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In
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, Executive (government), ex ...
, unicameralism (Latin , "one" and , "chamber") is the practice of having a single legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a ''unicameral parliament'' or ''unicameral legislature'' is a
legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday l ...
which consists of one chamber or house.


Concept

Unicameral legislatures exist when there is no widely perceived need for multicameralism. Many multicameral legislatures were created to give separate voices to different sectors of society. Multiple chambers allowed for example for a guaranteed representation of different social classes (as in the
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British overseas territories. It alone possesses Parliamen ...
or the French States-General). Sometimes, as in
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and more than 700 List of islands of New Zealand, smaller islands, coveri ...
and
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ), officially the Kingdom of Denmark, da, Kongeriget Danmark, . See also: The unity of the Realm is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe. Denmark proper, which is the southernmost of the Scandinavian c ...
, unicameralism comes about through the abolition of one of two bicameral chambers, or, as in
Sweden Sweden (; sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe.The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's for ...
, through the merger of the two chambers into a single one, while in others a second chamber has never existed from the beginning. The principal advantage of a unicameral system is more democratic and efficient lawmaking, as the legislative process is simpler and there is no possibility of deadlock between two chambers. Proponents of unicameralism have also argued that it reduces costs, even if the number of legislators stay the same, since there are fewer institutions to maintain and support it financially. Proponents of bicameral legislatures allege that this offers the opportunity to re-debate and correct errors in either chamber in parallel, and in some cases to introduce legislation in either chamber. The main weakness of a unicameral system can be seen as alleged lack of restraint on the majority, particularly noticeable in
parliamentary system A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (or subordinate entity) where the Executive (government), executive derives its democratic legitimacy fro ...
s where the leaders of the parliamentary majority also dominate the
executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief exec ...
. There is also the risk that important sectors of society may not be adequately represented by the elected singular body.


List of unicameral legislatures

Approximately half of the world's
sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government ...
s are currently unicameral. The
People's Republic of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6& ...
is somewhat in between, with a legislature and a formal advisory body. China has a
Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC, zh, 中国人民政治协商会议), also known as the People's PCC (, ) or simply the PCC (), is a political advisory body in the People's Republic of China and a central part of t ...

Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
which meets alongside the
National People's Congress The National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China, normally referred to as the National People's Congress (usually abbreviated NPC), is the highest organ of state power and the national legislature of the People's Republic of ...
, in many respects an advisory "upper house". Many subnational entities have unicameral legislatures. These include the state of Nebraska and territories of Guam and the United States Virgin Islands, Virgin Islands in the United States, the Chinese Special administrative regions of China, special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, the Australia, Australian state of Queensland as well as the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, a majority of the provinces of Argentina, all of the Provinces and territories of Canada, provinces and territories in Canada, all of the States of Germany, German states, all of the regions of Italy, all of the Spanish autonomous communities, both the autonomous regions of Portugal, most of the states and union territories of India and all of the states of Brazil. In the United Kingdom, the devolved Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, Senedd Cymru, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the London Assembly are also unicameral.


National (UN member states and observers)


Federal

* Assembly of the Union of the Comoros, Assembly of the Union of the * Council of Representatives of Iraq, Council of Representatives of (provision exists for the founding of a "Council of Union", but no move to this effect has been initiated by the existing Council) * Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia, Congress of * National Assembly of Saint Kitts and Nevis, National Assembly of * Federal National Council of the * National Assembly (Venezuela), National Assembly of


Unitary


= Africa

= * National Assembly of Angola, National Assembly of * National Assembly of Benin, National Assembly of * National Assembly of Botswana, National Assembly of * National Assembly of Burkina Faso, National Assembly of * National Assembly of Cape Verde, National Assembly of * National Assembly of the Central African Republic, National Assembly of the * National Assembly of Chad, National Assembly of * National Assembly of Djibouti, National Assembly of * House of Representatives (Egypt), House of Representatives of * National Assembly of Eritrea, National Assembly of * National Assembly of the Gambia, National Assembly of the * Parliament of Ghana, Parliament of * National Assembly of Guinea, National Assembly of * National People's Assembly of Guinea-Bissau, National People's Assembly of * House of Representatives (Libya), House of Representatives of * National Assembly of Malawi, National Assembly of * Majlis of the Maldives, Majlis of the * National assembly of mali, National Assembly of * Mauritanian Parliament, Parliament of * National Assembly of Mauritius, National Assembly of * Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique, Assembly of the Republic of * National Assembly of Niger, National Assembly of * National Assembly of São Tomé and Príncipe, National Assembly of * National Assembly (Senegal), National Assembly of * National Assembly of Seychelles, National Assembly of * Parliament of Sierra Leone, Parliament of * National Assembly of Tanzania, National Assembly of * National Assembly of Togo, National Assembly of * Assembly of the Representatives of the People, National Assembly of * Parliament of Uganda, Parliament of * National Assembly of Zambia, National Assembly of


= Americas

= * Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, Legislative Assembly of * National Assembly of People's Power of * House of Assembly of Dominica, House of Assembly of * National Assembly (Ecuador), National Assembly of * Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, Legislative Assembly of * Congress of Guatemala, Congress of * National Assembly of Guyana, National Assembly of * National Congress of Honduras, National Congress of * National Assembly of Nicaragua, National Assembly of * National Assembly of Panama, National Assembly of * Congress of the Republic of Peru, Congress of the Republic of * House of Assembly of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, House of Assembly of * National Assembly of Suriname, National Assembly of


= Asia

= * Jatiya Sangsad of * Legislative Council of Brunei, Legislative Council of *
National People's Congress The National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China, normally referred to as the National People's Congress (usually abbreviated NPC), is the highest organ of state power and the national legislature of the People's Republic of ...
of the - though they also have a
Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC, zh, 中国人民政治协商会议), also known as the People's PCC (, ) or simply the PCC (), is a political advisory body in the People's Republic of China and a central part of t ...

Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
which is effectively an advisory "upper house". * National Parliament of East Timor, National Parliament of * Islamic Consultative Assembly (Iran), Islamic Consultative Assembly of * Supreme People's Assembly of * National Assembly of South Korea, National Assembly of * National Assembly of Kuwait, National Assembly of * Supreme Council of Kyrgyzstan, Supreme Council of * National Assembly of Laos, National Assembly of * Parliament of Lebanon, Parliament of * State Great Khural of * Palestinian Legislative Council, Legislative Council of the * Consultative Assembly of Qatar, Consultative Assembly of * Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia, Consultative Assembly of (most powers are reserved for the King of Saudi Arabia, King) * Parliament of Singapore, Parliament of * Parliament of Sri Lanka, Parliament of * Parliament of Syria, Parliament of * Assembly of Turkmenistan, Assembly of * National Assembly of Vietnam, National Assembly of


= Europe

= * National Assembly of Albania, National Assembly of * National Assembly of Armenia, National Assembly of * National Assembly of Azerbaijan, National Assembly of * National Assembly of Bulgaria, National Assembly of * Sabor of * Folketing of * Riigikogu of * Parliament of Finland, Parliament of * Parliament of Georgia, Parliament of * Hellenic Parliament, Parliament of * National Assembly of Hungary, National Assembly of * Althing of * Knesset of * Saeima of * Landtag of Liechtenstein, Landtag of * Seimas of * Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg, Chamber of Deputies of * Parliament of Malta, Parliament of * Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, Parliament of * National Council of Monaco, National Council of * Parliament of Montenegro, Parliament of * Assembly of North Macedonia, Assembly of * Storting of * Assembly of the Republic (Portugal), Assembly of the Republic of * Grand and General Council of * National Assembly of Serbia, National Assembly of * National Council of the Slovak Republic, National Council of * Riksdag of * Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Grand National Assembly of * Verkhovna Rada of * Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, Pontifical Commission for State


= Oceania

= * Parliament of the Cook Islands, Parliament of the * Parliament of Fiji, Parliament of * House of Assembly of Kiribati, House of Assembly of * Legislature of the Marshall Islands, Legislature of the * Parliament of Nauru, Parliament of * New Zealand Parliament, Parliament of * Niue Assembly, Assembly of * National Parliament of Papua New Guinea, National Parliament of * Legislative Assembly of Samoa, Legislative Assembly of * Legislative Assembly of Tonga, Legislative Assembly of * Parliament of Tuvalu, Parliament of * Parliament of Vanuatu, Parliament of


Territorial

* House of Assembly of the British Virgin Islands, House of Assembly of the * Legislative Assembly of the Cayman Islands, Legislative Assembly of the * Parliament of Greenland, Parliament of * The Løgting of the * Gibraltar Parliament, Parliament of * Legislature of Guam, Legislature of * Legislative Council of Hong Kong, Legislative Council of * Legislative Assembly of Macau, Legislative Assembly of * Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands, Legislative Assembly of the * Legislature of the Virgin Islands, Legislature of the


State parliaments with limited recognition

* People's Assembly of Abkhazia, People's Assembly of * National Assembly (Artsakh), National Assembly of the * Assembly of Kosovo, Assembly of * Assembly of the Republic (Northern Cyprus), Assembly of the Republic of * Sahrawi National Council, National Council of the * Parliament of South Ossetia, Parliament of * Legislative Yuan of the (Taiwan) * Supreme Council (Transnistria), Supreme Council of


Subnational


Federations

* All legislatures and legislative councils of the Communities, regions and language areas of Belgium, regions and communities of * All legislative assemblies in all states of * All Legislative Assemblies of Canadian provinces and territories, legislative assemblies of the provinces and territories of Canada, provinces and territories of * All Landtage of the states of Germany, states of * All legislative assemblies of the States and federal territories of Malaysia, states of * All legislatures in all states of * All legislatures of the Provinces of Nepal, provinces in * All legislatures of the Administrative units of Pakistan, provinces and territories in * The Nebraska Legislature, legislature of the U. S. state, state of , and Council of the District of Columbia, council of the in the United States * Parliament of Queensland, Parliament of and the Parliaments of the Australian states and territories, legislative assemblies of the States and territories of Australia, territories of (but not the other states) * Provincial legislature (South Africa), Provincial legislatures of the Provinces of South Africa, provinces of * National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska, Narodna skupština of * 15 of the Provinces of Argentina, provinces of – , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and the autonomous city of . * 22 of the States and union territories of India, states of – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, India, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand and West Bengal; and 3 of the union territories – Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir (union territory), Jammu and Kashmir and Puducherry (union territory), Puducherry.


Devolved governments

* Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament, Parliament * Northern Ireland Assembly * Scottish Parliament * National Assembly for Wales, Senedd Cymru—the Welsh Parliament * Parliaments of the Autonomous community, autonomous communities of * All Regional council (France), regional councils of * Bangsamoro Parliament, Parliament


Other

* Local People's Congresses of all levels of provinces, regions and municipalities of the
People's Republic of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6& ...
* Palestinian National Council, National Council of the


List of historical unicameral legislatures


National

* The First Protectorate Parliament and Second Protectorate Parliament of the Kingdom of England, regulated by the Instrument of Government (dissolved) * Parliament of Scotland, Parliament of the Kingdom of Scotland until 1707 (dissolved) * Congress of the Confederation was unicameral before being replaced in 1789 by the current, bicameral United States Congress. * Provisional Congress of the Confederate States, Provisional Congress of the was unicameral before being replaced by the bicameral Confederate States Congress in 1862. * Congress of Deputies (Spain), Congress of Deputies of Second Spanish Republic was unicameral between 1931 and 1936. Dissolved at the end of Spanish Civil War * Supreme Assembly (Uzbekistan), Supreme Assembly of Uzbekistan was unicameral before being replaced in 2005 by the current, bicameral Supreme Assembly. * National Assembly (Cameroon), National Assembly of Cameroon was unicameral before being replaced in 2013 by the current, bicameral Parliament of Cameroon. * Chamber of Deputies (Equatorial Guinea), Chamber of People's Representative of Equatorial Guinea was unicameral before being replaced in 2013 by the current, bicameral Parliament of Equatorial Guinea. * National Assembly (Kenya), National Assembly of Kenya was the country's unicameral legislature before becoming the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of Kenya in 2013. * National Assembly (Ivory Coast), National Assembly of Ivory Coast was the country's unicameral legislature before becoming the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of Ivory Coast in 2016.


Subnational

* Georgia General Assembly, General Assembly of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia until 1789 * Pennsylvania General Assembly, General Assembly of Pennsylvania until 1790 * Vermont General Assembly, General Assembly of Vermont until 1836


Unicameralism in the United States

A 2018 study found that efforts to adopt unicameralism in Ohio and Missouri failed due to rural opposition. There was a fear in rural communities that unicameralism would diminish their influence in state government. Local government legislatures of counties, cities, or other political subdivisions within states are usually unicameral and have limited lawmaking powers compared to their state and federal counterparts. Some of the 13 colonies which became independent, such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New Hampshire had initially introduced strong unicameral legislature and (relatively) less powerful governors with no veto power. Pennsylvania's constitution lasted only 14 years. In 1790, conservatives gained power in the state legislature, called a new constitutional convention, and rewrote the constitution. The new constitution substantially reduced universal male suffrage, gave the governor veto power and patronage appointment authority, and added an upper house with substantial wealth qualifications to the unicameral legislature. Thomas Paine called it a constitution unworthy of America. In 1999, Governor Jesse Ventura proposed converting the Minnesota Legislature into a single chamber. Although debated, the idea was never adopted. Seven U.S. states, Arizona Legislature, Arizona, Idaho Legislature, Idaho, Maryland General Assembly, Maryland, New Jersey Legislature, New Jersey, North Dakota Legislative Assembly, North Dakota, South Dakota State Legislature, South Dakota, and Washington State Legislature, Washington, effectively have two-house unicamerals. In these states, districts in the upper house and the lower house are combined into a single constituency, a practice known as Nesting (voting districts), nesting. The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico held a non-binding Puerto Rican unicameralism referendum, referendum in 2005. Voters approved changing its Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico, Legislative Assembly to a unicameral body by 456,267 votes in favor (83.7%) versus 88,720 against (16.3%). If both the territory's Puerto Rico House of Representatives, House of Representatives and Puerto Rico Senate, Senate had approved by a vote the specific amendments to the Puerto Rico Constitution that are required for the change to a unicameral legislature, another referendum would have been held in the territory to approve such amendments. If those constitutional changes had been approved, Puerto Rico could have switched to a unicameral legislature as early as 2015. On June 9, 2009, the Maine House of Representatives voted to form a unicameral legislature, but the measure did not pass the Senate. Because of legislative gridlock in 2009, former Congressman Rick Lazio, a prospective candidate for governor, has proposed that New York (state), New York adopt unicameralism. The United States as a whole was subject to a unicameral Congress during the years 1781–1788, when the Articles of Confederation were in effect. The Confederate States of America, pursuant to its Provisional Constitution, in effect from February 8, 1861, to February 22, 1862, was governed by a unicameral Congress.


Unicameralism in the Philippines

Though the current Congress of the Philippines is bicameral, the country experienced unicameralism in 1898 and 1899 (during the First Philippine Republic), from 1935 to 1941 (the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Commonwealth era) and from 1943 to 1944 (during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, Japanese occupation). Under the 1973 Constitution, the legislative body was called Batasang Pambansa, which functioned also a unicameral legislature within a
parliamentary system A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (or subordinate entity) where the Executive (government), executive derives its democratic legitimacy fro ...
(1973-1981) and a semi-presidential system (1981-1986) form of government. The ongoing process of amending or revising the 1987 Constitution, current Constitution and form of government is popularly known as Charter Change. A shift to a unicameral parliament was included in the proposals of the constitutional commission created by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Unlike in the United States, senators in the Senate of the Philippines are elected not per district and state but nationally; the Philippines is a unitary state. The Philippine government's decision-making process, relative to the United States, is more rigid, highly centralised, much slower and susceptible to political gridlock. As a result, the trend for unicameralism as well as other political system reforms are more contentious in the Philippines. While Congress is bicameral, all local legislatures are unicameral: the Bangsamoro Parliament, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Boards), Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Councils), Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal Councils), Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Councils) and the Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Councils).


References

{{Subject bar , portal1 = Law , portal2 = Politics , commons = yes , commons-search = Unicameral legislatures , wikt = yes , d = yes , d-search = Q140247 Legislatures Unicameral legislatures,