The Council of the Socialist International, as stated in the statutes of the organisation, especially in article 5.2.7 and in accordance with the guidelines contained in its Ethical Charter and its Declaration of Principles is governed by the following basic rules of procedure:
FIRST TITLE: ESTABLISHMENT AND COMPOSITION OF THE COUNCIL
The meetings of the Council of the Socialist International will be held twice a year. Each will take place during the first and second half of the year and shall last for two days.
At these meetings, delegates representing full member parties and fraternal organisations will take part. Also participating in the Council are representatives of consultative member parties and observers and associated organisations.
Special invitations can be extended to organisations or persons who will be able to participate as observers or speakers. Such invitations will be extended by the Secretary General.
In accordance with the Statutes, the representatives of full member parties and fraternal organisations will have a right to speak and vote. Consultative parties, associated organizations and observers will have the right to speak, but not to vote.
The Secretary General will present a report to the Council of all the activities carried out by the organisation during the period between Councils.
He will keep the President and Vice-Presidents informed on different matters that concern the organisation and on the development of the organisation’s activities.
The Secretary General’s duties include coordinating and participating in the meetings of the Council, of the Committees and of the Commissions of the Socialist International, organising its meetings and special missions, being permanently in touch with member parties and, in general, carrying out initiatives to implement the aims and decisions of the organisation. The Secretary General will inform on these matters at the Council.
The delegations of the member parties and fraternal organisations, with a maximum of 8 delegates each, will have the right to participate at the Council, in the form described in rule 3. The delegations of consultative and observer parties and the associated organisations will have a maximum of 4 delegates each.
In application of this rule, the Secretary General can, for well-founded reasons, authorise the presence of larger delegations, for example concerning the number of people attending from the host party at the Council.
The accreditation of participants must be carried out directly with the Secretary General within the period of time and in the form indicated in the letter of invitation that he/she sends to the members of the Council.
SECOND TITLE: FORMULATION AND ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
The provisional agenda for the meetings of the Council will be drafted by the Secretary General, in consultation with the President and Vice-Presidents.
In the drafting of the provisional agenda, the following points shall be considered:
Matters that constitute a priority in the political attention of its members,
Matters that are the object of attention in its Committees and Commissions,
Matters that emerge from the information transmitted by the Secretary General to the President and Vice Presidents according to that which is stated in rule 4,
Matters included in agendas of previous Councils that have not been totally discussed or resolved and,
Matters that in previous Councils it has been decided to defer for later decision.
The member parties can present proposals for themes to be included in the Provisional Agenda up to 90 days before the beginning of the Council. These proposals must be sent to the Secretary General, who will consult on them with the President and Vice-Presidents.
Once the provisional agenda is finalised, the Secretary General will send it to the members of the Council at least 2 months before the date of the beginning of the meeting. If exceptional or urgent circumstances should arise, the provisional agenda or some of the points contained within it can be made known at a date closer to the Council.
The first point of the provisional agenda of the Council will be its adoption by the Council itself at the beginning of the working sessions.
In accordance with what is expressed in rule 7, any point of the Council Agenda that has not been fully considered will automatically be included in the provisional agenda of the following meeting, unless the Council decides to the contrary. The same rule will apply to matters that have been deferred.
In the meetings of the Council, only the themes that have been incorporated in the agenda according to what has been stated in the preceding Rules will be discussed.
THIRD TITLE: VENUE, DATE AND HOLDING OF THE COUNCIL
The place where the next Council meeting will take place will be proposed by the Secretary General to the Council at the end of the meeting currently in session. If there is more than one proposal for the place, the situation will be announced, and the Council will decide.
As much as possible when choosing the place of the Council, attempts should be made to alternate the venue among the different regions of the world.
If, at the end of the meeting, it is not possible to announce the venue of the next meeting, the Secretary General will consult with member parties in order to determine the place and the date of the next meeting.
To this end, once the consultations of the Secretary General have reached a result, he will consult with the President and Vice-Presidents.
The same procedure described in the preceding paragraphs will be applied when a member party for any unforeseen circumstance cannot host the council.
Having decided on the place and date of the Council, it will be up to the Secretary General to coordinate with the host member party all the aspects relating to the meeting.
The Secretary General and the host member party will sign an agreement in which the commitments assumed by each signatory will be outlined.
If the Council were to take place in a country with more than one full member party or with consultative and observer member parties, all of them will act as hosts of the Council and the respective obligations will be as specified in the agreement mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
FOURTH TITLE: THE PRESIDENCY AND CONDUCTION OF THE MEETING, ADDRESSES AND DEBATES
The meetings of the Council will be presided over by the President of the Socialist International. In cases where he/she is not able to participate in the Council, in situations when he/she is only partially present and when he/she must be absent from the debates, the responsibility for chairing the Council will be assumed by the most senior Vice-President present at the meeting. If there were more than one Vice-President of the same seniority, the Council Chair will be determined by alphabetical order.
With reference to the list of introductory speakers that initiate dialogue and interventions that follow:
According to the nature of the themes proposed in the provisional agenda, the Secretary General will coordinate beforehand with the chairs of the thematic and regional Committees and of the Commissions of the Socialist International so that they present to the Council their reports and proposals for declarations and resolutions regarding the themes of the agenda.
The Secretary General can request the presence of special guests with competence and recognised experience in the matters to be debated.
The interventions of introductory speakers, either by members of the Committees and Commissions of the Socialist International or special guests, must not exceed 15 minutes.
After the interventions mentioned in the previous Rule, the President will declare the debate open. The President will preside over the discussion, taking special care of the good use of time allowed and its correct distribution among the members who may want to take the floor. The interventions will have a maximum length of 10 minutes. If these refer to matters of order, they may not exceed 5 minutes.
Leading the debate, the President will pay special attention to the following rules:
- To respect the order in which the floor was requested by those present;
- To go through the list of people who have put their names to take the floor and declare the list closed;
- To call to order any speaker who has deviated from the central theme of the discussion;
- To guarantee the right to reply of the delegations alluded to during the debate, even when the list of speakers has been closed;
- To limit the times of intervention of the speakers that exceed what is established in Rule 20.
No member may take the floor without the agreement of the President.
During the discussion of any point of the agenda, members may raise a point of order. In doing this, members will not be able to refer to the theme of the discussion.
If such a point of order were presented, the President will submit it immediately to a vote and it will be resolved by simple majority.
This Rule will be applied in accordance with what is mentioned in Rule 35.
FIFTH TITLE: CLOSING OF THE DEBATE, ADOPTION OF RESOLUTIONS, DECLARATIONS AND VOTING
Once the speakers included in the list prepared according to the dispositions in Rule 20 have finished their interventions and the point of the agenda has been sufficiently debated, the President will declare the debate closed.
A member may also ask that the debate be declared closed. If this proposal is submitted, the President will put it to a vote by the Council. Before the vote a member of the Council that supports the closing of the debate, and another that is against it may speak.
In relation to the adoption of declarations or resolutions of the Council, the procedure will be the following:
The proposals for declarations or resolutions issued by the Committees and Commissions of the Socialist International under the terms of Rule 18, will be sent to the Secretary General, who will distribute them to the members of the Council by electronic means 20 days before the commencement of the meeting.
As from the date the proposal is sent, the members of the Council will have a period of 10 days to formulate their observations to the Secretary General.
If the Secretary General receives observations, amendments or additions from the members of the Council to the proposed text according to the previous Rule, he will transmit them immediately to the Committees and the Commissions who generated the initial proposal.
After having received the observations from the members of the Council, the authors of the original proposal will work on the elaboration of a text which can generate the largest amount of consensus among the members of the Council.
In this effort to generate the largest amount of consensus, the members of the Council will count on the support of the Secretary General, who will facilitate contact among the authors of the proposals.
If no amendments are received from members of the Council to the proposals of the declarations or resolutions prepared by the Committees and Commissions of the Socialist International in accordance with Rules 18 and 25, the Council will directly decide about these proposals.
Equally, the text of a proposed declaration or resolution presented by Committees and Commissions of the Socialist International and the observations and amendments proposed by members of the Council must be submitted for the approval of the Council.
In any case, the Council will have to address all amendments sent by members of the Council to the Secretary General in accordance with and within the deadline established in Rules 25 and 26, whether they are incorporated or not in the original declaration or resolution as stated in the preceding Rules.
Parts of a proposal of a declaration or amendments to the same can be voted on as long as their authors are not opposed. In cases such as this, the resulting text will constitute the original proposal plus the approved amendments.
The proposals of declaration or resolution and the amendments can be withdrawn at any moment before the vote is taken on them.
Declarations, resolutions or amendments will be considered approved when a simple majority of the members of the Council vote in favour.
Votes in the Council will be made on the basis of a show of hands. To this effect, green cards (approval), red cards (rejection) and yellow cards (abstention) will be distributed beforehand by the Secretary General to the members with the right to vote.
To determine which member of the Council has the right to vote, the statutory dispositions will be applied. Active members of the electoral body of the Council will include the full member parties with their membership fees up to date at the time of the vote and the fraternal organisations.
The total or partial rejection of a proposal will not inhibit its authors or other members of the Council from presenting them in following meetings as long as the rules already expressed relating to the inclusion of themes of the Council of agenda are met.
Questions of order will have preference over votes on declarations or resolutions.
These are, among others:
To propose the remission of any theme in the agenda to a Committee, to a Commission or to the Secretary General,
To propose the postponement of the discussion of a point for another meeting or indefinitely,
To propose the introduction of an amendment.
SIXTH TITLE: LANGUAGES OF THE COUNCIL
The languages of the Council are English, French and Spanish. During the Council, simultaneous interpretation will be assured in these three languages.
Regarding the text of proposals of declarations and amendments to be decided by the Council, the Secretary General will take care to ensure that these are available in the three languages.
Participants at the Council may intervene in other languages if they assume interpretation into one of the languages of the Council.
The documents of the Council must be published in the three languages but may also be published in other languages.
SEVENTH TITLE: PUBLICITY AND MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL
Members and guests may participate at the Council, according to the Rules already mentioned. In any case, the content of the Council will be open to the public unless reservation has been accorded to all or part of the session.
Minutes of the meetings of the Council will be taken. These minutes of sessions will also be open to the public and their publication will be a responsibility of the Secretary General.
Within 60 days following the close of the Council, the Secretary General will send the minutes to its members.
After receiving the documents, the members of the Council who wish to clarify or correct their interventions will have 5 days to inform the Secretary General, attaching a new proposal in writing. The minutes will be understood as corrected in the terms proposed, unless the Secretary General considers the new text essentially different from the intervention registered in the minutes.
In this case, the Secretary General will inform the President and Vice-Presidents of the situation who will have 5 days to make their views known. After this deadline, and not having received a reply from the President or Vice-Presidents, the minutes will be considered corrected in the manner proposed.
In accordance with Rule 37 relating to sessions of the Council, part of its minutes may be subject to reservation.
The members of the Council, in any case, can view the reserved minutes, if they request it from the Secretary General.
The approval of the minutes of the last Council shall be dealt with at the next meeting of the Council, immediately after approval of the agenda.
The minutes and annexes will be published in the three languages of the Council.
EIGHTH TITLE: OTHER MATTERS AND SUPPLEMENTS TO THESE RULES
Regarding special subjects, such as financial matters and deliberations about the incorporation of new members, the rules of the Financial Committee and Ethics Committee shall apply as laid down in the Statutes, Ethics Charter and the Declaration of Principles of the Socialist International.
Notwithstanding what is established in the previous Rule, the Committees can also apply in a supplementary manner the Rules of Procedure of the Council when these can be applied to the matters with which they are dealing.
The dispositions established in the previous paragraph can also be applicable to the procedures of the Congress of the Socialist International, especially those rules which relate to the presentation of the themes, how the debates are carried out, taking the floor and the adoption of decisions and resolutions, among other matters.
FINAL TITLE: CHANGING OF THE RULES
The Council may modify its Rules of Procedure by a simple majority of its members.
Proposals to create, modify or invalidate these Rules of Procedure will be subject to the dispositions aforementioned.