Leadership

The Governor

The Governor of the province has the power to dissolve the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, if so advised by the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. When a Bill is passed by the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa it becomes a law only when the Governor of the province has assented to it. The executive authority of the province is exercised in the name of Governor but in practice the Chief Minister and his cabinet exercise actual executive authority.

The Speaker

The Speaker is elected by the members of the Provincial Assembly through a secret ballot. The Speaker becomes an impartial guardian of the rights and privileges of the members of the House and takes a central position in the Assembly. Although he/she is elected as a nominee of a political party, it is assumed that he/she will conduct the business of the Assembly in a just and fair manner and as an impartial arbiter and shall manage the proceedings in line with the established norms of democracy. He/she is required to create a balance between the Treasury Benches and the Opposition Benches.

The Tradition of the Speakership

The Speaker's office is an example of the continuity of democratic traditions. The Speaker enters the assembly's chamber followed by an attendant who carries the mace, the symbol of the Speaker's office. Members rise whenever the Speaker enters the Assembly Hall, as a mark of respect for the office.

Powers and Functions

  • The Speaker decides who shall address the parliament. There is no accepted method. A member who wants to speak must, as it is called, "catch the Speaker’s eye”, that is, get permission. The Speaker gives permission to the different parties and allows members to voice their opinions before the House. Then he/she acknowledges those who have special knowledge of the subject under discussion.
  • The Speaker interprets and applies rules, which are called “standing orders” of the parliament. The Speaker's decision is final. It can be challenged only by tabling a motion of criticism, which is rarely done. Whenever a member raises a point of order the Speaker has to provide a ruling. If there are several precedents in a case the Speaker has discretion in giving a new ruling. The Speaker is impartial in giving a ruling.
  • The Speaker ensures debates are conducted with dignity and decorum, puts motions and questions to the House, and announces decisions. The Speaker determines which questions are given precedence and only those are put to the ministers. He/she also has the power to choose which amendments are put before the House and prevents the placement of previous questions when satisfied that the minority has had sufficient opportunity to put their views before the House.
  • The Speaker casts a vote only in case of a tie, though even then the Speaker acts according to certain established principles. The practice is that the Speaker casts vote to maintain the balance.

 

Deputy Speaker

After the election of the Speaker, the new assembly elects a Deputy Speaker. The Deputy Speaker presides over the House in the absence of the Speaker, has the same powers and performs the same functions as the Speaker.

 

Leader of the Opposition

The role of the Opposition is vital to the democratic process. The Members of the Opposition who have different views to the way the country should be governed are nevertheless also committed to the same principles laid down in the Constitution. To present these alternative views, a Member, elected to serve as the focal point and presenter of such views, is known as the Leader of the Opposition. There are nofixed processes described in Rules of Procedure of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the election or the powers and duties of the Leader of Opposition, but the functions listed below have come to be accepted as the norm over time, and are now regarded as part of the Assembly.

Functions of the Opposition

The parliamentary opposition bench has the following functions.

  • To participate in the deliberations of the Provincial Assembly
  • To provide opposing views when it believes government policy to be counterproductive to the best interests of the citizens;
  • To oblige the Government, through facts and arguments, to modify policies which are not seen to be serving the public in its best interest;
  • To create by its voice in the Assembly, a public platform for citizens’ views that oppose the direction the Government is taking; and,
  • To propose an alternative programme to, in the Opposition’s view, best serve the interests of the citizens.
  • To encourage the Government to propose amendments to legislation

The opposition provides a counterpoint and oversight role for government policies, and through debate and exposition can modify or even redirect those policies.
The views of the opposition allow the electorate to see different perspectives.


The Chief Minister

After the election of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, the Assembly cannot transact any other business unless decided upon by the Chief Minister. This decision is made in a special session, summoned by the Governor on a day specified by the President. The Chief Minister will, then, obtain, a vote of confidence from the Assembly within sixty days of his/her assuming office.

  • The majority of the total membership of the Assembly may also remove the Chief Minister by passing a resolution for a vote of no-confidence against him/her. The notice for the purpose is given to the Secretary Assembly by not less than 20% of the total membership of the Assembly. The Chief Minister no longer holds office after the resolution is passed. The Chief Minister may, by writing addressed to the Governor, resign his/her office.
  • A Cabinet of Ministers, headed by the Chief Minister, is formed to aid and advise the Governor of his functions. The Governor appoints Provincial Ministers from amongst members of the Assembly on the advice of the Chief Minister. A Minister may also submit his/ her resignation to the Governor. He/ she may also be removed from his office by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister.

 

 
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