Lower houseFor the demesne in The Keys to the Kingdom series, see The House This article does not citeany references or sources. (January 2008)
Please help improve this articleby adding citations to reliable sources. Unverifiablematerial may be challenged and removed.
This series is part of
the Politics series
- Legislatures by country
- Unicameralism / Multicameralism
- Chambers of parliament
- Parliamentary system
- City council
Despite its theoretical position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide the lower house has come to wield more power. The supremacy of the lower house usually arises from special restrictions placed (either explicitly by legislation or implicitly by convention) on the powers of the upper house, which often can only delay rather than veto legislation or has less control over money bills. Under parliamentary systems it is usually the lower house alone that designates the head of government or prime minister, and may remove them through a vote of no confidence. There are exceptions to this however, such as the Prime Minister of Japan, who is formally selected with the approval of both houses of the Diet. A legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.
In comparison with the upper house, lower houses frequently display the certain characteristics:
- Given greater power, usually based on restrictions against the upper house.
- Directly elected (apportionment is usually based on population).
- Given more members.
- Elected more often, and all at once.
- Given total or original control over budget and monetary laws.
- Able to override the upper house in some ways.
- In a presidential system, given the sole power to impeach the executive (the upper house then has to try the impeached).
Titles of lower houses
Many lower houses are named in the following manner: House/Chamber of Representatives/the People/Commons/Deputies.
- Chamber of Deputies
- Chamber of Representatives
- House of Assembly
- House of Commons
- House of Representatives
- Legislative Assembly
- National Assembly (hence also Bundestag, German for federal assembly)
Less common titles
- Congress of Deputies - Spain
- Dáil Éireann - Republic of Ireland
- House of Keys - Isle of Man
- Lok Sabha (House of the People) - India
- National Council - Switzerland, Austria
- Sejm - Poland and Seimas - Lithuania
- State Duma (Государственная Дума - Gosudarstvennaya Duma) - Russia
- Tweede Kamer (Second Chamber) - Netherlands
- Odelsting (Lower house in name only) Norway