Countries That Have A Bicameral Legislature



A bicameral legislature is a legislature with two houses or chambers much like the US Congress or British Parliament. In the case of the British, their Parliament is made up of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Likewise, the United States Congress is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Unicameralism is what you have in the absence of a bicameral legislature. In it, all of the members deliberate and vote as a single group. There are, however, some countries which have three or more separate assemblies, chambers or houses.

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By 2015, only a little less than half of the world’s national legislatures were bicameral. In this type of legislature, the members of the two chambers are often elected or selected using different methods, which vary from country to country. With this election process, the two chambers can often have a very different composition of members.

The enactment of primary legislation in a country often requires a concurrent majority which is, basically, the approval of a majority of members in each of the chambers of the legislature. When the majority of members of each chamber approve a legislation, the legislature may be called an example of perfect bicameralism.

bicameral legislature



In many Westminster system parliaments, however, the house to which the executive is responsible can overrule the other house and may be regarded as an example of imperfect bicameralism. Some legislatures lie in between these two positions, with one house only able to overrule the other under certain circumstances.

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Walter Bagehot gave one of the most famous rationales for practicing bicameral legislature. In his words;

“A formidable sinister interest may always obtain the complete command of a dominant assembly by some chance and for a moment, and it is therefore of great use to have a second chamber of an opposite sort, differently composed, in which that interest in all likelihood will not rule.”

Basically, it helps to have two assemblies governing the interests of a State because the two are less likely to be swept along in any negative plans that could ultimately hurt the state than one would be.

Here are all the countries that currently practice bicameral legislature and the bodies they have;

Country Bicameral body
Afghanistan Masharano Jirga Wolesi Jirga
Algeria Council of the Nation People’s National Assembly
Antigua and Barbuda Senate House of Representatives
Argentina Senate Chamber of Deputies
Australia Senate House of Representatives
Austria Bundesrat Nationalrat
Bahamas Senate House of Assembly
Bahrain Consultative Council Council of Representatives
Barbados Senate House of Assembly
Belarus Council House of Representatives
Belgium Senate Chamber of Representatives
Belize Senate House of Representatives
Bhutan National Council National Assembly
Bolivia Senate Chamber of Deputies
Brazil Senate Chamber of Deputies
Burundi Senate National Assembly
Cambodia Senate National Assembly
Canada Senate House of Commons
Cameroon Senate National Assembly
Central African Republic Senate National Assembly
Chile Senate Chamber of Deputies
Colombia Senate Chamber of Representatives
Czech Republic Senate Chamber of Deputies
DR Congo Senate National Assembly
Congo Senate National Assembly
Equatorial Guinea Senate National Assembly
Ethiopia House of Federation House of Peoples’ Representatives
France Senate National Assembly
Gabon Senate National Assembly
Germany Bundesrat Bundestag
Grenada Senate House of Representatives
Haiti Senate Chamber of Deputies
India Rajya Sabha Lok Sabha
Indonesia Regional Representative Council People’s Representative Council
Ireland Seanad Éireann Dáil Éireann
Italy Senate of the Republic Chamber of Deputies
Ivory Coast Senate National Assembly
Jamaica Senate House of Representatives
Japan House of Councillors House of Representatives
Jordan Senate House of Representatives
Kazakhstan Senate Majilis
Kenya Senate National Assembly
Lesotho Senate National Assembly
Liberia Senate House of Representatives
Madagascar Senate National Assembly
Malaysia Dewan Negara Dewan Rakyat
Mexico Senate Chamber of Deputies
Myanmar Amyotha Hluttaw Pyithu Hluttaw
Nepal Pratinidhi Sabha Rashtriya Sabha
Netherlands Eerste Kamer Tweede Kamer
Nigeria Senate House of Representatives
Oman Majlis al-Dawla Majlis al-Shura
Pakistan Senate National Assembly
Palau Senate House of Delegates
Philippines Senate House of Representatives
Poland Senate Sejm
Romania Senate Chamber of Deputies
Russian Federation Federation Council State Duma
Saint Lucia Senate House of Assembly
South Africa National Council of Provinces National Assembly
Spain Senate Congress of Deputies
Switzerland Council of States National Council
United Kingdom House of Lords House of Commons
United States Senate House of Representatives
Trinidad and Tobago Senate House of Representatives
Uruguay Senate Chamber of Representatives
Uzbekistan Senate Legislative Chamber
Zimbabwe Senate House of Assembly