Over Half of MPs Absent – National Assembly Adjourns Proceedings
The Gambia National Assembly proceedings could not be held today for various factors including, some lawmakers being absent, others on tour with president Adama Barrow’s ‘Meet the People’s Tour,’ while others were reportedly ill.
On Monday, Gambian parliamentarians debated President Barrow’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered last week.
The debate gave lawmakers a chance to ask questions and seek clarity on some of the areas addressed by the president. A debate on the President’s address usually lasts for two weeks.
But on Tuesday, there were not enough Members of Parliament to proceed with the debate that started the day before. As usual, the Speaker of the House sought guidance from the forward-looking directive that applies to all cases pending before the Gambian Parliament.
Part of the standing order reads, “The presence of at least one-half of all members shall be necessary before the commencement of sittings. If there is not a quorum present when the speaker takes the chair at the appointed time, immediately after prayers, the speaker shall direct members to be summoned by the ringing of their parties in attendance.”
However, “if after the expiration of two minutes, one-half of the members are not present, the speaker shall defer commencement to a later time, not exceeding one hour, or the Assembly shall remain adjourned until the next sitting day.”
The Speaker had no option but to stick to the rules and adjourn the sitting.