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A legislature is a type of representative deliberative assembly with the power to adopt laws. Legislatures are known by many names, the most common are parliament and congress, although these terms also have more specific meanings. In parliamentary systems of government, the legislature is formally supreme and appoints the executive. In presidential systems of government, the legislature is considered a power branch which is equal to, and independent of, the executive. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise taxes and adopt the budget and other money bills. The consent of the legislature is also often required to ratify treaties and declare war.



The primary component of a legislature are one or more chambers or houses: assemblies that debate and vote upon bill (proposed law)|bills. A legislature with only one house is called unicameral. A bicameral legislature possesses two separate chambers, usually described as an upper house and a lower house, which may differ in duties, powers, and the methods used for the selection of members. Much rarer have been tricameral legislatures; the most recent existed in the waning years of Tricameral Parliament|white-minority rule in South Africa.

In most parliamentary systems, the lower house is the more powerful house while the upper house is merely a chamber of advice or review.

However, in presidential systems, the powers of the two houses are often similar or equal. In federations it is typical for the upper house to represent the component states. For this purpose the upper house may either contain the delegates of state governments, as is the case of Germany and was the case in the pre-20th century United States, or be elected according to a formula that grants disproportionate representation to smaller states, as is the case today in Australia and the United States.

List of titles of legislatures

     Nations with bicameral legislatures.     Nations with unicameral legislatures.     No legislature.
  • Parliament
  • Congress
  • Diet (assembly)|Diet
  • National Assembly
  • Althing — Iceland
  • Assembly of the Republic (Portugal)|Assembleia da República — Portugal
  • Assembly of Albania — Albania
  • Bundestag — Germany
  • Cortes Generales — Spain
  • Eduskunta — Finland
  • Federal Assembly — Russia, Switzerland
  • Folketing — Denmark
  • Knesset — Israel
  • Majles Al-Ummah — Kuwait
  • Riksdag — Sweden
  • States-General of the Netherlands|Staten-Generaal — Netherlands|The Netherlands
  • Stortinget — Norway
  • Legislative Yuan — Republic of China|Republic of China/Taiwan
  • List of state legislatures of the United States — United States
    • General Assembly / Assembly
    • Great and General Court / General Court
    • House of Delegates
  • Landtag — Germany, Austria
  • Legislative Assemblies of Canada's provinces and territories|Canada
    • Legislative Assembly — All Provinces and territories of Canada|provinces and territories except:
    • National Assembly — Quebec
    • House of Assembly — Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Parliaments of the Australian states and territories|Australia
    • Legislative Assembly - All States and Territories except:
    • House of Assembly - South Australia and Tasmania
    • Legislative Council - All States except Queensland Legislative Council|Queensland
  • United Kingdom
    • Scottish Parliament|Scottish Parliament/Pàrlamaid na h-Alba — Scotland
    • Northern Ireland Assembly — Northern Ireland
    • National Assembly for Wales — Wales
  • Legislative Council of Hong Kong|Legislative Council — Hong Kong
  • Legislative Assembly of Macau, Macau

See also

  • List of democracy and elections-related topics
  • List of national legislatures
  • Legislative Assemblies of Canada's provinces and territories
  • List of state legislatures of the United States
  • Parliamentary procedure
  • Reading (legislature)
  • Parliamentary session|Session


Original Source

Original content fromWikipedia under GNU Free Documentation License. See full disclaimer.