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Czechoslovakia Table of Contents


The Legislature

The highest legislative institution is the Federal Assembly, which Chapter 3 of the Constitution recognizes as "the supreme organ of state power and the sole statewide legislative body." The Federal Assembly is divided into two equal chambers, the Chamber of the People and the Chamber of the Nations. The Chamber of the People reflects a system of proportional representation: in 1986 it included 134 deputies from the Czech Socialist Republic and 66 deputies from the Slovak Socialist Republic. The Chamber of Nations has 150 members, 75 from each republic. Deputies are selected through popular elections and serve fiveyear terms of office; all 350 serve concurrently.

After an election each chamber meets to select its own presidium consisting of three to six members. Together, the chambers elect the forty-member Presidium of the Federal Assembly, which serves as the legislative authority when the assembly is not in session. A joint session of the Federal Assembly selects its chairman and vice chairman. In 1987 Alois Indra served as chairman, a post to which he had been appointed in 1971.

The Federal Assembly meets in regular session at least twice a year, in the spring and fall. Legislation presented to the assembly at these sessions must be approved by both chambers and in some cases requires a majority vote by both the Czech and the Slovak deputies in the Chamber of the Nations. Constitutionally, the Federal Assembly has exclusive jurisdiction in all matters of foreign policy, fundamental matters of domestic policy, the economic plan, and supervision of and control over the executive branch of government. In practice, however, its function is largely confined to approving measures placed before it by the KSC. Laws in Czechoslovakia are decided at the highest level of the communist party and presented to the Federal Assembly for its unanimous approval.

Data as of August 1987