President of the Senate

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The President of the Senate is a title often given to the presiding officer of a senate, and is the speaker of other assemblies.

The senate president often ranks high in a jurisdiction's succession for its top executive office: for example, the President of the Senate of Nigeria is second in line for succession to the presidency, after only the Vice President of the Republic, while in France, which has no vice president, the Senate President is first in line to succeed to the Presidential powers and duties.

Argentina[edit]

The Argentine Senate is presided over by the Vice-President of the Republic, currently Amado Boudou. This was a recent expansion of the Vice-President's powers introduced as part of the 1994 constitutional amendments (Constitution, Art. 57). The Vice-President may only cast a vote to break a tied Senate vote.

Australia[edit]

The President of the Australian Senate is a senator, traditionally a member of the governing party or coalition, elected by the Senate at the beginning of each parliament as the first item of business. They are assisted by a Deputy President who is traditionally a member of the largest opposition party.[1] The current president is John Hogg, a Labor senator from Queensland, who has held the office since 2008.

Barbados[edit]

At the start of every parliamentary session, the Senate of Barbados elects a President and a Vice President, neither of whom may be ministers or parliamentary secretaries. Prior to the January 2008 general election, the positions were held by Sir Fred Gollop and Dame Patricia Symmonds. Nick is a life leader

Belgium[edit]

The presiding officer of the Belgian Senate is elected by the senators at the beginning of each parliamentary term. The President of the Senate is customarily a member of a majority party with a great deal of political experience. The president presides over the plenary assembly of the Senate, guides and controls debates in the assembly, is responsible for ensuring the democratic functioning of the Senate, maintains order and security in the assembly and for enforcing the Rules of the Senate, and represents the Senate at both the national (to the other institutions) and the international level.

The President of the Senate, together with the President of the Chamber of Representatives, ranks immediately behind the King in the order of precedence. The elder of the two takes the second place in the order of precedence. The Presidents of the Senate and the Chamber rank above the Prime Minister.

Belize[edit]

The Senate of Belize elects both a president and a vice-president upon first convening after a general election. The person elected president may be a senator (provided he/she does not concurrently hold a ministerial position) or a person external to the Senate. The vice-president must be a member of the Senate who does not hold a ministerial portfolio. (Constitution, section 66.)[2]

The current President is Andrea Gill, with Juliet Thimbriel as Vice-President.

Brazil[edit]

The current President of Brazil's Federal Senate is José Sarney (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, Maranhão)

The President of the Brazilian Senate is the third in order to succeed the president (only below the vice-president and the President of the Chamber of Deputies). It is also the president of the parliament (National Congress), which includes the Senate and the Deputies Chamber.

Burundi[edit]

The President of the Senate of Burundi, since 17 August 2005, is Molly Beamer of the CNDD-FDD. The president is assisted in his work by two vice-presidents.

Cambodia[edit]

The Senate of Cambodia is led by a 12-person permanent commission (bureau), which is in turn chaired by the President of the Senate, currently Chea Sim. He is assisted by a First and a Second Vice-President.[3] The President and Vice-Presidents are elected as the first item of business at the start of every legislative session.[4]

Canada[edit]

While the Speaker of the Canadian Senate, who serves as the presiding officer of the Senate of Canada, is not described as a "president" in English, the position is called Président du Sénat in French. He is appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Chile[edit]

The President of the Senate of Chile is elected from among the country's senators. The current holder of the position, since March 2010, is Jorge Pizarro.

Colombia[edit]

The President of the SenateJavier Cáceres Leal for the 2009–10 period – also serves as the President of the Congress of Colombia.

Fiji[edit]

The members of the Senate of Fiji elect from among their number both a President and Vice-President, whose roles are similar to those of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively.

The current incumbents are Kinijoji Maivalili (President) and Hafiz Khan (Vice-President).

Danzig[edit]

In the Free City of Danzig (1920–1939/1945), the Senate (or Senat in German) was the executive branch, with Senators (Senatoren) being the holders of ministerial portfolios. In Danzig the President of the Senate (Präsident des Senats) was an office equivalent to that of prime minister in other countries.

France[edit]

The Senate of France elects a president from among its own number. The President of the French Senate stands first in line of succession in case of death or resignation of the President of the Republic, becoming acting president until a presidential election can be held. This most recently occurred with Alain Poher, who was senate president from 1968 to 1992 and who served as interim president on two occasions: following Charles de Gaulle's resignation in 1969, and following Georges Pompidou's death in office in 1974.

Since 2011, the position has been held by Jean-Pierre Bel of the Socialist Party (France) (PS).

Germany[edit]

In the German states of Bremen (Senate of Bremen) and Hamburg (Senate of Hamburg), the Senates (or Senate in German) are the executive branch, with Senators (Senatoren) being the holders of ministerial portfolios. In these Länder, the President of the Senate (Präsident des Senats) is an office equivalent to that of minister-president in other German Länder.

Italy[edit]

The Senate of Italy holds its first sitting no later than 20 days after a general election. That session, presided by the oldest senator, proceeds to elect the President of the Senate for the following parliamentary period. On the first two attempts at voting, an absolute majority (a majority of all senators) is needed; if a third round is needed, a candidate can be elected by a majority of the senators present and voting. If this third round fails to produce a winner, a final ballot is held between the two senators with the highest votes in the previous ballot. In the case of a tie, the elder senator is deemed the winner.

In addition to overseeing the business of the chamber, chairing and regulating debates, deciding whether motions and bills are admissible, representing the Senate, etc., the President of the Senate stands in for the President of the Republic when s/he is unable to perform his/her duties.[5]

The current President of the Senate is Pietro Grasso. For a historical listing, see: List of Presidents of the Senate of Italy.

Liberia[edit]

While the Vice President of Liberia serves as President of the Senate, the senators also elect from among their number a President pro tempore to lead the chamber's day-to-day business.

Malaysia[edit]

The Senate of Malaysia elects a president from its members, who is comparable to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The position is partisan and has usually been held by a member of the Government party.

Mexico[edit]

The Senate of Mexico, at the beginning of each annual legislative session, elects an Executive Board (Mesa Directiva) from among its 128 members. The Executive Board comprises a president, three vice-presidents, and four secretaries, elected by an absolute majority of the Senators. Members of the Executive Board may be re-elected for the following year without restriction. The President of the Executive Board also serves as the President of the Senate.

The President of the Senate for the 2008–09 period of sessions is Gustavo Enrique Madero Muñoz, a National Action Party (PAN) senator for Chihuahua.

Nigeria[edit]

The President of the Senate is the presiding officer of the Senate of Nigeria, elected by its membership.

The current President of the Senate is David Mark, who represents Benue State for the People's Democratic Party.

Peru[edit]

Peru had a bicameral Congress from 1829 until 1992. The President of the Senate was elected by the Senate members to preside over the sessions for one year.

Philippines[edit]

See President of the Senate of the Philippines

Poland[edit]

See Marshal of the Senate of the Republic of Poland

Puerto Rico[edit]

See: Senate of Puerto Rico#Presidents of the Puerto Rico Senate

Romania[edit]

The first session of the Senate is headed by the eldest senator. In that session the senators elect the Standing Bureau of the Romanian Senate. It consists of the President of the Senate, four vice-presidents, four secretaries, and four quaestors. The President of the Standing Bureau also serves as the President of the Senate. The President is elected, by secret ballot, for the duration of the legislative period.[6]

South Africa[edit]

The Senate of South Africa was the upper house of Parliament between 1910 and 1981, and between 1994 and 1997. During both periods, the Senate was led by a President.

For a listing, see: Senate of South Africa#Presidents of the Senate of South Africa (1910-1980) and (1994-1997)

Sri Lanka[edit]

The Senate of Ceylon was the upper house of Parliament between 1947 and 1971. During this periods, the Senate was led by a President.

Trinidad and Tobago[edit]

The President of the Senate of Trinidad and Tobago, who is generally elected from the government benches, chairs debates in the chamber and stands in for the country's president during periods of absence or illness (Constitution, section 27).[7] A Vice-President of the Senate is also elected from among the senators. The current President of the Senate is Roger Hamel-Smith.

United States[edit]

The Vice President of the United States is, ex officio, President of the United States Senate, with the power to cast tie-breaking votes. However, while the Vice President has the right to act as presiding officer over the Senate, the rules of the Senate give the President of the Senate very little power (in contrast to the powerful office of Speaker of the House).

While vice presidents used to regularly preside over the Senate, modern vice presidents have done so only rarely, usually only when swearing in new senators, during joint sessions, announcing the result of a vote on a significant bill or confirmation, or when casting a tie-breaking vote. The Senate chooses a president pro tempore to preside in the vice president's absence. Modern presidents pro tempore, too, rarely preside over the Senate. In practice, the junior senators of the majority party typically preside in order to learn Senate procedure.

The current Vice President of the United States and President of the United States Senate is Joe Biden.

Only once in US history has the Vice President represented a different political party than that of the President. In 1796, Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson was elected vice president and Federalist John Adams President; a situation that in part prompted the later adoption of the Twelfth Amendment to prevent such a situation from recurring, although there remain some[clarification needed] fringe Electoral College scenarios in which it could happen again. In addition, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson were elected together on the National Union ticket in the 1864 presidential election, although Lincoln came from the Republican Party and Johnson was a War Democrat.

The vice president holds a tie-breaking (or "casting") vote in the Senate. Vice presidents have cast 242 tie-breaking votes. The vice president with the most tie breaking votes is John Adams with 29.

U.S. state senates[edit]

In state governments of the United States, the presiding officer of the state senate (the upper house) is a matter decided by the state's constitution. Some states designate the lieutenant governor as president of the senate, while in other states, the Senate elects its own president. The Tennessee Senate elects a senator Speaker of the Senate, who is given the title of Lieutenant Governor.

Similarly, New Hampshire has no lieutenant governor, but the state senate elects a president who is the de facto lieutenant governor, given that in the event of the governor's death, resignation, or inability to serve, the president of the senate acts as governor until the vacancy is filled. New Jersey previously used the same system, but with the important proviso that the Senate president continued to serve in that position while also serving as acting governor. After Christine Todd Whitman resigned as governor, Donald DiFrancesco spent nearly a year as acting governor. As a result of his tenure, questions were raised about the propriety of such a system, particularly with regard to separation of powers-related issues. A constitutional amendment was enacted in 2005 to create the office of lieutenant governor effective at the 2009 election.

Uruguay[edit]

The Vice President of Uruguay presides over the country's 30-member Senate.

See also[edit]

References[edit]