, "one" and camera
, "chamber") is the practice of having a single legislative or parliamentary chamber
. Thus, a unicameral parliament
or unicameral legislature
is a legislature
which consists of one chamber or house.
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 systems
where the leaders of the parliamentary majority also dominate the executive
. There is also the risk that important sectors of society[specify]
may not be adequately represented by the elected singular body.
List of unicameral legislatures
Nations with a bicameral legislature.
Nations with a unicameral legislature.
Nations with a unicameral legislature and an advisory body.
Nations with no legislature.
Many subnational entities
have unicameral legislatures. These include the state of Nebraska
and territories of Guam
and the Virgin Islands
in the United States
, the Chinese special administrative regions
of Hong Kong
, the 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
, all of the 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 Senedd Cymru
, the Northern Ireland Assembly
and the London Assembly
are also unicameral.
National (UN member states and observers)
State parliaments with limited recognition
- 15 of the provinces of Argentina – Chaco, Chubut, Córdoba, Formosa, Jujuy, La Pampa, La Rioja, Misiones, Neuquén, Río Negro, San Juan, Santa Cruz, Santiago del Estero, Tierra del Fuego, Tucumán and the autonomous city of Buenos Aires.
- 22 of the states of India – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand and West Bengal; and 3 of the union territories – Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Puducherry.
List of historical unicameral legislatures
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.
Seven U.S. states, Arizona
, New Jersey
, North Dakota
, South Dakota
, and 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
The U.S. territory
of Puerto Rico
held a non-binding referendum in 2005
. Voters approved changing its 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 House of Representatives
had approved by a 2
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.
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
The ongoing process of amending or revising the 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.
- ^ a b Myers, Adam S. (2018). "The Failed Diffusion of the Unicameral State Legislature, 1934–1944". Studies in American Political Development. 32 (2): 217–235. doi:10.1017/S0898588X18000135. ISSN 0898-588X.
- ^ "One People – One House". News.minnesota.publicradio.org. 1999-04-29. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- ^ "Referéndum sobre el Sistema Cameral". Comisión Estatal de Elecciones de Puerto Rico. 2005-07-10.
- ^ "RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Establish a Unicameral Legislature" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- ^ One for All, Rick Lazio, New York Times, July 14, 2009
- ^ "Avalon Project - Confederate States of America - Constitution for the Provisional Government". avalon.law.yale.edu.
- ^ "Constitutional Commission proposals". Concom.ph. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- ^ Softrigger Interactive (2008-02-25). "Philippines : Gov.Ph : About the Philippines". Archived from the original on February 25, 2008. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- ^ "citation was not true it needs more references?". Concom.ph. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
Last edited on 31 March 2021, at 09:13
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