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Committees appointed by the President

The Rules of Procedure also provide for other special committees that have no legislative or political control functions but serve to ensure the proper functioning of the Chamber of Deputies and safeguard the autonomy of Parliament with respect to other centres of power.

The eminently technical character of the work done by these committees has a bearing also on the manner in which their members are appointed. The members are selected not by Parliamentary Groups but by the President of the Chamber of Deputies who, however, takes account of the necessity to ensure fair representation of the Groups. These committees, unlike the other standing committees, are not re-elected at the end of the first two years of parliament.

The bodies in question are: the Committee on the Rules of Procedure, the Committee on Elections and the Committee for the Authorisation of Prosecution. Only the Committee on the Rules is chaired by the President of the Chamber of Deputies. The other two elect their own chairpersons, vice-chairpersons and secretaries.

Committee for the Authorisation of Prosecution

Following the reform of Article 68 of the Constitution approved in 1993, investigating magistrates no longer need to seek the authorisation of the Chamber of Deputies before conducting inquiries into a Deputy, but only when they want to proceed with the arrest of an MP or impose other restrictions on his or her liberty. In this case, the Committee appraises the requests being made by the magistrate and reports to the House (Rule 18). The Committee also has the power to examine questions relating to the "non-liability" of deputies over the opinions expressed and votes cast in the discharge of their parliamentary duties (Article 68, paragraph 1 of the Constitution); and the granting of the authorisation as required by Article 96 of the Constitution for prosecuting Ministers for crimes committed in the exercise of their functions, provided that the ministers are also elected Deputies. If the Minister is not a member of the Chamber of Deputies or is a Senator, the Senate shall have competence in the matter. The Floor of the House shall decide upon the proposals by the Committee for the Authorisation of Prosecution.

Committee on Elections

The Committee evaluates the qualifications of each Deputy for admission to Parliament. In other words, the Committee is responsible for verifying the soundness of the election of each Deputy and for recommending that the House validates or annuls the election of a Member (Rules 17 and 17-bis). According to the Constitution, this power is the exclusive prerogative of the Chamber of Deputies, which is also responsible for hearing appeals made by unelected candidates. To this end, the Committee examines the records of all electoral seats and even the individual ballot papers of citizens, if necessary. The Committee also assesses whether there are reasons of ineligibility or incompatibility with a parliamentary mandate and reports to the Full House, which adopts a decision on the matter.

Committee on the Rules of Procedure

The Committee on the Rules of Procedure, which, unlike the other Committees appointed by the President, is chaired by the President himself or herself, is composed of at least 10 Deputies (Rule 16, paragraph 1) and is responsible for issuing opinions regarding the interpretation of the Rules of Procedure, resolving conflicts of powers between Committees and considering proposals relating to the Rules. In cases of uncertainty about the subject of the decision for which the secret ballot has been requested, the President of the Chamber may consult, if he or she considers it necessary, the Committee on the Rules of Procedure (Rule 49, paragraph 1-sexies). Proposed amendments to the Rules of Procedure that have been endorsed by the Committee are then submitted to the House for approval. Pursuant to Article 64 of the Constitution and Rule 16 paragraph 4 of the Rules of Procedure, approval of the proposals requires an absolute majority of Members of the House.