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Relationship between Parliament and Executive

The Legislative Assembly is comprised of 17 members elected by the people and 9 members elected by the nobles. Its main responsibilities are to make laws (that includes passing the annual budget) and nominating the Prime Minister from among its members after a general election to head the Executive.

The Prime Minister is responsible for ensuring that the laws passed by the Legislative Assembly are executed effectively and for setting policy that will be beneficial for the country and its people. This is why it is called the Executive.

Given the enormity of the task, the Prime Minister in accordance with the Constitution is authorized to elect up to 12 Ministers (the majority of which must be elected members of the Legislative Assembly) to provide assistance. The Prime Minister and all the Ministers are referred to collectively as Cabinet. Under the Constitution, the executive authority of the Kingdom is vested in the Cabinet.

Each individual Minister is usually given a specific number of Ministries to oversee and each Minister is required to submit an annual report to the Legislative Assembly. This allows the Legislative Assembly to determine whether the Executive is effectively carrying out its duties.

Role of a Member

While the Legislative Assembly and the Executive have two distinct and separate functions, their duties overlap since the majority of elected members of parliament will also make up the Cabinet.

This means that a member of parliament can both be an elected representative and a Minister. In this respect, the Member of Parliament will have a dual role – that being, as a representative of his or her constituency, and a representative of the Executive. Members of parliament not appointed as Ministers will provide oversight on the work of the Executive. Oversight in this sense does not necessarily mean that they will oppose the Executive, but it does mean that they will participate in many parliamentary processes that are designed to hold the Executive to account.

By contrast, when the Prime Minister exercises the right under the Constitution to elect up to 4 non-elected persons to ministerial positions, such Ministers will not have any specific constituency in which to represent. However through their ministerial appointment, they immediately become members of parliament. As such, although they are directly responsible to the Prime Minister, they are accountable to the Legislative Assembly in the same way that elected representatives are.

PM and the Cabinet

Following a general election, the members elected to the Legislative Assembly will nominate one of their elected members to be appointed by the King as Prime Minister.

Once the Prime Minister is appointed, he or she will form the Cabinet by appointing Ministers in accordance with the Constitution to head specific government ministries. Under the Constitution, the executive authority of the Kingdom is vested in the Cabinet.

The scope of the executive authority is limited to what is authorized by the Legislative Assembly through the annual budget and the laws of the country. In this respect, the Cabinet is collectively accountable to the Legislative Assembly. Moreover, the authorities and responsibilities of the Executive and the Legislative Assembly are complementary.

Accountable Mechanisms

The new political system emphasizes different ways by which the Legislative Assembly can hold both the Executive and its members to account. The most important mechanisms are the vote of no confidence and impeachment.

The vote of no confidence focuses on holding the Executive as a collective body to account and emphasizes the need for the Cabinet to carry out its responsibilities effectively and efficiently. By contrast, impeachment focuses on holding individual members and Ministers to account for wrongdoing.

Other mechanisms designed to hold the Executive into account include the Legislative Assembly’s committee system (in particular the Public Accounts Committee and Privileges Committee), the mandatory tabling of ministerial annual reports to the Legislative Assembly, and ministerial question time.

Vote of No Confidence and Impeachment

The new political system emphasizes different ways by which the Legislative Assembly can hold both the Executive and its members to account. The most important mechanisms are the vote of no confidence and impeachment.

The vote of no confidence focuses on holding the Executive as a collective body to account and emphasizes the need for the Cabinet to carry out its responsibilities effectively and efficiently. By contrast, impeachment focuses on holding individual members and Ministers to account for wrongdoing.

If the Prime Minister loses the vote of no confidence, Cabinet will automatically be dissolved. Ministers who are elected representatives will lose their ministerial portfolios but remain in the Legislative Assembly as elected representatives. The Constitution provides a specific mechanism by which a new Prime Minister must be elected by the Legislative Assembly within 48 hours. Otherwise, the Legislative Assembly will be dissolved by the King, and a general election must be held within 90 days. In this way, the Executive is ultimately accountable to Parliament.

By contrast impeachment is a mechanism designed to address individual wrongdoing or maladministration. As such, the consequences are more severe, in that a member or Minister will lose their position as a member of parliament if the impeachment charges are upheld by the Legislative Assembly. It will not instigate a change of government unless it was the Prime Minister.
In this way, the Executive is ultimately accountable to Parliament.

By contrast impeachment is a mechanism designed to address individual wrongdoing or maladministration. As such, the consequences are more severe, in that a member or Minister will lose their position as a member of parliament if the impeachment charges are upheld by the Legislative Assembly. It will not instigate a change of government unless it was the Prime Minister.

Summary
  • The Legislative Assembly is also referred to as Parliament or the Legislature. The Executive is often referred to as Cabinet or Government.
  • The Legislative Assembly represents the people and makes the laws, while the Executive executes and administers the laws and sets policy. Both branches have distinct and separate roles and powers.
  • Elected members of parliament appointed to be Ministers have dual responsibilities both to the Legislative Assembly and the Executive
  • The Prime Minister is elected by the elected members of parliament to head the Executive. In turn, the Prime Minister elects a Cabinet that is predominantly made up of elected members of parliament.
  • The Executive is accountable to the Legislative Assembly.
  • All members of parliament irrespective of whether they are elected representatives or non-elected Ministers are ultimately accountable to the Legislative Assembly.
  • The Legislative Assembly has a number of mechanisms to ensure that the Executive and its members carry out their roles effectively and without wrongdoing. This includes the vote of no confidence and impeachment.
 

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