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


[edit] Chambers

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

Image:Unibicameral Map.png
██ Nations with bicameral legislatures.██ Nations with unicameral legislatures.██ No legislature.

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

[edit] List of titles of legislatures

[edit] National
[edit] Historical
[edit] Sub-National
[edit] Regional

[edit] See also

ca:Poder legislatiu da:Lovgivende magt de:Legislative es:Poder legislativo eo:Leĝdona povo fr:Pouvoir législatif id:Legislatif is:Löggjafarvald it:Potere legislativo he:פרלמנט lb:Legislativ lt:Įstatymų leidžiamoji valdžia mk:Законодавна власт ms:Legislatif nl:Wetgevende macht ja:立法府 no:Politisk forsamling nn:Lovgjevande forsamling pl:Władza ustawodawcza pt:Poder legislativo simple:Legislature sr:Законодавна власт tl:Tagapagbatas zh:立法部門 ru:Законодательная власть vi:Quốc hội


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