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Unicameral System – Definition

Unicameral System Definition

A unicameral system of government is a one-chambered government, with only one legislative house. The unicameral system of government became popular in the 20th century, this was when countries like  Peru, New Zealand and Greece practised the system of government. Many countries run a unicameral system of government, including Armenia, Sweden, Serbia, Turkey, Hungary, and Denmark.

Bicameral system on the other hand, is a system with two legislative chambers. Countries with stabilized democracy and fewer population tend to use the unicameral system while countries with larger population and unstable democracy use either bicameral or unicameral systems.

A Little More on What is the Unicameral System

According to a 2014 report, 59% of countries in the world practise Unicameral system while about 41% were bicameral. Sweden is a country that practices the unicameral system of government, it has a parliamentary system in which the executive power belongs to the king and prime minister of the country. The Sedem parliament has 349 seats which can be occupied by any political party that has the minimum of 4% votes during election. The parliament approves the prime minister, legislatives bills are treated through parliament votes.

Advantages of a Unicameral vs. Bicameral System

Both unicameral systems and bicameral systems have their unique advantages, which is why a country can opt for any of the systems. Below are the advantages of a unicameral system vs a bicameral system;

Advantages of a unicameral system

  • A unicameral system allows easy passage of bills and legislations.
  • It has shorter and efficient legislative sessions.
  • It has lesser legislators and only a few bills can be introduced.
  • A unicameral system is cost-effective.

Advantages of a bicameral system

However, despite the advantages of unicameral and bical systems, they have some drawbacks. Passing of laws is quite difficult in a bicameral system while lobbying or influence from interest groups can easily affect the decision of the legislators in a unicameral system.

In the United States, there is constitutional provision for both unicameral and bicameral systems. The 1781 Articles of Confederation proposed the unicameral government while the Constitutional Convention in 1787 made a way for a bicameral system. The U.S government practise a bicameral system with the presence of the Senate and the House till today. States in the U.S use a bicameral system except Nebraska while U.S cities and counties use the unicameral system.  Nebraska’s legislature was changed from a bicamerka system to a unicameral system in 1937. This was following the campaign of George Norris who bidded for a change in the system on the ground that a bicameral system is old and inefficient.

References for “Unicameral System

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/u/unicameral-system.asp

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicameralism

https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/unicameral

Academic research for “Unicameral System

Legislative Procedure Under the Unicameral System, Dobbins, H. T. (1942). Legislative Procedure Under the Unicameral System. U. Kan. City L. Rev., 11, 31.

The Unicameral Legislature, D’Alemberte, T., & Fishburne Jr, C. C. (1964). The Unicameral Legislature. U. Fla. L. Rev., 17, 355.

The Nebraska Unicameral Legislature1, Shumate, R. V. (1952). The Nebraska Unicameral Legislature1. Western Political Quarterly, 5(3), 504-512.

The Unicameral Legislature-A Successful Innovation, Srb, H. F. (1960). The Unicameral Legislature-A Successful Innovation. Neb. L. Rev., 40, 626.

A Structural‐Functional Framework for the Analysis of Unicameral and Bicameral Parliaments, Cotta, M. (1974). A Structural‐Functional Framework for the Analysis of Unicameral and Bicameral Parliaments. European Journal of Political Research, 2(3), 201-224.

The Nebraska Unicameral and Its Lasting Benefits, Robak, K. (1997). The Nebraska Unicameral and Its Lasting Benefits. Neb. L. Rev., 76, 791.

Judicial Review Standards in Unicameral Legislative Systems: A Positive Theoretic and Historical Analysis, Rogers, J. R. (1999). Judicial Review Standards in Unicameral Legislative Systems: A Positive Theoretic and Historical Analysis. Creighton L. Rev., 33, 65.

A New Answer for an Old Question: Should Alaska Once Again Consider a Unicameral Legislature, Ross, J. S. (2010). A New Answer for an Old Question: Should Alaska Once Again Consider a Unicameral Legislature. Alaska L. Rev., 27, 257.

Legislative Procedure Under the Unicameral System, Dobbins, H. T. (1942). Legislative Procedure Under the Unicameral System. U. Kan. City L. Rev., 11, 31.

The Proposed Unicameral Amendment, Dodd, W. F. (1942). The Proposed Unicameral Amendment. U. Kan. City L. Rev., 11, 45.

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