The rights and obligations of parliamentary groups

Rights relating to the operation of parliamentary groups

The right to form a parliamentary group inures to Members of Parliament belonging to the same party provided that it had nominated a party list and won mandates in the most recent general elections or to Members belonging to a legal successor to that party (Sec. 1(1) of the Resolution).

Parliamentary groups may disqualify members (Sec. 2(4) of the Resolution).

Parliamentary groups elect a leader, a deputy leader and other officers from their ranks (Sec. 3 of the Resolution).

Parliamentary groups may use a set amount of money to cover their costs.

Parliamentary groups are entitled to receive monthly funding out of the budget of the Office of the National Assembly to cover their operating costs at ten times the fee set down in Sec. 104(1) of the Act on the National Assembly (the Act) plus 30% of the fee for each Member in a governing party and 40% of the fee for a Member in an opposition party1 (Sec. 113(1) of the Act).

The Office provides parliamentary groups with the following free of charge: suitable office space in the parliament building or in a block nearby; basic supplies (office furniture, equipment etc.) as required for the operation of the parliamentary groups and the work of the Members; and web access that allows Members to perform their work (up to the limit of the related budget appropriation) (Sec. 114 of the Act).

Parliamentary groups are entitled to receive support for their operations from persons employed by the Office of the National Assembly and assigned to work in the office of a parliamentary group.

Depending on the size of a parliamentary group, the number of public officials and employees who have completed secondary or higher education assigned to support the operations of a parliamentary group shall total:

a) five for groups with fewer than ten members;

b) seven for groups with eleven to twenty members;

c) ten for groups with twenty-one to thirty-four members;

d) twelve for groups with thirty-five to fifty members; and

e) fifteen for groups with over fifty members.

Moreover, parliamentary groups may be assisted by a staff of public officials and employees, whose number corresponds with that of the parliamentary group members.

Persons employed by parliamentary groups are entitled to be paid up to the limit of the funds allocated for employee wages. Civil law employment contracts may also be covered out of funds allocated for wages.

Parliamentary groups are entitled to increase the funds allocated for wages by adding supplements payable to:

a) chief counsellors under the Act on Public Officials, who can comprise 20% of the staff set down above;

b) counsellors under the Act on Public Officials, who can comprise 30% of said staff;

c) employees in Grade 9 Class I under the Act on Public Officials, who can comprise 30% of said staff; and

c) employees in Grade 10 Class II under the Act on Public Officials, who can comprise 20% of said staff.

Calculations for these members of staff will also take into account fractional amounts.

Public officials and employees assisting in the operation of a parliamentary group shall be subject to the rules applicable to public officials and persons employed at an institution of public administration such that the exercise of employer rights shall require the consent of the parliamentary group leader.

The Office of the National Assembly provides to parliamentary groups an amount as laid down in the Act on the Central Budget to cover cafeteria benefits. Parliamentary groups are entitled to an amount corresponding to 10% of the funds allocated for wages to cover other benefits at the discretion of the party authorised to act as employer and to cover bonuses (Sec. 115 of the Act).

Parliamentary groups process the submissions they receive independently (Sec. 137(2) of the Resolution).

Rights and obligations relating to the roles and operation of the National Assembly

One Member from each parliamentary group may take the floor to discuss a bill placed on the legislative calendar after the proposer has made remarks lasting no more than five minutes (Sec. 58(6) of the Resolution).

Parliamentary groups have a time allotment of 30 minutes to put forward their positions during expedited proceedings with two-minute remarks made during the debate counting against this time allotment (Sec. (3) of the Resolution).

After a procedural motion has been made, no more than one Member from each parliamentary group is permitted to take the floor for one minute each (Sec. 19(1) of the Resolution).

Principal speakers from governing party and opposition parliamentary groups take turns speaking within the time allotted to principal speakers – with larger parliamentary groups taking the floor before groups with a smaller membership. Two or more parliamentary groups may nominate a single principal speaker, provided that the combined time allotment of the common principal speaker does not surpass the time allotted to each parliamentary group. Principal speakers representing more than one group may take the floor from the location assigned to the group with the largest membership. Parliamentary groups may nominate several consecutive speakers to take the floor during the time allotted to the principal speaker (Sec. 36(2)-(6) of the Resolution).

One half of the time allotted to governing party and opposition Members shall be distributed equally between parliamentary groups, whereas the other half shall be distributed in proportion to the membership of the parliamentary groups, provided that each group has at least twenty minutes and that opposition Members include nationality representatives in respect of agenda items not affecting the rights and obligations of the nationalities. The rules governing time allotment (Sec. 37(2) d) of the Resolution) must also be applied in proceedings conducted to recognise a church (Sec. 105(8) of the Resolution).

Each parliamentary group may have one Member put forward the position of the parliamentary group during proceedings geared to launching a review of compliance of an adopted statute with the Fundamental Law (Sec. 76(11) of the Resolution).

Each parliamentary group may have one Member take the floor for four minutes during the plenary discussion of a committee report on the response to a question from the floor (Sec. 123(5) of the Resolution).

Opposition parliamentary groups may make interpellations and ask regular or instantaneous questions in the order established by parliamentary group size in the first round with each parliamentary group authorised to make interpellations and ask questions in the same order in subsequent rounds (Secs. 122(1) and 126(1) of the Resolution).

Parliamentary groups may determine the order of interpellations made and questions asked by group members and will give notification of the same (Sec. 122(2) of the Resolution).

Each parliamentary group is entitled to ask at least one question and receive a response (Sec. 122(3) of the Resolution).

If a proxy has been appointed to replace an addressee during question time and yet a Member who asks a question requests the addressee to answer personally, the presiding chair will give the floor to the next Member from the same parliamentary group who seeks to table a question. Omitted instantaneous questions are put forth at subsequent sittings in the order established by group size (Sec. 126(2) of the Resolution).

A Member from a proposing parliamentary group or an independent Member may take the floor for five minutes with regard to recommendations made by the committee responsible for interpreting the provisions of the Rules of Procedure. A single Member from each group has two minutes to express the position of the group (Sec. 138(1) of the Resolution).

Upon request, the committee responsible for interpreting the provisions of the Rules of Procedure will put forth its position on the interpretation of the provisions. The National Assembly will vote on the proposed interpretation within 15 days after it is announced (Sec. 61(3) of the Act).

Rights relating to the election (and nomination) of officers of the National Assembly

The National Assembly elects the Speaker, Deputy Speakers and Parliamentary Notaries by secret ballot at its constituent sitting upon a motion made by the leaders of the parties represented in the National Assembly (Sec. 6(1) of the Act).

The appointment of the Speaker, Deputy Speakers and Parliamentary Notaries ceases upon the termination of their mandate, upon their resignation or expulsion from the parliamentary group and in the event that the group of which they are members ceases to exist (Sec. 10(1) of the Act).

Rights and obligations relating to the operation of committees

The number of parliamentary group members that a group may delegate to a standing committee as a member shall be in proportion to the size of each group but no fewer than one (Sec. 17(1) of the Act).

Parliamentary groups may table agreed proposals for the number, name and scope of responsibilities of standing committees and the number of group members to act on such committees (Sec. 18(1) of the Act).

The chairperson of the Committee on European Union Affairs invites the chair of the designated standing committee and one expert from each parliamentary group to a closed meeting to formulate the position of the committee (Sec. 140(5) of the Resolution).

An expert from each parliamentary group may be present at the discussion of an agenda item in a parliamentary committee sitting and may speak if granted permission to that effect by the committee (Sec. 40(5) of the Act).

Other rights and obligations

In the event that the President of the Republic decides to resign, a parliamentary group or at least five Members may propose in writing that the National Assembly should request the President to reconsider the decision (Sec. 128(1) of the Resolution).

Parliamentary groups delegate members to the ad hoc committee responsible for electing members of the Media Council (Sec. 124(3) of the Media Act).

Parliamentary groups delegate members to act on the Board of Governors of the Public Service Foundation (Sec. 86(2) of the Media Act).

Acting on behalf of the parliamentary group for the founding party, the group leader makes a five-year appointment of members to a body to manage the foundation that facilitates the operation of the parties by engaging in scholarly, public education, research and education activities (Sec. 87(2) of the Act).

Each parliamentary group delegates a Member to the National Council for Sustainable Development (P.Res. 57/2008 (22 May 2008)).

Each parliamentary group delegates a Member to the Forum of National and Ethnic Minorities in Hungary (P.Res. 19/2010 (26 Feb. 2010) on the Forum of National and Ethnic Minorities in Hungary).

Each parliamentary group delegates three Members to the Forum of Hungarian Representatives from the Carpathian Basin (Sec. 2(1) c) of the Statute on the Forum of Hungarian Representatives from the Carpathian Basin).1

The duties (rights and obligations) of parliamentary group leaders

Whenever the orders of the day or draft orders of the day for a sitting include an hour for instantaneous questions, a parliamentary group leader may request permission no later than one hour prior to the opening of the sitting for group members specified by the leader to take the floor in an order specified by the leader during the hour for instantaneous questions (Sec. 125(2) of the Resolution).

The government, parliamentary group leaders or five independent Members may submit a justified written proposal to the Speaker no later than one hour prior to the opening of a sitting to amend a proposal set on the orders of the day (Sec. 15(4) of the Resolution).

Parliamentary group leaders and independent Members submit notifications of absence to the Speaker no later than one hour prior to the opening of a day in session (Sec. 14(3) of the Resolution).

Parliamentary group leaders notify the Speaker of their intention to take the floor outside the orders of the day no later than one hour prior to the opening of a sitting (Sec. 18(6) of the Resolution).

If a parliamentary group leader requests that a bill be placed on the legislative calendar and the bill had originally been submitted by a Member from the same group but its placement on the legislative calendar was rejected by the competent committee, the National Assembly will vote on placing it on the legislative calendar (Sec. 58(5) of the Resolution).

Parliamentary group leaders shall notify the Parliamentary Notary on duty in writing of their intention to speak in the general debate on a bill at least one hour prior to the day in session begins (Sec. 35(1) of the Resolution).

Modifying the order of speaking within a parliamentary group during a sitting requires the written approval of the group leader or the written consent of the Members (Sec. 35(6) of the Resolution).

The time spent while a Member of the European Parliament speaks on an item on the orders of the day relating to the European Union counts against the time allotted to the parliamentary group that announced the MEP as a speaker on its behalf, provided that the MEP requested the floor via the group leader (Secs. 37(2) and 47(6) of the Resolution).

When invited by the Speaker, parliamentary group leaders may attend a sitting of the Consultative Body on European Union Affairs (Sec. 69(3) of the Act).

Parliamentary group leaders are entitled to a fee set by the group during their term of mandate at an amount corresponding to the total remuneration received by calculating basic wages, supplements and management bonus specified for ministers of state in the Act on Central Institutions of Public Administration and the Status of Members of Government and Ministers of State (Sec. 104(2) of the Act).

Duties relating to the operation of parliamentary groups

The formation of a parliamentary group shall be reported to the senior chair in writing, and changes shall be reported to the Speaker in writing. Such notifications shall contain the name of the group, the names of the group leader and group officers, if any, and the list of names of group members (Sec. 12 of the Resolution).

Parliamentary group leaders shall notify the Speaker of the dissolution of their group immediately but in no event later than three days (Sec. 5(3) of the Resolution).

Parliamentary group leaders determine the liabilities the group may take on and the payments it may effect up to the limit of its individual budget (Sec. 4(2) of the Resolution).

Rights and obligations relating to sittings of the National Assembly

Parliamentary group members shall notify their group leader in advance of their absence from a plenary sitting. Group leaders submit notifications of absence to the Speaker no later than an hour before the opening of a day in session (Sec. 14(3) of the Resolution).

Parliamentary group leaders will request group members who have been absent for over two-thirds of the time to provide certification and, having evaluated it, submit a proposal to the Speaker to accept such certification (Rule adopted by the House Committee).

To make an observation about a Minister's remarks, parliamentary group leaders or members appointed by them may request the floor to speak for two minutes (Sec. 18(3) of the Resolution).

Parliamentary group leaders may take the floor before a discussion of the items on the orders of the day for no more than five minutes to address matters of national significance, of great urgency and of an extraordinary nature outside the orders of the day (Sec. 18(5) of the Resolution).

Members and spokespersons may ask for the floor to speak on extraordinary matters after a discussion of the items on the orders of the day for that sitting (Sec. 18(9) of the Resolution).

Upon a parliamentary group leader's request, the Speaker may order a recess for no more than two hours at a time during the discussion of an item on the orders of the day or in the course of decision-making (Sec. 21 of the Resolution).

Parliamentary group leaders may file no more than six requests per regular session seeking a vote by the National Assembly on placing a bill that has been submitted by a Member and rejected by a committee on the legislative calendar (Sec. 58(7) of the Resolution).

A written request may be filed by parliamentary group leaders and the proposer seeking to have the National Assembly vote separately on a certain item in a proposed general amendment, but this request must be filed no later than the last business day of the week before the sitting in which the vote is scheduled (Sec. 48(2) of the Resolution).

A written request may be filed by parliamentary group leaders and the proposer seeking to have the National Assembly uphold a proposed amendment not included in a proposed general amendment, provided that no request is filed seeking to uphold an overly expansive proposed amendment on which the National Assembly has failed to vote according to the procedure laid out in Sec. 70 or if it has determined that the overly expansive proposed amendment fails to meet any of the terms and conditions defined in Sec. 70(2) (Sec. 48(4) of the Resolution).

Each requesting party may submit no more than three requests of the type described in paras. (2) and (4) (Sec. 48(5) of the Resolution).

A written request may be filed by parliamentary group leaders and the proposer seeking to have the National Assembly vote on no more than three items in a second proposed general amendment, but this request must be filed no later than the last business day of the week prior to the sitting in which a vote is scheduled on the second proposed general amendment (Sec. 49(3) of the Resolution).

Rights and obligations relating to the operation of the House Committee

A meeting of the House Committee shall be convened upon a request to that effect by a parliamentary group member (Sec. 13(5) of the Act).

Parliamentary group leaders act as members of the House Committee and have the right to vote at its sittings (Secs. 12(1) and 13(1) of the Act).

They may also submit other proposals for discussion (Sec. 11(1) t) of the Act).

Other rights and obligations

Parliamentary group leaders express their opinion to the President of the Republic prior to the dissolution of the National Assembly (Article 3(4) of the Fundamental Law).

They act on the Defence Council as members (Article 49(1) of the Fundamental Law).2

They also participate in sittings of the Consultative Body on European Union Affairs of the National Assembly (Sec. 69(3) of the Act).

Duties and rights of the deputy to the parliamentary group leader

The deputy to the parliamentary group leader exercises the rights inuring to the parliamentary group leader under the Rules of Procedure, provided that the latter is absent due to other business (Sec. 3 of the Resolution).

The deputy to the parliamentary group leader (hereinafter known as the deputy parliamentary group leader) is entitled to a fee at an amount corresponding to the total remuneration received by calculating basic wages, supplements and management bonuses specified for ministers of state in the Act on Central Institutions of Public Administration and the Status of Members of Government and Ministers of State. The fees defined in this paragraph inure to the benefit of each deputy parliamentary group leader who stands for a complete set of at least twenty-five members or an incomplete set of twenty-five members of the same parliamentary group (Sec. 104(3) of the Act).

 

Footnotes:

1. Although the provision of the Statute cited here grants the right to delegate to parties represented in the National Assembly, the right to delegate is discussed in this section as most parties in Parliament form a parliamentary group.

2. If absent due to other business, a parliamentary group leader may be replaced on the Defence Council by a Member who is elected by the group and of whom the Speaker is notified (Sec. 32(1) c) of the Defence Act).

Short form references to laws and regulations:

The Fundamental Law = The Fundamental Law of Hungary

The Act = Act XXXVI of 2012 on the National Assembly

The Resolution = Parliamentary Resolution 10/2014 (24 February 2014) on Certain Provisions of the Rules of Procedure

The Media Act = Act CLXXXV of 2010 on Media Services and Mass Communication

The Defence Act = Act CXIII of 2011 on National Defence, the Hungarian Defence Forces and Measures that May be Introduced in a Special Law