How should the legislative branch be composed? Should it be a unicameral, bicameral, tricameral body? What should each house be responsible for? How should laws be passed? How long should elected members serve?


3 Comments on “Legislative”

  1. maldencapell Says:

    A very quick note…

    It depends on a number of factors, but the pattern around the world appears to be that any democratic country larger than 15 million people at present has a bicameral legislature.

    The one exception to this I can find is South Korea which abolished its Upper House quite recently.

    The functions of the second chamber vis-a-vis the lower House depends on the country, too.

    If the country is federal or at least has strongly identifiable and relatively balanced regional differences, then the Upper House can serve to represent subnational bodies, while the lower House represents the people. This works fine in countries such as Germany, the US, Australia and to an extent Spain.

    However in countries which are unitary and/or the regionalism is either weak, or one subnational region is overwhelmingly large or powerful, a second chamber based on regional representation can be hugely dangerous.

    For example, the UK could not have a second chamber representing England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland as England alone constitutes 80% of the UK’s wealth, geography and population.

    Most importantly though it should be determined what a second chamber is for. In the UK it’s widely acknowledged that the House of Lords’ role is not to challenge or defy the House of Commons – its role is complimentary. The Commons gets on with representing the people, and rightly has the final say on what laws should be passed; the Lords complements this by scrutining Bills much more thoroughly and bringing their expertise to bear on scrutinising the government and improving legislation. If the two Houses end up disagreeing the Lords acknowledges the Commons’ right to have the last word. It is this that ensures the British system retains core accountability in one single elected chamber which makes the final decisions, and a second chamber which enables it to make sure as best as possible that its decisions are realistic.

    An elected second chamber in Britain would undo this state of affairs.

  2. Mikei Says:

    Is there a forum somewhere related to this, or could you answer questions by email

  3. recepti Says:

    my God, i thought you were going to chip in with some decisive insght at the end there, not leave it with ‘we leave it to you to decide’.

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