Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
February 25, 2009
" Citizens do not have the right to change their government or their political system; however, the constitution provides for a democratically elected Council of Deputies, the lower house of parliament. The king appoints the prime minister, who then proposes cabinet ministers. Members of the royal family held all strategic cabinet ministry positions and approximately half of all ministerial slots.
The bicameral National Assembly consists of the 40-member popularly elected Council of Deputies and the 40-member appointed Shura (Consultative) Council.
Members of either house may propose legislation, but the Office of Legal Affairs, a quasi-independent body linked to the MOJIA, drafts the actual text of bills.
The king may veto bills passed by the National Assembly, which in turn may override a veto by a two--thirds majority vote. If the legislature overrides a veto, the king must promulgate the bill into law within one month. Since the reopening of parliament in 2002, the king has not vetoed any legislation, and the government has not submitted any bill to parliament that a member of either council proposed.
The king may dissolve the Council of Deputies at his discretion. He retains the power to amend the constitution and to propose, ratify, and promulgate laws. Either council may question government ministers, and the Council of Deputies may require a minister's resignation with a two-thirds majority vote of no confidence. The Council of Deputies may introduce a resolution indicating it cannot cooperate with the prime minister, in which case the joint National Assembly would have the option to pass the resolution by a two‑thirds majority, requiring the king to either dismiss the prime minister or dissolve the Council of Deputies. The situation of a no-confidence vote has never arisen."