The Kunveno is the federal legislature of the United Republic of Bijhan and Laharn.
The Kunveno is bicameral, consisting of a House of Representatives and a Senate, each with an equal number of members. The houses have identical powers. Members of both chambers represent the constituent states, but, whereas seats in the House of Representatives are distributed in proportion to population, each constituent state has an equal number of seats in the Senate. Both are elected in full once every five years, with the last election being held on 7 and 8 April 2018.
The Kunveno possesses the federal government's legislative power. For a bill to become law, it must be passed by both houses by simple majority, provided at least one-fourth of voting senators have voted in favor. Certain laws require a "special majority" in the Senate, which requires the affirmative votes of at least 24 senators from each constituent state as part of the simple majority. The Kunveno also elects the Presidential Council, which is the federal executive and collective head of state.
Members of the Kunveno must be 18 years of age on the date their term commences. They must also be citizens of the United Republic and hold the internal constituent state citizenship status of whichever state they are elected to represent.
2003 changes to number of members
For the first three convocations of the Kunveno, each chamber's membership was fixed at 120. In the Senate, Bijhan and Laharn each elected 60 senators, while in the House of Representatives, the number of members given to each state was based on its population. In the 1993 federal election, Bijhan elected 86 representatives and Laharn elected 34. Because Laharn's population grew faster than Bijhan's, one seat in the House was transferred from Bijhan to Laharn ahead of the 1998 federal election. This caused a minor political uproar in Bijhan, as some Bijhanians viewed it as unacceptable that their politicians should lose their seats to their Laharnian counterparts.
Ahead of the 2003 federal election, it was announced that Bijhan would lose a second seat to Laharn. This was vehemently opposed by all sides of Bijhanian politics, and was one of the inciting causes of the 2003 Bijhanian riots. Following the 2003 election, the Presidential Council and the Kunveno arrived at a compromise for future elections, which fixed the number of Bijhanian seats in the House of Representatives at 90. The number of Laharnian seats was determined based on the ratio of the two states' populations, and the total number of senators was determined based on the total size of the House of Representatives. This new calculus resulted in each chamber increasing to 130 members in 2008, and 132 members in 2018.
A proposed law, called a bill in English, is classified into one of two categories, depending on how it is introduced into the Kunveno. If a bill is submitted to the Kunveno by the Presidential Council, it is called a leĝprojekto (lit. "law project"). If a bill is introduced to the Kunveno by one of its own members, it is called a leĝpropono (lit. "law proposal"). Law projects and law proposals can be originated in either chamber, however the Presidential Council usually submits law projects to the Senate, because its membership is equally balanced between the two states.
Convocations of the Kunveno
Each parliamentary term is called a convocation, of which there have been six to date.
|Kunveno||Election||Term Began||Term Ended||Senators||Representatives|
|1st||1-2 May 1993||1 June 1993||1 June 1998||60||60||86||34|
|2nd||2-3 May 1998||1 June 1998||1 June 2003||60||60||85||35|
|3rd||3-4 May 2003||1 June 2003||1 June 2008||60||60||84||36|
|4th||5-6 April 2008||1 June 2008||1 June 2013||65||65||90||40|
|5th||6-7 April 2013||1 June 2013||1 June 2018||65||65||90||40|
|6th||7-8 April 2018||1 June 2018||1 June 2023||66||66||90||42|
|7th||1-2 April 2023|
Each convocation consists of multiple sessions. In a typical year, there are two sessions:
- Autumn session: Third Monday in January – Third Friday in June
- Spring session: Second Monday in September – Second Friday in December
In an election year the sessions are slightly modified. The autumn session ends on the last Friday of February, after which the election period begins. The newly elected Kunveno is convoked on the first working day of June after the election and enters a brief extraordinary session to elect the Presidential Council. This extraordinary session must end no later than the last working day before 30 June.