The Speaker of Congress is elected from among the members of Congress every year during the first sitting of the administrative session.
He or she is elected by secret ballot, in “first past the post” fashion by an absolute majority in two rounds and by simple majority if there is a third round. If the first two rounds fail to produce a winner, a third round is held by simple majority. In the event of a tie, the older candidate wins.
There is a special quorum requirement for this election, ie at least three fifths of Congress, namely 33, must be present, failing which, a further sitting is held three days later, excluding Sundays and public holidays.
The Speaker of Congress cannot be the speaker of a provincial assembly.
The Speaker opens and adjourns sessions, sets sitting agendas on the advice of the standing committee and convenes sittings. Agendas of extraordinary sessions are set by the authority that convened them.
The Speaker also chairs the sittings of Congress and maintains order in the house. He may expel any disorderly person.
In addition, the Speaker appoints and directs the administrative staff. He or she also appoints political assistants to work with groups of Congress members. The Speaker is also the authorising officer for the
Congress capital and recurrent budgets for both the public-service and member-group components.
The Speaker of Congress can sue and be sued in court on behalf of Congress and is therefore the only person empowered to answer in court for Congress’s decisions.