of the council:
i) The Committee of Legislative & Legal Affairs, which shall consist of eight members, and is considered competent to consider draft bills and the compliance thereof with the constitution, and shall assist the councils and the other committees thereof in the wording of legislative texts, and is furthermore competent in regard to the members affairs, investigate cases of membership revocation, permission to abate immunity, and all matters that do not fall within the competency of any other committee.
ii) The Committee of Foreign Affairs, Defense and National Security, which shall consist of seven members, and is considered competent to study the international stance, the development of international policy, the foreign policy of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and international agreements and conventions. It is further competent to study all affairs concerning internal security, crime suppression and the foreign security of the state.
iii) The Committee of Financial and Economic Affairs, which shall consist of eight members, and is considered competent to study constructional projects of economic and social development included within the state’s budget, economic plans, and giving comments in regard thereto. It is furthermore competent to study the financial and economical aspects concerning the proceedings of the ministries and various interests, especially the balances and closing accounts of the state.
iv) The Services Committee, which shall consist of seven members, and is considered competent to undertake the matters of education in all the types and stages thereof, vocational training and illiteracy elimination, and the subjects concerning social, cultural and health services, media and labor-related issues.
v) The Committee of Public Facilities and Environment, which shall consist of seven members, and is considered competent to study subjects concerning housing, post, electricity, water, agriculture, transportation, roads, municipalities and the environment.
The council may constitute further permanent qualitative committees during the time period stipulated in the first paragraph, or temporary committees, and all this according to the work need and within the competencies limits thereof, provided that the number of members in any of such committees shall not exceed seven, and it may set out for each committee any special provisions it deems appropriate in regard thereto. The temporary committee shall be dissolved at the end of the purpose for which it was originally constituted.
The bureau chairman shall receive, at the beginning of the ordinary commencement term and in the time he shall determine, members’ requests to join the membership of the committees. The bureau chairman shall undertake the coordination between such requests in accordance with the rules and regulations he shall determine.
The member shall participate in one of the permanent qualitative council committees provided under the first paragraph of article (21) hereof, and he may participate in another one permanent committee of such committees which the council may constitute.
The council bureau shall announce candidacy lists for committees’ memberships prior to the presentation thereof to the council. Every member may submit his suggestions or objections in written form to the council chairman to be presented to the bureau for the consideration thereof. The chairman shall present the lists to the council according to what the bureau has concluded after the study of the objections and suggestions submitted by the members. Discussion in the council shall be limited to the rules and regulations adhered by the council bureau in this regard, and such lists are deemed valid once they are approved by the council.
Each committee shall elect among its members a chairman and a vice-chairman, by the relative majority according to the number of its members. Should votes become equal, selection among them is determined by a lot. The secretariat of the committee shall be undertaken by one of the general secretariat employees, and the committee bureau shall be composed of the chairman and vice-chairman. The first meeting of the committee, at the beginning of the commencement term, shall be presided by oldest member in the committee, and then candidacies are submitted in written form thereto during the period determined by the council. The chairman shall announce such candidacies of the members of the committee. Elections among the candidates shall be held by anonymous polling under the supervision of a committee formed by the council bureau, composed of committee members other than those running for candidacy for the offices of committees’ bureaus. Should no members run for candidacy more than the required number, the candidates are announced elected by recommendation. The council chairman shall announce the result of the election of committees’ bureaus, and inform the Cabinet of such result.
The council vice-chairman shall preside over the committee sessions attended thereby.
The committee meetings are not deemed duly convened without the presence of the majority of committee members. Resolutions are passed by the majority of the attendants, and should votes be equal, the vote casted by the chairman is considered a conclusive vote for the result of voting. Should the majority of the committee be absent from a session, the committee chairman shall adjourn the meeting to a next session he determines, and notwithstanding this, in cases the council resolves to consider as matter of urgency, the convention of the committee may be adjourned to another time in the same day, while the committee members are informed of such time. The committee is deemed duly convened in the adjourned session by the attendance of one third of committee members, and should quorum fail, the committee chairman shall refer the issue to the council chairman. The committee may be assisted in the proceedings thereof by one or more of council’s experts or employees. It may furthermore request, through the council chairman and via the competent minister, the assistance of one or more of the government’s experts or employees, and the committee may furthermore be assisted by independent experts after the approval of the council chairman, where no one of such persons may participate in voting.
The committees shall undertake the investigation of whatever draft bills, suggestions or subjects falling within the activities of the ministries, and that are referred to the committees. The committees must collect all data and information concerning the subjects referred thereto to enable the council to establish its opinion in a subject after the discussion thereof. It may, for such purpose, request, through the council chairman and via the competent minister, public ministries, interests, organizations and authorities to provide it with the data and information it deems necessary for the study of the subject referred thereto. Such bodies shall provide what they are asked before the committee drafts its report by sufficient time.
The committee of legislative and legal affairs shall be informed of all draft bills submitted by the government or laws proposal submitted by the members, and it shall inform the competent committee of its comments at the time that the council chairman shall determine.
If the presented matter is connected to more than one committee, the council shall specify the committee that shall undertake the study thereof, or refer it to a joint committee consisting of more than one committee. The committees that participate in the investigation of one subject may convene joint meetings between themselves after informing the council chairman of such action, and in such case, the meeting shall be presided by the oldest committee chairman of such committees, or one of the two vice-chairmen. For the joint meeting to be duly convened, the majority of every single committee must be present as a minimum. The resolutions of the joint committee are passed by the approval of the majority of present members.
Should one of the committees believe that is competent to consider a subject that has been referred to another committee or that is not competent to consider a subject that has been referred thereto, it shall inform the council chairman of such situation for the presentation thereof to the council to make a determination in regard thereto.
The chairman of each committee shall undertake the proceedings of such committee, assisted by the committee secretary. In the case of absence of the committee chairman, he shall be replaced by the committee vice-chairman, and should this fail, then by the oldest member of such committee.
The committee bureau set outs it agenda based upon the suggestion of its chairman.
A committee shall meet upon an invitation of its chairman or of the council chairman, and shall be invited to commence if such is requested by the majority of its members. The committee invitation shall be prior to the commencement time thereof by at least twenty four hours, and the members and the general secretariat of the council shall be informed of the agenda of the committee’s meeting. The council’s adjournment of the sessions thereof does not prevent the committees to commence to complete whatever proceedings they may have, and the council chairman may invite the committees to convene between commencement terms, if necessary, or upon the request of the government of the committee chairman.
The sessions of the committees are confidential, and minute for each meeting shall be edited wherein it is to be recorded the names of the present and absent members, the summary of discussions and the texts of resolutions, and then signed by the committee chairman and its secretary. A copy of the minutes of the committees’ meetings shall be deposited at the council chairman office and both offices of the two vice-chairmen. Every member of the council may attend the meetings of committees, notwithstanding the fact that he is not a member of such committee, provided that the committee consents on such attendance, and provided that he may not intervene in discussion and voting, and may not given a comment unless he is asked by the committee to do so. Every member may send his opinion in written form in regard to a subject referred to a committee he is not a member therein, to the committee chairman to present such opinion to the committee. The committee may allow him to attend the session it determines to explain his point of view without participating in discussion or voting. Every member of the council members may have access to the minutes of the committees.
The competent minister may attend the committee’s sessions whenever a subject concerning his ministry is being considered, and he may be accompanied by one or more of the senior experts or competent employees, or to delegate any of them to act on his behalf. The minister and the persons accompanying him shall have no voting rights. Their opinions shall be recorded in the report. The committee may request, through the committee chairman, the attendance of the competent minister to investigate the matter presented thereto, where in such case, the minister or his proxy shall attend the session.
The priority of speech in the committees’ meeting shall be for the representatives of the government, then to the members of the committee, and then for the submitters of the suggestions referred thereto. In regard to the order of speech in the committees’ sessions, the rules resolved therefore in regard to the council’s sessions will apply, which do not contravene with the provisions stipulated in regard to committees herein.
The committee shall submit to the council chairman a report about each subject referred thereto, summarizing therein its proceedings, within the period the chairman shall determine, unless the council determines otherwise. Should delay reoccur in submission of the report within the time designated therefore, the council chairman shall present the matter to the council in the first following session, whereby the council may grant the committee a new deadline or refer the subject to another committee or to decide to adjudicate in the matter directly. The committee’s report shall consist of a statement of the procedures and opinion thereof in the subject referred thereto, the reasons relied upon in its opinion, the opinion of the committee or the committees from which it has received comments and the entirety of the other opinions raised during the meetings of the committee regarding the subject, and furthermore, the written opinions and suggestions that the committee was informed thereof. The committee’s report shall be accompanied with the texts of the subject proposals and legislations of the report with the explanatory memorandums thereof, if any. Each committee may request the council chairman, through its chairman or the subject resolver to return the report thereto should the council has started consideration if it appears what necessitates such request, unless the council resolves otherwise.
At the end of the discussion of the subject referred to, the committee bureau shall select one of its members to be a resolver of the subject, and to explain its opinion therein before the council, and shall also select an alternative resolver to replace the original resolver whenever absent, and should the alternative resolver be absent of the council’s session, the chairman thereof may ask the committee chairman or one of the present members thereof to undertake the explanation of the report on the behalf thereof.