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National Assembly

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In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral legislature, the lower house[note 1] of a bicameral legislature, or both houses of a bicameral legislature together. In the English language it generally means "an assembly composed of the representatives of the nation."[1] The population base represented by this name is manifestly the nation as a whole, as opposed to a geographically select population, such as that represented by a provincial assembly. The powers of a National Assembly vary according to the type of government. It may possess all the powers of government, generally governing by committee, or it may function solely within the legislative branch of the government.

The name also must be distinguished from the concept. Conceptually such an institution may appear under variety of names, especially if "national assembly" is being used to translate foreign names of the same concept into English. Also, the degree to which the National Assembly speaks for the nation is a variable. To achieve a quorum, the ancient Athenian Assembly employed Scythian police to arrest citizens at random from the street. On the other hand, the early Parliaments of Europe were mainly of an aristocratic composition. The word had its origins and inspirations from the National Assembly that was responsible for drafting a constitution during the French Revolution.

The exact words, "national assembly," have been used prolifically in the international community of nations since the 18th and 19th centuries, considered the Age of Revolution in western Europe. Nations that formed republics in this age subsequently formed empires. Extensive cross-cultural influences brought much of their language and institutions to the provinces. When these empires collapsed finally, the emancipated countries formed states and other institutions on the model of the former imperial nations. Some examples of international influences are as follows:

In Germany, a Nationalversammlung was elected following the revolutions of 1848–1849 and 1918–1919, to be replaced by a permanent parliament (Reichstag) later. The legislature of the Estado Novo regime in Portugal was known as the National Assembly. The national assembly was also defined in the Republic of China constitution. This is different from the Legislative Yuan by the ROC constitution. In 2005, Taiwan revised the constitution and the national assembly was abolished. Examples have multiplied greatly under the policy of self-determination adopted by the western nations. Many more are to be found in the articles listed below.

Origin of the expression[edit]

Perhaps the best known National Assembly was that established during the French Revolution in 1789, known as the Assemblée nationale. Consequently, the name is particularly common in Francophone countries. It was also the name of the legislature during France's Second Republic and the Third Republic, and since 1946 has been the lower house of the French parliament, first under the Fourth Republic, and from 1958, the Fifth Republic.

The expression, however, did not originate in 1789. It was already in use in the French language of the times. Louis XIII of France (1601–1643), par la grace de Dieu Roy de France & de Navarre, in a Declaration of April 14, 1627, concerning the sovereignty of his kingdom, prohibits ministers of foreign countries from any jurisdiction in France, citing, as precedent, his Lettres de Declaration of April 17, 1623, forbidding religious officials from treating with foreign countries. He describes his Declaration as ordonné qu'en Assemblées Provinciales & Nationales des nosdites sujets.[2] This was the "registration" that the Parlement of Paris refused to perform for Louis XVI of France in 1787–1788. When the Estates-General of 1789 formed the National Assembly of 1789, they did not believe they were instituting anything new. In the Assembly of Notables of 1787, Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette had used National Assembly and Estates General synonymously when he suggested that France needed a national assembly to solve its financial problems.

National Assembly is also found in some Commonwealth countries. Its use there is not a translation of Assemblée nationale, as the phrase is equally embedded in the English language. For example, at the end of the First English Civil War, an Act of Parliament, 1648, "Concerning the Members of the Classical and Congregational Presbyteries, in the several counties of the Kingdom of England, and Dominion of Wales," establishes a national congregational church in England and Wales, corresponding to the presbyteries of Scotland. The language is: "The National Assembly shall be constituted of members chosen by and sent from the several Provincial Assemblies."[3] This National Assembly appears to have no direct link to any French words, although the concept is the same.

Unicameral national legislatures[edit]

Country Article Local Name
Angola National Assembly of Angola Assembleia Nacional
Armenia National Assembly of Armenia Ազգային Ժողով (Azgayin Zhoghov)
Azerbaijan National Assembly of Azerbaijan Milli Məclis
Benin National Assembly of Benin Assemblée nationale
Bhutan National Assembly of Bhutan རྒྱལ་ཡོངས་ཚོགས་འདུ་ (Gyelyong Tshogdu)
Botswana National Assembly of Botswana
Bulgaria National Assembly of Bulgaria Народно събрание (Narodno Sǎbranie)
Burkina Faso National Assembly of Burkina Faso Assemblée nationale
Cameroon National Assembly of Cameroon Assemblée nationale
Cape Verde National Assembly of Cape Verde Assembleia Nacional
Central African Republic National Assembly of the Central African Republic Assemblée nationale
Chad National Assembly of Chad Assemblée nationale
Cuba National Assembly of People's Power Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular
Djibouti National Assembly of Djibouti Assemblée nationale
Eritrea National Assembly of Eritrea ሃገራዊ ባይቶ (Hagerawi Baito)
Gambia National Assembly of Gambia
Guinea National Assembly of Guinea Assemblée nationale
Guinea-Bissau National People's Assembly of Guinea-Bissau Assembleia Nacional Popular da Guiné-Bissau
Guyana National Assembly of Guyana
Hungary National Assembly of Hungary Országgyűlés
Ivory Coast National Assembly of Ivory Coast Assemblée nationale
Kuwait National Assembly of Kuwait مجلس الامة (Majlis al-ʾUmma al-Kuwaytiyy)
Laos National Assembly of Laos ສະພາແຫ່ງຊາດ (Sapha Heng Xat)
Malawi National Assembly of Malawi
Mali National Assembly of Mali Assemblée nationale
Mauritius National Assembly of Mauritius Assemblée nationale
Nicaragua National Assembly of Nicaragua Asamblea Nacional
Niger National Assembly of Niger Assemblée nationale
North Korea Supreme People's Assembly 최고인민회의 (Choego Inmin Hoe-ui)
Panama National Assembly of Panama Asamblea Nacional de Panamá
Saint Kitts and Nevis National Assembly of Saint Kitts and Nevis
São Tomé and Príncipe National Assembly of São Tomé and Príncipe Assembleia Nacional
Senegal National Assembly of Senegal Assemblée nationale
Serbia National Assembly of Serbia Народна скупштина Србије (Narodna skupština Srbije)
Seychelles National Assembly of Seychelles Lasanble Nasyonal
South Korea National Assembly of the Republic of Korea 국회 (Gukhoe)
Sudan National Assembly of Sudan المجلس الوطني السوداني (Al-Maǧlis al-Waṭaniy)
Suriname National Assembly of Suriname Nationale Assemblée
Tanzania National Assembly of Tanzania Bunge la Tanzania
Togo National Assembly of Togo Assemblée nationale
Turkey Grand National Assembly of Turkey Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi
Venezuela National Assembly of Venezuela Asamblea Nacional
Vietnam National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Quốc hội nước Cộng hòa xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam
Zambia National Assembly of Zambia

Lower house of bicameral national legislature[edit]

Country Article Local Name
Algeria People's National Assembly al-Majlis al-Sha'abi al-Watani (Arabic: المجلس الشعبي الوطني)/Asqamu Aɣerfan Aɣelnaw (Berber)/Assemblée populaire nationale (French)
Bhutan National Assembly of Bhutan འབྲུག་གི་རྒྱལ་ཡོངས་ཚོགས་འདུ་ (Druk gi gyel yong tshok du)
Burundi National Assembly of Burundi Assemblée nationale
Cambodia National Assembly of Cambodia រដ្ឋសភាកម្ពុជា (Rodsaphea)
Congo (DRC) National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Assemblée nationale
Congo (Rep.) National Assembly of the Republic of the Congo Assemblée nationale
France National Assembly of France Assemblée nationale
Ireland Assembly of Ireland Dáil Éireann
Ivory Coast National Assembly of Ivory Coast Assemblée nationale
Kenya National Assembly of Kenya
Gabon National Assembly of Gabon Assemblée nationale
Lesotho National Assembly of Lesotho Lekhotleng la Sechaba
Madagascar National Assembly of Madagascar Antenimieram-Pirenena
Mauritania National Assembly الجمعية الوطنية (Arabic)/Assemblée nationale (French)
Namibia National Assembly of Namibia
Pakistan National Assembly of Pakistan ایوانِ زیریں

(Aiwān-e-Zairīñ)/قومی اسمبلی (Qọ̄mī Assembly)

Slovenia National Assembly of Slovenia Državni zbor
South Africa National Assembly of South Africa

Upper house of bicameral national legislature[edit]

Country Article Local Name
Tajikistan National Assembly of Tajikistan Majlisi Milliy
Nepal National Assembly of Nepal Rāṣṭriya sabhā

Entire bicameral legislature[edit]

Country Article Local Name
Bahrain National Assembly of Bahrain المجلس الوطني البحريني (al-Majlis al-Watani)
Belarus National Assembly of Belarus Nacyjanalny schod Respubliki Bielaruś (Belarusian: Нацыянальны сход) / Natsionalnoye sobran'ye Respubliki Belarus' (Russian: Национальное собрание)
Belize National Assembly of Belize
Haiti National Assembly of Haiti Assemblée nationale
Nigeria National Assembly of Nigeria
Russia Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Федеральное Собрание (Federalnoye Sobraniye)
Switzerland Federal Assembly of the Swiss Confederation Bundesversammlung (German) / Assemblée fédérale (French) / Assemblea federale (Italian) / Assamblea federala (Romansh)
Thailand National Assembly of Thailand รัฐสภา (Ratthasapha)


Country/Territory Name Period Notes
Batavian Republic,
National Assembly of the Batavian Republic:
- First National Assembly
- Second National Assembly
1 March 1796 – 31 August 1797
1 September 1797 – 22 January 1798 (coup)
Republic of China National Assembly (Beiyang government)
National Assembly of the Republic of China
1913 – 1925
1947 – 2005
Congress (Beiyang)
Defunct constitutional convention
Estonia Rahvuskogu 1937 Constituent assembly
Germany ("Weimar Republic") Weimar National Assembly 1919 – 1920
Nepal National Assembly of Nepal 1990 – 1997
Philippines National Assembly of Representatives
National Assembly of the Philippines
National Assembly of the Second Philippine Republic
1898 – 1899
1935 – 1941
25 September 1943 – 2 February 1944
Portugal National Assembly of Portugal 1933 – 1974 During Estado Novo dictatorship

Other historical[edit]

Country/Territory Name Local Name Period Notes
Afghanistan National Assembly of Afghanistan ملی شورا (Pashto: Mili Shura) / شورای (Dari: Shura-e Milli) 2004-2019 Dissolved by the Taliban
Iraq National Assembly of Iraq 2004 – 2005 A constitutional convention
Wales National Assembly for Wales Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru July 1, 1999 – May 6, 2020 Can make Acts of the Assembly and Delegated legislation;
The title 'National Assembly' was formerly used to refer to the Welsh devolved unicameral legislature until 6 May 2020,

when it was renamed to a parliament, "the Welsh Parliament" or the direct Welsh translation "Senedd Cymru" (simply as Senedd)


Country/Territory Name Local Name Notes
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Assembly Tionól Thuaisceart Éireann Can make Acts of the Assembly and Delegated legislation
Quebec, Canada National Assembly of Quebec Assemblée nationale du Québec A unicameral provincial legislative assembly
Republika Srpska National Assembly (Republika Srpska) Народна скупштина Републике Српске (Narodna Skupština Republike Srpske) Autonomous entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nepal and Tajikistan being the exception, with their National Assembly as the higher houses of bicameral Parliament


  1. ^ Merriam-Webster (1986). Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged with Seven Language Dictionary. Vol. II H to R. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
  2. ^ Le Gentil, Jean (1675). Recueil des actes, titres et mémoires, concernant les affaires du clergé de France, augmenté d'un grand nombre de Pieces, & mis en nouvel ordre. Vol. VI. Paris: Frederic Leonard. p. 731.
  3. ^ Davies, John; Dancer, John (1661). The civil warres of Great Britain and Ireland: containing an exact history of their occasion, originall, progress, and happy end. London: Printed by R.W. for Philip Chetwind. p. 238.