T HE Royal Government, already under fire for slow progress in passing essential
laws, will come under increasing pressure this week with the re-opening of the
National Assembly for its second session after the New Year.
government only managed to get this year's budget and a financial structures law
approved in the assembly's first session, which ended in December.
Government critics will be watching this session closely, with only a
new investment law, a press law and an immigration law nearing the stage of
submission to the assembly for approval.
The legacy of the enactment of
the new constitution last year is a huge law-making task necessary to flesh out
the charter and give it muscles.
The pressure on the government is
particularly intense over the new investment code, with many foreign investors
putting projects on hold until the contents are known and it has passed into
Along with the investment law, the press law and an immigration law
are currently awaiting approval by the Council of Ministers before being
submitted to the assembly.
The commissions, or parliamentary committees,
of the assembly have worked through the three-month recess but they only
received one law to consider.
The list of laws needing to be passed
urgently is a long and daunting one.
Among them are a penal code, a
criminal procedures code, an immigration law, a citizenship law, a Supreme
Council of Magistracy Law, a Bar Association Law, and a property law.
number of vital laws have yet to be drafted and, according to a variety of
sources, among these are a citizenship law, a Constitutional Council law and a
law governing the Royal Council of the Throne Council, which will decide the
Despite the lack of progress on the Constitutional Council
law, it is one of the most urgently-needed by the government.
council's job is to ensure newly-passed laws conform to the
But the law organizing it and describing how it works has
not yet been drafted.
The Constitution states: "The Constitutional
Council shall have the duty to safeguard respect for the Constitution, to
intepret the Constitution, and the laws passed by the Asembly."
the procedure by which the government is passing and enacting laws is already
Article 121 stipulates that "The King, the Prime
Minister, the President of the Assembly, or one tenth of the assembly members
shall forward draft bills to the Constitutional Council for examination before