Bicameralism

Bicameralism

Overview
In the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

, bicameralism (Latin , two + , chamber) is the practice of having two legislative or parliamentary chambers. Thus, a bicameral parliament or bicameral legislature is a legislature
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

 which consists of two chambers or houses.

Bicameralism is an essential and defining feature of the classical
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 notion of mixed government
Mixed government
Mixed government, also known as a mixed constitution, is a form of government that integrates elements of democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy. In a mixed government, some issues are decided by the majority of the people, some other issues by few, and some other issues by a single person...

. Bicameral legislatures tend to require a concurrent majority
Concurrent majority
Concurrent majority refers in general to the concept of preventing majorities from oppressing minorities by allowing various minority groups veto power over laws. The most vocal proponents of the theory have tended to be minority groups, such as farmers in an industrial society or nonwhites in a...

 to pass legislation.

Although the ideas on which bicameralism is based can be traced back to the theories developed in Ancient Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

 and later ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, ancient India
History of India
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

, and Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, recognizable bicameral institutions first arose in medieval Europe where they were associated with separate representation of different estates of the realm.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Bicameralism'
Start a new discussion about 'Bicameralism'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
In the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

, bicameralism (Latin , two + , chamber) is the practice of having two legislative or parliamentary chambers. Thus, a bicameral parliament or bicameral legislature is a legislature
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

 which consists of two chambers or houses.

Bicameralism is an essential and defining feature of the classical
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 notion of mixed government
Mixed government
Mixed government, also known as a mixed constitution, is a form of government that integrates elements of democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy. In a mixed government, some issues are decided by the majority of the people, some other issues by few, and some other issues by a single person...

. Bicameral legislatures tend to require a concurrent majority
Concurrent majority
Concurrent majority refers in general to the concept of preventing majorities from oppressing minorities by allowing various minority groups veto power over laws. The most vocal proponents of the theory have tended to be minority groups, such as farmers in an industrial society or nonwhites in a...

 to pass legislation.

Theory of bicameral congress


Although the ideas on which bicameralism is based can be traced back to the theories developed in Ancient Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

 and later ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, ancient India
History of India
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

, and Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, recognizable bicameral institutions first arose in medieval Europe where they were associated with separate representation of different estates of the realm. For example, one house would represent the aristocracy, and the other would represent the commoners.

The Founding Fathers of the United States
Founding Fathers of the United States
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were political leaders and statesmen who participated in the American Revolution by signing the United States Declaration of Independence, taking part in the American Revolutionary War, establishing the United States Constitution, or by some...

 also favored a bicameral legislature. The idea was to have the Senate be wealthier, and (apparently) wiser. "The Senate was created to be a stabilizing force, elected not by mass electors, but selected by the State legislators. Senators would be more knowledgeable and more deliberate—a sort of republican nobility—and a counter to what Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

 saw as the 'fickleness and passion' that could absorb the House.

He noted further, 'The use of the Senate is to consist in its proceeding with more coolness, with more system and with more wisdom, than the popular branch.' Madison's argument led the Framers to grant the Senate prerogatives in foreign policy, an area where steadiness, discretion, and caution were deemed especially important". The Senate was chosen by state legislators, and senators had to possess a significant amount of property in order to be deemed worthy and sensible enough for the position. In fact, it was not until the year 1913 that the 17th Amendment
Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution established direct election of United States Senators by popular vote. The amendment supersedes Article I, § 3, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Constitution, under which senators were elected by state legislatures...

 was passed, which "mandated that Senators would be elected by popular vote rather than chosen by the State legislatures".

As part of the Great Compromise, they invented a new rationale for bicameralism in which the upper house would have states represented equally, and the lower house would have them represented by population.

In subsequent constitution making, federal states have often adopted bicameralism, and the solution remains popular when regional differences or sensitivities require more explicit representation, with the second chamber representing the constituent states. Nevertheless, the older justification for second chambers—providing opportunities for second thoughts about legislation—has survived.

Growing awareness of the complexity of the notion of representation and the multifunctional nature of modern legislatures may be affording incipient new rationales for second chambers, though these do generally remain contested institutions in ways that first chambers are not. An example of political controversy regarding a second chamber has been the debate over the powers of the Canadian Senate
Canadian Senate
The Senate of Canada is a component of the Parliament of Canada, along with the House of Commons, and the monarch . The Senate consists of 105 members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister...

 or the election of the Senate of France.

The relationship between the two chambers varies; in some cases, they have equal power, while in others, one chamber is clearly superior in its powers. The first tends to be the case in federal systems and those with presidential governments. The latter tends to be the case in unitary states with parliamentary system
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

s.

There are two streams of thought: Critics believe bicameralism makes meaningful political reforms more difficult to achieve and increases the risk of gridlock (particularly in cases where both chambers have similar powers), while proponents argue the merits of the "checks and balances" provided by the bicameral model, which they believe help prevent the passage into law of ill-considered legislation.

Federal


Some countries, such as Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Malaysia, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, link their bicameral systems to their federal
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

 political structure.

In the United States, Australia, and Mexico, for example, each state is given the same number of seats in the legislature's upper house. This takes account of population differences between states — it is designed to ensure that smaller states are not overshadowed by larger states, which have more representation in the lower house. In Canada, the country as a whole is divided into a number of Senate Divisions
Canadian Senate divisions
Canadian Senate divisions refers to two things. First, to the four regional Senate divisions of 24 senators as set out in the Constitution of Canada Canadian Senate divisions refers to two things. First, to the four regional Senate divisions of 24 senators as set out in the Constitution of Canada...

, each with a different number of Senators, based on a number of factors. These Divisions are Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, Western Provinces
Western Canada
Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

, and the Maritimes, each with 24 Senators, Yukon
Yukon
Yukon is the westernmost and smallest of Canada's three federal territories. It was named after the Yukon River. The word Yukon means "Great River" in Gwich’in....

, Northwest Territories
Northwest Territories
The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada.Located in northern Canada, the territory borders Canada's two other territories, Yukon to the west and Nunavut to the east, and three provinces: British Columbia to the southwest, and Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south...

, Nunavut
Nunavut
Nunavut is the largest and newest federal territory of Canada; it was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, though the actual boundaries had been established in 1993...

, each with 1 Senator, and Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

 has 6 Senators, making for a total of 105 Senators.

Senators in Canada are not elected by the people but are appointed by the Governor General
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

 on the advice
Advice (constitutional)
Advice, in constitutional law, is formal, usually binding, instruction given by one constitutional officer of state to another. Especially in parliamentary systems of government, Heads of state often act on the basis of advice issued by prime ministers or other government ministers...

 of the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Canada
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus head of government for Canada, charged with advising the Canadian monarch or viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers vested in them by the constitution...

. The Senate does not originate most legislation (although a small fraction of government bills are introduced in the Senate and Senators may introduce private members' bills in the same way as MPs) but acts as a chamber of revision almost always passing legislation approved by the House of Commons, made up of Members of Parliament (MPs) who are elected. The Senate must pass legislation before it becomes law and can therefore act as a wise facilitator or engage in filibuster. The Senate does not have to endure the accountability and scrutiny of parliamentary elections. Therefore, the bicameral structure of Canadian parliament is more de jure than de facto.

In the German, Indian, and Pakistani systems, the upper houses (the Bundesrat, the Rajya Sabha
Rajya Sabha
The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament of India. Rajya means "state," and Sabha means "assembly hall" in Sanskrit. Membership is limited to 250 members, 12 of whom are chosen by the President of India for their expertise in specific fields of art, literature,...

, and the Pakistani Senate
Senate of Pakistan
The Senate of Pakistan is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Pakistan. Elections are held every three years for one half of the senate and each senator has a term of six years...

 respectively) are even more closely linked with the federal system, being appointed or elected directly by the governments or legislatures of each German Bundesland
States of Germany
Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...

, Indian State
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

, or Pakistani Province. (This was also the case in the United States before the 17th Amendment
Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution established direct election of United States Senators by popular vote. The amendment supersedes Article I, § 3, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Constitution, under which senators were elected by state legislatures...

.) The Indian Upper House does not have the states represented equally, but on the basis of their population. Same holds for German Bundesrat, although less populated states still have a stronger voting power than would be the case in a system based purely on population.

There are also instances of bicameralism in countries that are not federations, but which have upper houses with representation on a territorial basis. For example in South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, the National Council of Provinces
National Council of Provinces
The National Council of Provinces is the upper house of the Parliament of South Africa under the constitution which came into full effect in 1997...

 (and before 1997, the Senate
Senate of South Africa
The Senate was the upper house of the Parliament of South Africa between 1910 and its abolition from 1 January 1981, and between 1994 and 1997.-1910-1981:...

) has its members chosen by each Province
Provinces of South Africa
South Africa is currently divided into nine provinces. On the eve of the 1994 general election, South Africa's former homelands, also known as Bantustans, were reintegrated and the four existing provinces were divided into nine. The twelfth, thirteenth and sixteenth amendments to the constitution...

's legislature. "

In Spain the Spanish Senate
Spanish Senate
The Senate of Spain is the upper house of Spain's parliament, the . It is made up of 264 members: 208 elected by popular vote, and 56 appointed by the regional legislatures. All senators serve four-year terms, though regional legislatures may recall their appointees at any time.The last election...

 functions as a de facto territorial-based upper house, and there has been some pressure from the Autonomous Communities to reform it into a strictly territorial chamber.

The European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 maintains a bicameral legislative system which consists of the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

, which is elected in general elections on the basis of universal suffrage, and the Council of the European Union
Council of the European Union
The Council of the European Union is the institution in the legislature of the European Union representing the executives of member states, the other legislative body being the European Parliament. The Council is composed of twenty-seven national ministers...

 which consists of members of the governments of the Member States which are competent for the relevant field of legislation. Although the European Union is not considered a state, it enjoys the power to legislate in many areas of politics; in some areas, those powers are even exclusively reserved to it.

Aristocratic


In a few countries, bicameralism involves the juxtaposition of democratic and aristocratic elements.

The best known example is the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

, which includes a number of hereditary peer
Hereditary peer
Hereditary peers form part of the Peerage in the United Kingdom. There are over seven hundred peers who hold titles that may be inherited. Formerly, most of them were entitled to sit in the House of Lords, but since the House of Lords Act 1999 only ninety-two are permitted to do so...

s. The House of Lords represents a vestige of the aristocratic system which once predominated in British politics, while the other house, the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

, is entirely elected. Over the years, there have been proposals to reform the House of Lords, some of which have been at least partly successful — the House of Lords Act 1999
House of Lords Act 1999
The House of Lords Act 1999 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that was given Royal Assent on 11 November 1999. The Act reformed the House of Lords, one of the chambers of Parliament. For centuries, the House of Lords had included several hundred members who inherited their seats;...

 limited the number of hereditary peers (as opposed to life peer
Life peer
In the United Kingdom, life peers are appointed members of the Peerage whose titles cannot be inherited. Nowadays life peerages, always of baronial rank, are created under the Life Peerages Act 1958 and entitle the holders to seats in the House of Lords, presuming they meet qualifications such as...

s, appointed by the government) to 92, down from around 700. The ability of the House of Lords to block legislation is curtailed by the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949
Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949
The Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 are two Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which form part of the constitution of the United Kingdom. Section 2 of the Parliament Act 1949 provides that that Act and the Parliament Act 1911 are to be construed as one.The Parliament Act 1911 The...

. Further reform of the Lords is planned.

Another example of aristocratic bicameralism was the Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese House of Peers
House of Peers (Japan)
The ' was the upper house of the Imperial Diet as mandated under the Constitution of the Empire of Japan ....

, abolished after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and replaced with the present House of Councillors
House of Councillors
The is the upper house of the Diet of Japan. The House of Representatives is the lower house. The House of Councillors is the successor to the pre-war House of Peers. If the two houses disagree on matters of the budget, treaties, or designation of the prime minister, the House of Representatives...

.

Unitary states


Many bicameral countries like the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

, the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 and Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 are examples of bicameral systems existing in unitary state
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

s. In countries such as these, the upper house generally focuses on scrutinizing and possibly vetoing the decisions of the lower house.

In some of these countries, the upper house is indirectly elected. Members of France's Senate
French Senate
The Senate is the upper house of the Parliament of France, presided over by a president.The Senate enjoys less prominence than the lower house, the directly elected National Assembly; debates in the Senate tend to be less tense and generally enjoy less media coverage.-History:France's first...

, Ireland's Seanad Éireann
Seanad Éireann
Seanad Éireann is the upper house of the Oireachtas , which also comprises the President of Ireland and Dáil Éireann . It is commonly called the Seanad or Senate and its members Senators or Seanadóirí . Unlike Dáil Éireann, it is not directly elected but consists of a mixture of members chosen by...

 are chosen by electoral college
Electoral college
An electoral college is a set of electors who are selected to elect a candidate to a particular office. Often these represent different organizations or entities, with each organization or entity represented by a particular number of electors or with votes weighted in a particular way...

s consisting of members of the lower house, local councillors, the Taoiseach
Taoiseach
The Taoiseach is the head of government or prime minister of Ireland. The Taoiseach is appointed by the President upon the nomination of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas , and must, in order to remain in office, retain the support of a majority in the Dáil.The current Taoiseach is...

, and graduates of selected universities, while the Netherlands' Senate is chosen by members of provincial assemblies (which in turn are directly elected).

Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 had a kind of semi-bicameral legislature with two chambers, or departments, within the same elected body, the Storting. These were called the Odelsting and Lagting and were abolished after the general election of 2009. According to Morten Søberg, there was a related system in the 1798 constitution of the Batavian Republic
Batavian Republic
The Batavian Republic was the successor of the Republic of the United Netherlands. It was proclaimed on January 19, 1795, and ended on June 5, 1806, with the accession of Louis Bonaparte to the throne of the Kingdom of Holland....

.

In Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, members of the unicameral Legislative Council returned from geographical constituencies and functional constituencies are required to vote separately since 1997 on motions, bills or amendments to government bills not introduced by the government. The passage of these motions, bills or amendments to government bills requires double majority in both groups simultaneously. (Before 2004, when elections to the Legislative Council from the Election Committee
Election Committee
The Election Committee is an 800-member electoral college in the politics of Hong Kong. It was established by Annex I of the Basic Law of Hong Kong. This article defines the method of electing the Chief Executive. It is renewed every five years when the sitting Chief Executive's term has expired...

 was abolished, members returned through the Election Committee vote with members returned from geographical constituencies.) The double majority requirement does not apply to motions, bills and amendments introduced by the government.

Subnational entities


In some countries with federal systems, individual states (like those of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Australia
States and territories of Australia
The Commonwealth of Australia is a union of six states and various territories. The Australian mainland is made up of five states and three territories, with the sixth state of Tasmania being made up of islands. In addition there are six island territories, known as external territories, and a...

 and a few States of India) may also have bicameral legislatures. Only three such states, Nebraska
Nebraska
Nebraska is a state on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha, on the Missouri River....

 in the US, Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

 in Australia and Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 in Germany have later adopted unicameral systems. Canadian provinces had all their upper houses abolished.

United States


During the 1930s, the Legislature of the State of Nebraska was reduced from bicameral to unicameral with the 43 members that once comprised that state's Senate. One of the arguments used to sell the idea at the time to Nebraska voters was that by adopting a unicameral system, the perceived evils of the "conference committee
Conference committee
A conference committee is a joint committee of a bicameral legislature, which is appointed by, and consists of, members of both chambers to resolve disagreements on a particular bill...

" process would be eliminated.

A conference committee is appointed when the two chambers cannot agree on the same wording of a proposal, and consists of a small number of legislators from each chamber. This tends to place much power in the hands of only a small number of legislators. Whatever legislation, if any, the conference committee finalizes must then be approved in an unamendable "take-it-or-leave-it" manner by both chambers.

During his term as Governor
Governor
A governor is a governing official, usually the executive of a non-sovereign level of government, ranking under the head of state...

 of the State of Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, Jesse Ventura
Jesse Ventura
James George Janos , better known as Jesse Ventura, is an American politician, the 38th Governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003, Navy UDT veteran, former SEAL reservist, actor, and former radio and television talk show host...

 proposed converting the Minnesotan legislature to a single chamber with proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

, as a reform that he felt would solve many legislative difficulties and impinge upon legislative corruption. In his book on political issues, Do I Stand Alone?, Ventura argued that bicameral legislatures for provincial and local areas were excessive and unnecessary, and discussed unicameralism as a reform that could address many legislative and budgetary problems for states.

Australia


In Australian states, the lower house was traditionally elected based on the one-vote-one-value principle, whereas the upper house was partially appointed and elected, with a bias towards country voters. In Queensland, the appointed upper house
Queensland Legislative Council
The Queensland Legislative Council was the upper house of the parliament in the Australian state of Queensland. It was a fully nominated body which first took office on 1 May 1860. It was abolished by the Constitution Amendment Act 1921, which took effect on 23 March 1922.Consequently, the...

 was abolished in 1922, while in New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

 there were similar attempts at abolition, before the upper house
New South Wales Legislative Council
The New South Wales Legislative Council, or upper house, is one of the two chambers of the parliament of New South Wales in Australia. The other is the Legislative Assembly. Both sit at Parliament House in the state capital, Sydney. The Assembly is referred to as the lower house and the Council as...

 was reformed in the 1970s to provide for direct election. Nowadays, the upper house is elected using proportional voting and the lower house through preferential voting, except in Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

, where proportional voting is used for the lower house, and preferential voting for the upper house.

India


Few Indian States -Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jammu-Kashmir & Bihar - have Bicameral Legislatures, these are called legislative councils (Vidhan Parishad
Vidhan Parishad
The Vidhan Parishad is the upper house in those states of India that have a bicameral legislature. , six states have a Legislative Council: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh...

), one third of who get elected every 5 years, there are graduate constituencies (members elected exclusively by graduates), teachers constituencies (members elected exclusively by teachers), municipal constituencies (members elected exclusively by Mayors and council members of the city Governments).From 1956 to 1958 the Andhra Pradesh Legislature was Unicameral and from 1958 when the Council was formed, it became bicameral and continued till 1st June, 1985 when the Legislative Council was abolished.This continued until March 2007 when the Legislative Council was reestablished and elections were held for its seats. Since then the Andhra Pradesh Legislature has become once again Bicameral.

Germany


The German state of Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 had a bicameral legislature from 1946 to 1999, when the Senate
Senate of Bavaria
The Senate of Bavaria was the corporative upper chamber of Bavaria's parliamentary system from 1946 to 1999, when it was abolished by a popular vote changing the constitution of this State of the German federation....

 was abolished by a referendum amending the state's constitution.

Arab political reform


A 2005 report on democratic reform in the Arab world by the US Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations is an American nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs...

 co-sponsored by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
Madeleine Albright
Madeleine Korbelová Albright is the first woman to become a United States Secretary of State. She was appointed by U.S. President Bill Clinton on December 5, 1996, and was unanimously confirmed by a U.S. Senate vote of 99–0...

 urged Arab states to adopt bicameralism, with upper chambers appointed on a 'specialised basis'. The Council claimed that this would protect against the 'Tyranny of the majority
Tyranny of the majority
The phrase "tyranny of the majority" , used in discussing systems of democracy and majority rule, is a criticism of the scenario in which decisions made by a majority under that system would place that majority's interests so far above a dissenting individual's interest that the individual would be...

', expressing concerns that without a system of checks and balances extremists would use the single chamber parliaments to restrict the rights of minority
Minority group
A minority is a sociological group within a demographic. The demographic could be based on many factors from ethnicity, gender, wealth, power, etc. The term extends to numerous situations, and civilizations within history, despite the misnomer of minorities associated with a numerical statistic...

 groups.

In 2002, Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

 adopted a bicameral system with an elected lower chamber and an appointed upper house. This led to a boycott of parliamentary elections that year by the Al Wefaq
Al Wefaq
Al Wefaq National Islamic Society , also known as the Islamic National Accord Association, is a Bahraini political society, and the largest party in the Bahrain, both in terms of its membership and its results at the polls...

 party, who said that the government would use the upper house to veto their plans. Many secular critics of bicameralism were won around to its benefits in 2005, after many MPs in the lower house voted for the introduction of so-called morality police.

Romania


A referendum
Romanian parliamentary reform referendum, 2009
A referendum on modifying the size and structure of the Parliament from the current bicameral one with 137 senators and 334 deputies to a unicameral one with a maximum of 300 seats was held in Romania on 22 November 2009, at the same time as the first round of the 2009 presidential election...

 on introducing a unicameral Parliament instead of the current bicameral Parliament
Parliament of Romania
The Parliament of Romania is made up of two chambers:*The Chamber of Deputies*The SenatePrior to the modifications of the Constitution in 2003, the two houses had identical attributes. A text of a law had to be approved by both houses...

 was held in Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 on 22 November 2009. The turnout rate was 50.95%, with 77.78% of "Yes" votes for a unicameral Parliament. This referendum had a consultative role, thus requiring a parliamentary initiative and another referendum to ratify the new proposed changes.

Examples



  • Afghanistan
    Afghanistan
    Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

     - The National Assembly
    National Assembly of Afghanistan
    The National Assembly is Afghanistan's national legislature. It is a bicameral body, comprising two chambers:*Wolesi Jirga or the House of the People: the 250-member lower house.*Meshrano Jirga ) or the House of Elders: an upper house with 102 seats....

    consists of Masharano Jirga and Wolesi Jirga
  • Argentina
    Argentina
    Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

     - The National Congress
    Argentine National Congress
    The Congress of the Argentine Nation is the legislative branch of the government of Argentina. Its composition is bicameral, constituted by a 72-seat Senate and a 257-seat Chamber of Deputies....

    consists of Senate
    Argentine Senate
    The Argentine Senate is the upper house of the Argentine National Congress. It has 72 senators: three for each province and three for the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires...

     and Chamber of Deputies
    Argentine Chamber of Deputies
    The Chamber of Deputies is the lower house of the Argentine National Congress. This Chamber holds exclusive rights to create taxes, to draft troops, and to accuse the President, the ministers and the members of the Supreme Court before the Senate....

    . Of the twenty-three provincial legislatures, eight are bicameral, while the remaining fifteen and the legislature of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires are unicameral.
  • Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

     - The Parliament
    Parliament of Australia
    The Parliament of Australia, also known as the Commonwealth Parliament or Federal Parliament, is the legislative branch of the government of Australia. It is bicameral, largely modelled in the Westminster tradition, but with some influences from the United States Congress...

    consists of the House of Representatives
    Australian House of Representatives
    The House of Representatives is one of the two houses of the Parliament of Australia; it is the lower house; the upper house is the Senate. Members of Parliament serve for terms of approximately three years....

     and Senate
    Australian Senate
    The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the lower house being the House of Representatives. Senators are popularly elected under a system of proportional representation. Senators are elected for a term that is usually six years; after a double dissolution, however,...

    ; all of the state parliaments except Queensland
    Queensland
    Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

    's are also bicameral.
  • Austria
    Austria
    Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

     - The Parliament
    Parliament of Austria
    In the Parliament of Austria is vested the legislative power of the Republic of Austria. The institution consists of two chambers,* the National Council and* the Federal Council ....

    consists of the and the ; all of the have unicameral parliaments.
  • Belgium
    Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

     - The Federal Parliament
    Belgian Federal Parliament
    The Belgian Federal Parliament is a bicameral parliament. It consists of the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate . It sits in the Palace of the Nation .- Chamber of Representatives :...

    consists of the Chamber of Representatives and Senate
    Belgian Senate
    The Belgian Senate is one of the two chambers of the bicameral Federal Parliament of Belgium, the other being the Chamber of Representatives. It is considered to be the "upper house" of the Federal Parliament.-History and future:...

    ; all of the community and regional parliaments are unicameral.
  • Brazil
    Brazil
    Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

     - The National Congress
    National Congress of Brazil
    The National Congress of Brazil is the legislative body of Brazil's federal government.Unlike regional legislative bodies – Legislative Assemblies and City Councils -, the Congress is bicameral, composed of the Federal Senate and the Chamber of Deputies .The Senate represents the 26 states and...

    consists of the Senate
    Senate of Brazil
    The Federal Senate of Brazil is the upper house of the National Congress of Brazil. Created by the first Constitution of the Brazilian Empire in 1824, it was inspired by the United Kingdom's House of Lords, but with the Proclamation of the Republic in 1889 it became closer to the United States...

     and the Chamber of Deputies
    Chamber of Deputies of Brazil
    The Chamber of Deputies of Brazil is a federal legislative body and the lower house of the National Congress of Brazil. As of 2006, the chamber comprises 513 deputies, who are elected by proportional representation to serve four-year terms...

    ; all of the 26 state legislatures and the Federal District legislature are unicameral.
  • Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

     - The Parliament
    Parliament of Canada
    The Parliament of Canada is the federal legislative branch of Canada, seated at Parliament Hill in the national capital, Ottawa. Formally, the body consists of the Canadian monarch—represented by her governor general—the Senate, and the House of Commons, each element having its own officers and...

    consists of the House of Commons
    Canadian House of Commons
    The House of Commons of Canada is a component of the Parliament of Canada, along with the Sovereign and the Senate. The House of Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 308 members known as Members of Parliament...

     and the Senate
    Canadian Senate
    The Senate of Canada is a component of the Parliament of Canada, along with the House of Commons, and the monarch . The Senate consists of 105 members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister...

    ; all of the provincial legislatures are unicameral.
  • France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

     - The Parliament
    Parliament of France
    The French Parliament is the bicameral legislature of the French Republic, consisting of the Senate and the National Assembly . Each assembly conducts legislative sessions at a separate location in Paris: the Palais du Luxembourg for the Senate, the Palais Bourbon for the National Assembly.Each...

    in the Fifth French Republic
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

     consists of the National Assembly
    French National Assembly
    The French National Assembly is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of France under the Fifth Republic. The upper house is the Senate ....

     and the Senate
    French Senate
    The Senate is the upper house of the Parliament of France, presided over by a president.The Senate enjoys less prominence than the lower house, the directly elected National Assembly; debates in the Senate tend to be less tense and generally enjoy less media coverage.-History:France's first...

  • Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

     - The and in Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    , which form two distinct bodies not framed by a comprehensive institution; all of the today have unicameral parliaments.
  • India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

     - The Parliament
    Parliament of India
    The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in India. Founded in 1919, the Parliament alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all political bodies in India. The Parliament of India comprises the President and the two Houses, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha...

    in India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

    , which consists of the (House of the People) and the (Council of States); some of the states also have bicameral legislatures namely (Legislative Assembly) and (Legislative Council).
  • Ireland
    Republic of Ireland
    Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

     - The consists of (the House of Representatives) and (the Senate).
  • Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

     - The Parliament consists of two chambers that have same role and power: the Senate
    Italian Senate
    The Senate of the Republic is the upper house of the Italian Parliament. It was established in its current form on 8 May 1948, but previously existed during the Kingdom of Italy as Senato del Regno , itself a continuation of the Senato Subalpino of Sardinia-Piedmont established on 8 May 1848...

     (Senate of the Republic, commonly considered the upper house) and the Chamber of Deputies
    Italian Chamber of Deputies
    The Italian Chamber of Deputies is the lower house of the Parliament of Italy. It has 630 seats, a plurality of which is controlled presently by liberal-conservative party People of Freedom. Twelve deputies represent Italian citizens outside of Italy. Deputies meet in the Palazzo Montecitorio. A...

    , considered the lower house) with twice as many members as the Senate.
  • Japan
    Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

     - The Diet
    Diet of Japan
    The is Japan's bicameral legislature. It is composed of a lower house, called the House of Representatives, and an upper house, called the House of Councillors. Both houses of the Diet are directly elected under a parallel voting system. In addition to passing laws, the Diet is formally...

    is bicameral, consisting of the House of Representatives
    House of Representatives of Japan
    The is the lower house of the Diet of Japan. The House of Councillors of Japan is the upper house.The House of Representatives has 480 members, elected for a four-year term. Of these, 180 members are elected from 11 multi-member constituencies by a party-list system of proportional representation,...

     as the lower house and the House of Councillors as the upper house.
  • Malaysia - The Parliament
    Parliament of Malaysia
    The Parliament of Malaysia is the national legislature of Malaysia, based on the Westminster system. The bicameral parliament consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The King as the Head of State is the third component of Parliament....

    consists of the (House of Representatives) and the (Senate); all of the state legislatures are unicameral.
  • Mexico
    Mexico
    The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

     - The Congress
    Congress of Mexico
    The Congress of the Union is the legislative branch of the Mexican government...

    consists of the Senate
    Senate of Mexico
    The Senate of the Republic, constitutionally Chamber of Senators of the Honorable Congress of the Union After a series of reforms during the 1990s, it is now made up of 128 senators:...

     and the Chamber of Deputies
    Chamber of Deputies of Mexico
    The Chamber of Deputies is the lower house of the Congress of the Union, Mexico's bicameral legislature. The structure and responsibilities of both chambers of Congress are defined in Articles 50 to 70 of the current constitution.-Composition:The Chamber of Deputies is composed of one federal...

    ; all the 31 State Congresses and the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District are unicameral.
  • Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

     - The States-General of the Netherlands
    States-General of the Netherlands
    The States-General of the Netherlands is the bicameral legislature of the Netherlands, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The parliament meets in at the Binnenhof in The Hague. The archaic Dutch word "staten" originally related to the feudal classes in which medieval...

    consists of the (House of Representatives, literally Second Chamber) and the (Senate, literally First Chamber)
  • Pakistan
    Pakistan
    Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

     - The Parliament consists of the National Assembly
    National Assembly of Pakistan
    The National Assembly of Pakistan is the lower house of the bicameral Majlis-e-Shura, which also compromises the President of Pakistan and Senate . The National Assembly and the Senate both convene at Parliament House in Islamabad...

     and the Senate
    Senate of Pakistan
    The Senate of Pakistan is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Pakistan. Elections are held every three years for one half of the senate and each senator has a term of six years...

    ; all of the provincial assemblies are unicameral.
  • Philippines
    Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

     - The Congress
    Congress of the Philippines
    The Congress of the Philippines is the national legislature of the Republic of the Philippines. It is a bicameral body consisting of the Senate , and the House of Representatives although commonly in the Philippines the term congress refers to the latter.The Senate is composed of 24 senators half...

    consists of a Senate
    Senate of the Philippines
    The Senate of the Philippines is the upper chamber of the bicameral legislature of the Philippines, the Congress of the Philippines...

     and a House of Representatives
    House of Representatives of the Philippines
    The House of Representatives of the Philippines is the lower chamber of the...

    ; all local legislatures are unicameral.
  • Russian Federation - The Federal Assembly
    Federal Assembly of Russia
    The Federal Assembly of Russia is the legislature of the Russian Federation, according to the Constitution of Russian Federation, 1993...

    consists of the State Duma
    State Duma
    The State Duma , common abbreviation: Госду́ма ) in the Russian Federation is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia , the upper house being the Federation Council of Russia. The Duma headquarters is located in central Moscow, a few steps from Manege Square. Its members are referred to...

     and the Federation Council
    Federation Council of Russia
    Federation Council of Russia ) is the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia , according to the 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation...

    ; all of the provincial parliaments are unicameral.
  • South Africa
    South Africa
    The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

     - The Parliament
    Parliament of South Africa
    The Parliament of South Africa is South Africa's legislature and under the country's current Constitution is composed of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces....

    consists of the National Assembly
    National Assembly of South Africa
    The National Assembly is the lower house of the Parliament of South Africa, located in Cape Town, Western Cape Province. It consists of no fewer than 350 and no more than 400 members...

     and the National Council of Provinces
    National Council of Provinces
    The National Council of Provinces is the upper house of the Parliament of South Africa under the constitution which came into full effect in 1997...

    ; all of the provincial legislatures are unicameral.
  • Spain
    Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

     - The consists of a lower house, the Congress of Deputies
    Spanish Congress of Deputies
    The Spanish Congress of Deputies is the lower house of the Cortes Generales, Spain's legislative branch. It has 350 members, elected by popular vote on block lists by proportional representation in constituencies matching the Spanish provinces using the D'Hondt method. Deputies serve four-year terms...

     and an upper house, the |Senate
    Spanish Senate
    The Senate of Spain is the upper house of Spain's parliament, the . It is made up of 264 members: 208 elected by popular vote, and 56 appointed by the regional legislatures. All senators serve four-year terms, though regional legislatures may recall their appointees at any time.The last election...

     (Senate). Moreover, each Spanish autonomous region
    Autonomous communities of Spain
    An autonomous community In other languages of Spain:*Catalan/Valencian .*Galician .*Basque . The second article of the constitution recognizes the rights of "nationalities and regions" to self-government and declares the "indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation".Political power in Spain is...

     has its own unicameral regional parliament, with wide-ranging legislative powers on their own.
  • Switzerland
    Switzerland
    Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

     - The Federal Assembly consists of the National Council
    National Council of Switzerland
    The National Council of Switzerland is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland. With 200 seats, it is the larger of the two houses....

     and the Council of States
    Swiss Council of States
    The Council of States of Switzerland is the smaller chamber of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland, and is considered the Assembly's upper house. There are 46 Councillors....

    ; all of the cantons have unicameral parliaments.
  • United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

     - The Parliament
    Parliament of the United Kingdom
    The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

    consists of the House of Commons
    British House of Commons
    The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

     and the House of Lords
    House of Lords
    The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

  • United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

     - The Congress
    United States Congress
    The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

    consists of the Senate
    United States Senate
    The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

     and the House of Representatives
    United States House of Representatives
    The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

    ; all of the state legislatures except Nebraska
    Nebraska Legislature
    The Nebraska Legislature is the supreme legislative body of the State of Nebraska, in the Great Plains region of the United States. The Legislature meets at the Nebraska State Capitol in the City of Lincoln, Lancaster County....

     are also bicameral.

See also

  • List of national legislatures
  • Lower house
    Lower house
    A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide the lower house has come to wield more power...

  • Tetracameralism
    Tetracameralism
    Tetracameralism is the practice of having four legislative or parliamentary chambers. It is contrasted to unicameralism and bicameralism, which are far more common, and tricameralism, which is rarely used in government...

  • Tricameralism
    Tricameralism
    Tricameralism is the practice of having three legislative or parliamentary chambers. It is contrasted to unicameralism and bicameralism, both of which are far more common....

  • Unicameralism
    Unicameralism
    In government, unicameralism is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a unicameral parliament or unicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of one chamber or house...

  • Upper house
    Upper house
    An upper house, often called a senate, is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house; a legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.- Possible specific characteristics :...