Page last updated at 14:57 GMT, Monday, 28 September 2009 15:57 UK
Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA)

Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly are called MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly).

There are 108 MLAs, six for each of Northern Ireland's 18 constituencies, elected by single transferrable vote, a system of proportional representation.

MLAs in the upper echelons of their political parties may take on ministerial positions, which are distributed according to Northern Ireland's power-sharing agreement.

Other MLAs scrutinise the work of the executive during the Assembly's plenary sessions, which take place on Mondays and Tuesdays, during which they may pose questions to ministers or debate the executive's legislative proposals.

They may also join committees, where they are charged with scrutinising new legislation in detail or conducting inquiries into the workings of the machinery of government.

Most MLAs have two offices: one in Stormont; and one in their constituency, where they spend part of the week holding surgeries so that their constituents can raise any issues with them.

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