An act is a legal rule which is adopted by the legislative power, and which applies to all citizens after promulgation by the Grand Duke and publication in the Mémorial (Luxembourg Official Gazette).
An amendment is a proposal which is initiated either by the government or by a deputy, aimed at amending a government bill or a private member’s bill while it is being examined by a committee or in plenary session.
Bureau (Executive Office) of the Chamber of Deputies
The Bureau (Executive Office), elected by the Chamber, consists of the President, three Vice-Presidents and up to seven members. The Secretary General is part of the Bureau (Executive Office) but is not entitled to vote. The Bureau (Executive Office) represents the Chamber at a national and international level and deals with financial and organisational matters regarding the deputies, the Parliament, and its bodies. It also manages the Chamber’s affairs and takes all the decisions regarding staff organisation and discipline.
The Chamber’s sessions are public unless the majority of the members of Parliament decide otherwise. In this case, the Chamber sits with closed doors and the session is held in secret.
Conference of Presidents
The committee known as the ‘Conference of Presidents’ decides on matters regarding the organisation of parliamentary work, proposes the Chamber’s agenda and gives its opinion on draft Grand-Ducal regulations, for which its opinion is required according to a legal provision.
The term ‘deputy’ refers to a parliamentarian who is a member of the Chamber of Deputies. Along with the Grand Duke, the deputies represent the nation in the exercise of legislative power. The Constitution states that the Chamber of Deputies represents the country. The deputies vote without referring to their constituents and may only have the general interests of the Grand Duchy in mind. The number of members of the Chamber of Deputies is set by the Constitution at 60 deputies.
Dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies
Deputies are elected for five years. Normally their term of office ends at the time of the Chamber’s meeting in public session after the elections, which takes place automatically on the third Tuesday following the election date. The Chamber may also be dissolved at an earlier date. According to the Constitution, the Grand Duke has the power to dissolve the Chamber.
The Grand Duke has the right of legislative initiative, as do the members of the Chamber of Deputies. His initiative, which is also known as a government initiative, is called a ‘government bill.’ This consists of a text that is proposed in order to be adopted by the Chamber of Deputies. Government bills are accompanied by an explanatory statement containing a detailed description of the objective and content of the government bill as well as a commentary on its articles.
An interpellation is a request for a public debate addressed by a deputy to a minister or to the entire government so that it can adopt a position regarding a specific administrative measure or regarding the government’s general policy.
Introducing a bill
This is the action whereby a government bill or private member’s bill is officially submitted to the Chamber of Deputies.
The legislative power is the authority that enacts laws. The Chamber of Deputies exercises the legislative power.
The Minutes, published by the Chamber of Deputies, reproduce all the speeches given during the plenary sessions of the Chamber of Deputies. They also include a summary of the legislative texts adopted, the questions that the members of the government were asked, and the responses received as well as a general overview of the activities of the Chamber of Deputies. The Minutes are distributed free of charge to all households as a supplement to the four main daily newspapers.
A motion is a text adopted by the Chamber of Deputies outside the procedure for preparing the law, inviting the government to take a certain initiative or adopt a certain position.
A petition is a request from an individual or a group of individuals to the Chamber of Deputies in order to produce a decision to their advantage or in favour of the cause they are defending. Petitions are addressed to the President of the Chamber who refers them either to the Committee on Petitions, or to the committees to which a government bill or private member’s bill relating to the petition has been submitted, or decides to submit it to the Chamber’s Bureau (Executive Office). The Committee on Petitions decides, as appropriate, either to refer them to a minister or to another of the Chamber’s committees, or to submit them to the Chamber’s Bureau (Executive Office), or to simply file them.
The administration of the Chamber of Deputies consists of the Secretary General, Deputy Secretary Generals, as well as the Chamber’s officials and employees. The Secretary General is elected by the Chamber, while the Bureau (Executive Office) appoints the two Deputy Secretary Generals. The Bureau (Executive Office) determines the powers of the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary Generals.
In order to facilitate, rationalise and prepare parliamentary work in public session, the Chamber forms standing committees, and if necessary, special committees. The committees are tasked with examining government bills and private member’s bills, as well as amendments and motions that the President of the Chamber refers to them. They also have the task of preparing the debates as well as organising hearings and visits.
The government bills and private member’s bills, as well as the related opinions and reports, are published as parliamentary documents, which are numbered consecutively.
Article 64 of the Constitution reserves the Chamber the right of inquiry, which gives it the possibility of hearing witnesses and consulting experts in order to gather information on an issue of public interest. The Chamber exercises this right through a committee formed among its members. The exercise of the right of inquiry is governed by the act of 27 February 2011, which repealed the old act of 18 April 1911. The committee and its president may take all the investigative measures provided for in the Code of Criminal Procedure.
A political group is an internal formation within the Chamber of Deputies, bringing together its members according to their political affinities. In order to be recognised, a political group must comprise at least five members. Each political group appoints a president who will represent it within the Conference of Presidents and who will be assigned premises and credits calculated on the basis of their proportional representation in the Chamber.
Private member’s bill
A private member’s bill is a legislative initiative made by a deputy. As with government bills, the author of the private member’s bill sets out the objective of their bill and provides commentary on its articles.
A public petition may only be submitted and signed via the special form on the Chamber of Deputies’ website. It must be of general interest and national interest and respect ethical principles. It may not present an identical subject presented by the same petitioner during the same session. In order to submit and also to sign a public petition, the petitioner must be at least 15 years old and be listed in the national register of natural persons, so they must have a social security number. The Committee on Petitions and the Conference of Presidents examine the petition and decide whether it is admissible. If it is considered inadmissible, the Committee on Petitions will treat it as an ordinary petition. If an electronic petition reaches or exceeds the threshold of 4500 signatures, a public debate is organised within the Committee on Petitions and the committee responsible for the matter in question.
In the context of its means of monitoring and supervising government affairs, the Chamber, through its members, has the right to ask members of the government questions. A question is a request for information from a deputy to a minister regarding an administrative matter or a government matter. The Chamber’s Rules of Procedure provide for several types of questions: written questions, urgent questions, questions with a debate as well as questions asked during question time or topical questions.
The quorum is the minimum number of members who must be present in order for the Chamber of Deputies to hold a valid vote.
The rapporteur is the member of a committee within the Chamber of Deputies in charge of presenting the committee’s report on a text before the Chamber of Deputies in public session.
Referral is the act by which the Conference of Presidents submits a government bill or another document to a committee.
A resolution is a text adopted by the Chamber addressed to itself, through which it takes a decision or adopts a position. Each deputy is entitled to submit draft resolutions. As with a motion, a resolution must be adopted by the majority of the Chamber.
Rules of Procedure of the Chamber of Deputies
The Rules of Procedure of the Chamber of Deputies are adopted by the Chamber of Deputies and published in the Mémorial (Luxembourg Official Journal). They determine the organisation of the Chamber and its operation and define its procedures.
Sensibilité politique (group of less than 5 deputies sharing a political persuasion)
A deputy who is not part of a political group or a technical group forms a sensibilité politique.
A session is one of the divisions of the term. This is the period of the year during which the Chamber of Deputies sits. According to the Chamber’s Rules of Procedure, the session opens on the second Tuesday of October. As a general rule, a session closes just before the opening of the next session.
Adopting an act
The Chamber of Deputies gives a verdict on a government bill or a private member’s bill in several votes. A government bill or private member’s bill may be put to a split vote at the request of at least five deputies. If changes have been adopted, the Chamber then proceeds with the second statutory vote on these amendments after the Council of State has given its opinion on them. This vote takes its name from the fact that it is provided for in the Chamber’s Rules of Procedure. The following stage concerns the vote on the entire bill. Finally, at least three months after the vote on the entire bill, the second constitutional vote completes the Chamber’s legislative process. Nevertheless, the Chamber may, with the agreement of the Council of State, decide to dispense with this second constitutional vote.
The State Budget is a law authorising the State’s revenue and expenditure for a period of one year, known as the budget year. The budget is presented in the form of an evaluative table of revenue and expenditure.
The deputies who are neither part of a political group nor affiliated with a political group may form a technical group, provided that this group comprises at least five members. They appoint a coordinator who acts as their spokesperson for all administrative matters and represents them in the Conference of Presidents.
Term of office
The term of office is the period for which the deputies are elected. As a rule, it lasts for a period of five years, unless there are early elections.