Lower house

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For the demesne in The Keys to the Kingdom series, see The House (The Keys to the Kingdom)#The Lower House.

A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.[1]

Inside the Australian House of Representatives

Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide, the lower house has come to wield more power.

A legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.

Common attributes[edit]

In comparison with the upper house, lower houses frequently display certain characteristics:

Powers
  • In a parliamentary system :
    • Much more power, usually based on restrictions against the upper house.
    • Able to override the upper house in some ways.
    • Can vote a motion of no confidence against the government.
  • In a presidential system:
    • Little less power, as the upper house alone gives advice and consent to some executives decisions (e.g. appointments).
    • Given the sole power to impeach the executive (the upper house then tries the impeachment)
Status
  • Always elected directly, while the upper house may be elected indirectly, or not elected at all.
  • Its members may be elected with a different voting system to the upper house.
  • Most populated administrative divisions are better represented than in the upper house; representation is usually proportional to population.
  • Elected more frequently.
  • Elected all at once, not by staggered terms.
  • In a parliamentary system, can be dissolved by the executive.
  • More members (except in the UK).
  • Has total or original control over budget and monetary laws.
  • Lower age of candidacy than the upper house.

Titles of lower houses[edit]

Common names[edit]

Dáil Éireann, Republic of Ireland

Many lower houses are named in the following manner: House/Chamber of Representatives/the People/Commons/Deputies.

Unique Names[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Bicameralism (1997) by George Tsebelis