Lower house

A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.[1]

Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide, the lower house has come to wield more power. The lower house typically is the more numerous of the two chambers. A legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.

Common attributes

In comparison with the upper house, lower houses frequently display certain characteristics (though they vary per jurisdiction).

Powers
  • In a parliamentary system, the lower house:
    • In the modern era, has much more power, usually based on restrictions against the upper house.
    • Able to override the upper house in some ways.
    • Can vote a motion of no confidence against the government, as well as vote for or against any proposed candidate for head of government at the beginning of the parliamentary term.
    • Exceptions are Australia, where the Senate has considerable power approximate to that of the House of Representatives, and Italy, where the Senate has exactly the same powers as the Chamber of Deputies.
  • In a presidential system, the lower house:
    • Debatably somewhat less, the lower house also has exclusive powers in some areas.
    • has the sole power to impeach the executive (the upper house then tries the impeachment).
    • typically initiates appropriation/supply-related legislation.
Status of lower house
  • Always elected directly, while the upper house may be elected directly, indirectly, or not elected at all.
  • Its members may be elected with a different voting system to the upper house.
  • Most populated administrative divisions are better represented than in the upper house; representation is usually proportional to population.
  • Elected more frequently.
  • Elected all at once, not by staggered terms.
  • In a parliamentary system, can be dissolved by the executive.
  • More members.
  • Has total or initial control over budget, supply, and monetary laws.
  • Lower age of candidacy than the upper house.

Titles of lower houses

Common names

Dáil Chamber
Dáil Éireann, Republic of Ireland

Many lower houses are named in the following manner: House/Chamber of Representatives/the People/Commons/Deputies.

Unique names

Government Lower House Unique Name Meaning
Austria Nationalrat National Council
Czech Republic Poslanecká sněmovna Chamber of Deputies
Germany Bundestag Federal Diet
Greece Βουλή των Ελλήνων Council of the Hellenes
India Lok Sabha House of the People
Indonesia Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat People's Representative Council
Ireland Dáil Éireann Assembly of Ireland
Isle of Man House of Keys
Italy Camera dei Deputati Chamber of Deputies
Kazakhstan Mazhilis Assembly
Malaysia Dewan Rakyat People's Hall
Myanmar Pyithu Hluttaw[2] House of Representatives
Netherlands Tweede Kamer Second Chamber
Poland Sejm Gathering
Russia State Duma
Spain Congreso de los Diputados Congress of Deputies

See also

References

  1. ^ Bicameralism (1997) by George Tsebelis.
  2. ^ "pyithuhluttaw.gov.mm". www.pyithuhluttaw.gov.mm. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
Australian House of Representatives

The House of Representatives is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the upper house being the Senate. Its composition and powers are established in Chapter I of the Constitution of Australia.

The term of members of the House of Representatives is a maximum of three years from the date of the first sitting of the House, but on only one occasion since Federation has the maximum term been reached. The House is almost always dissolved earlier, usually alone but sometimes in a double dissolution of both Houses. Elections for members of the House of Representatives are often held in conjunction with those for the Senate. A member of the House may be referred to as a "Member of Parliament" ("MP" or "Member"), while a member of the Senate is usually referred to as a "Senator". The government of the day and by extension the Prime Minister must achieve and maintain the confidence of this House in order to gain and remain in power.

The House of Representatives currently consists of 150 members, elected by and representing single member districts known as electoral divisions (commonly referred to as "electorates" or "seats"). The number of members is not fixed but can vary with boundary changes resulting from electoral redistributions, which are required on a regular basis. The most recent overall increase in the size of the House, which came into effect at the 1984 election, increased the number of members from 125 to 148. It reduced to 147 at the 1993 election, returned to 148 at the 1996 election, has been 150 since the 2001 election, and will increase to 151 at the 2019 Australian federal election.Each division elects one member using full-preference Instant-runoff voting. This was put in place after the 1918 Swan by-election, which Labor unexpectedly won with the largest primary vote and the help of vote splitting in the conservative parties. The Nationalist government of the time changed the lower house voting system from first-past-the-post to full-preference preferential voting, effective from the 1919 general election. This system has remained in place since, allowing the Coalition parties to safely contest the same seats.

Bicameralism

A bicameral legislature divides the legislators into two separate assemblies, chambers, or houses. Bicameralism is distinguished from unicameralism, in which all members deliberate and vote as a single group, and from some legislatures that have three or more separate assemblies, chambers, or houses. As of 2015, fewer than half the world's national legislatures are bicameral.Often, the members of the two chambers are elected or selected by different methods, which vary from country to country. This can often lead to the two chambers having very different compositions of members.

Enactment of primary legislation often requires a concurrent majority – the approval of a majority of members in each of the chambers of the legislature. When this is the case, the legislature may be called an example of perfect bicameralism. However, in many Westminster system parliaments, the house to which the executive is responsible can overrule the other house and may be regarded as an example of imperfect bicameralism. Some legislatures lie in between these two positions, with one house only able to overrule the other under certain circumstances.

California State Assembly

The California State Assembly is the lower house of the California State Legislature, the upper house being the California State Senate. The Assembly convenes, along with the State Senate, at the California State Capitol in Sacramento.

The Assembly consists of 80 members, with each member representing at least 465,000 people. Due to a combination of the state's large population and relatively small legislature, the Assembly has the largest population-per-representative ratio of any state lower house and second largest of any legislative lower house in the United States after the federal House of Representatives.

Members of the California State Assembly are generally referred to using the titles Assemblyman (for men), Assemblywoman (for women), or Assemblymember (gender-neutral). In the current legislative session, Democrats enjoy a three-fourths supermajority of 61 seats, while Republicans control just 19 seats.

Congress of Deputies

The Congress of Deputies (Spanish: Congreso de los Diputados; Basque: Diputatuen Kongresua; Catalan: Congrés dels Diputats; Galician: Congreso dos Deputados) is the lower house of the Cortes Generales, Spain's legislative branch. It is located in the Palace of the Parliament (Palacio de las Cortes, Madrid).

It has 350 members elected by constituencies (matching fifty Spanish provinces and two autonomous cities) by proportional representation using the D'Hondt method. Deputies serve four-year terms. The President of the Congress of Deputies is the analogue to a speaker and presides over debates.

In the Congress, members of the Parliament from the political parties, or groups of parties, form parliamentary groups. Groups must be formed by at least 15 deputies, but a group can also be formed with only five deputies if the parties got at least 5% of the nationwide vote, or 15% of the votes in the constituencies in which they ran. The deputies belonging to parties who cannot create their own parliamentary group form the Mixed Group.. In June 2018, 41.72% of the deputies were women, being the third European country with more women in the lower house, after Sweden and Finland and same proportion as Norway.

Connecticut Compromise

The Connecticut Compromise (also known as the Great Compromise of 1787 or Sherman Compromise) was an agreement that large and small states reached during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 that in part defined the legislative structure and representation that each state would have under the United States Constitution. It retained the bicameral legislature as proposed by Roger Sherman, along with proportional representation of the states in the lower house, but required the upper house to be weighted equally among the states. Each state would have two representatives in the upper house.

Government of Maharashtra

The Government of Maharashtra is the government for the state of Maharashtra in Western India. It is an elected government with 288 MLAs elected to the legislative assembly for a five-year term. Maharashtra has a bicameral legislature i.e. it consists of two houses: Vidhan Sabha (legislative assembly) and Vidhan Parishad (legislative council). As is the case in a parliamentary system, the government is formed by the party, alliance or group of assembly members who command the majority, in the lower house. The leader of the majority in lower house becomes the Chief Minister and selects the cabinet members, from either lower (or) upper house. If one becomes CM or minister without being an MLA or MLC, he/she must become either of one within next 6 months. From the formation of the state in 1960, the Congress party or Congress-led alliance have ruled the state for the major part. Non-Congress government was first formed in 1978, then in 1995 with Shivsena-BJP alliance, and most recently in 2014 with a BJP-led alliance.

House of Commons

The House of Commons is the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada and historically was the name of the lower houses of the Kingdom of England, Kingdom of Great Britain, Kingdom of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Southern Ireland. Roughly equivalent bodies in other countries which were once part of the British Empire include the United States House of Representatives, the Australian House of Representatives, the New Zealand House of Representatives, and India's Lok Sabha.

In the UK and Canada, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the respective upper house of parliament. The leader of the majority party in the House of Commons usually becomes the prime minister. Since 2010 the House of Commons of the United Kingdom has had 650 elected members, and since 2015 the House of Commons of Canada has had 338 members. The Commons' functions are to consider through debate new laws and changes to existing ones, authorise taxes, and provide scrutiny of the policy and expenditure of the Government. It has the power to give a Government a vote of no confidence.

House of Representatives (Japan)

The House of Representatives (衆議院, Shūgiin) is the lower house of the National Diet of Japan. The House of Councillors is the upper house.

The House of Representatives has 465 members, elected for a four-year term. Of these, 176 members are elected from 11 multi-member constituencies by a party-list system of proportional representation, and 289 are elected from single-member constituencies. 233 seats are required for a majority.

The overall voting system used to elect the House of Representatives is a parallel system, a form of semi-proportional representation. Under a parallel system the allocation of list seats does not take into account the outcome in the single seat constituencies. Therefore, the overall allocation of seats in the House of Representatives is not proportional, to the advantage of larger parties. In contrast, in bodies such as the German Bundestag the election of single-seat members and party list members is linked, so that the overall result respects proportional representation.The House of Representatives is the more powerful of the two houses, able to override vetoes on bills imposed by the House of Councillors with a two-thirds majority. It can be dissolved by the Prime Minister at will, the most recent was by Shinzō Abe as on September 28, 2017.

Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada

The Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada was the lower house of the bicameral structure of provincial government in Lower Canada until 1838. The legislative assembly was created by the Constitutional Act of 1791. The lower house consisted of elected legislative councillors who created bills to be passed up to the Legislative Council of Lower Canada, whose members were appointed by the governor general.

The lower house was dissolved on March 27, 1838 following the Lower Canada Rebellion and Lower Canada was administered by an appointed Special Council. With the Act of Union in 1840, a new lower chamber, the Legislative Assembly of Canada, was created for both Upper and Lower Canada which existed until 1867, when the Legislative Assembly of Quebec was created.

Legislature

A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city. Legislatures form important parts of most governments; in the separation of powers model, they are often contrasted with the executive and judicial branches of government.

Laws enacted by legislatures are known as primary legislation. Legislatures observe and steer governing actions and usually have exclusive authority to amend the budget or budgets involved in the process.

The members of a legislature are called legislators. In a democracy, legislators are most commonly popularly elected, although indirect election and appointment by the executive are also used, particularly for bicameral legislatures featuring an upper chamber.

Maryland House of Delegates

The Maryland House of Delegates is the lower house of the legislature of the State of Maryland. It consists of 141 delegates elected from 47 districts. The House of Delegates Chamber is in the Maryland State House on State Circle in Annapolis, the state capital. The State House also houses the Maryland State Senate Chamber and the offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of the State of Maryland. Each delegate has offices in Annapolis, in the nearby Casper R. Taylor Jr. House Office Building.

Member of parliament

A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the voters to a parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, this category includes specifically members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title. Member of Congress is an equivalent term in other jurisdictions.

Members of parliament tend to form parliamentary groups (also called parliamentary parties) with members of the same political party.

Member of the Legislative Assembly (India)

A Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) is a representative elected by the voters of an electoral district (constituency) to the legislature of the State government in the Indian system of government. Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) are elected by the people. From Each constituency, the people elected one representative who then becomes a member of parliament the Legislative Assembly (MLA). Each state has between seven and nine MLAs for every Member of Parliament (MP) that it has in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India's bicameral parliament. There are also members in two unicameral legislatures in Union Territories: the Delhi Legislative Assembly and Puducherry Legislative Assembly.

Parliament of Victoria

The Parliament of Victoria is the bicameral legislature of the Australian state of Victoria. It follows a Westminster-derived parliamentary system and consists of The Queen, represented by the Governor of Victoria; the Legislative Assembly (lower house); and the Legislative Council (upper house). The Parliament meets at Parliament House in the state capital Melbourne.

The two Houses of Parliament have 128 Members in total, 88 in the lower house and 40 in the upper house. Victoria has compulsory voting and uses preferential ballot in single-member seats for the lower house, and single transferable vote in multi-member seats for the proportionally represented upper house. Government is formed in the lower house while the upper is a house of review. All members serve four-year terms.

The incumbent Labor Party government, re-elected at the 2018 election, holds a majority in the lower house.

Sejm

The Sejm of the Republic of Poland ([sɛjm] (listen); Polish: Sejm Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej) is the lower house of the Polish parliament. It consists of 460 deputies (posłowie, literally "envoys", in Polish) elected by universal ballot and is presided over by a speaker called the "Marshal of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland" (Marszałek Sejmu Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej). In the Kingdom of Poland, "Sejm" referred to the entire three-chamber parliament of Poland, comprising the lower house (the Chamber of Envoys; Polish: Izba Poselska), the upper house (the Senate; Polish: Senat) and the King. It was thus a three-estate parliament. Since the Second Polish Republic (1918–1939), "Sejm" has referred only to the lower house of the parliament; the upper house is called the Senat Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej ("Senate of the Republic of Poland").

Senate

A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or chamber of a bicameral legislature. The name comes from the ancient Roman Senate (Latin: Senatus), so-called as an assembly of the senior (Latin: senex meaning "the elder" or "old man") and therefore allegedly wiser and more experienced members of the society or ruling class. Thus, the literal meaning of the word "senate" is Assembly of Elders.

Many countries have an assembly named a senate, composed of senators who may be elected, appointed, have inherited the title, or gained membership by other methods, depending on the country. Modern senates typically serve to provide a chamber of "sober second thought" to consider legislation passed by a lower house, whose members are usually elected. Most senates have asymmetrical duties and powers compared with their respective lower house meaning they have special duties, for example to fill important political positions or to pass special laws. Conversely many senates have limited powers in changing or stopping bills under consideration and efforts to stall or veto a bill may be bypassed by the lower house or another branch of government.

State senator

A state senator is a member of a state's senate, the upper house in the bicameral legislature of 50 U.S. states, or a legislator in Nebraska's one-house state legislature.

There are typically fewer state senators than there are members of a state's lower house. In the past, this meant that senators represented various geographic regions within a state, regardless of the population, as a way of balancing the power of the lower house, which was apportioned according to population.

This system changed in 1963, when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that state legislatures must apportion seats in both houses according to population. However, the Single-member District system remained, and as a result, the State Senates became redundant bodies, as other solutions, such as abolition (as in Canada) or switching to statewide proportional representation (as in Australia) were not considered. A

senator's job is to represent the people at a higher level than a state representative in the lower house.

Upper house

An upper house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature (or one of three chambers of a tricameral legislature), the other chamber being the lower house. The house formally designated as the upper house is usually smaller and often has more restricted power than the lower house. Examples of upper houses in countries include the Australian Senate, Brazil's Senado Federal, France's Sénat, Germany's Bundesrat, India's Rajya Sabha, Ireland's Seanad, Malaysia's Dewan Negara, the Netherlands' Eerste Kamer, Pakistan's Senate of Pakistan, Russia's Federation Council, Switzerland's Council of States, United Kingdom's House of Lords and the United States Senate.

A legislature composed of only one house (and which therefore has neither an upper house nor a lower house) is described as unicameral.

Victorian Legislative Assembly

The Victorian Legislative Assembly is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of Victoria in Australia; the upper house being the Victorian Legislative Council. Both houses sit at Parliament House in Spring Street, Melbourne.

The presiding officer of the Legislative Assembly is the Speaker. There are presently 88 members of the Legislative Assembly elected from single-member divisions.

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