Bicameral System - Explained
What is the Bicameral System?
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Table of ContentsWhat is the Bicameral System?How Does a Bicameral System Work?Bicameral systems around the world
What is the Bicameral System?
A system of government that has two chambers or legislative houses is a bicameral system. The name given to each of the chambers might differ from state to state or country to country. Bicameral system of governments are commonly adopted in many countries but it started from England in the early period. Being first practiced by England, the United States also adopted the bicameral system and all the states in the U.S practice this system except Nebraska.
How Does a Bicameral System Work?
The Congress of the United States is an example of a bicameral system. The Congress has two legislative houses; the House of Representatives and the Senate. One major reason why the Article 1, Section 1 of the US Constitution established the House of Representatives and the Senate as the chambers of the Congress is for checks and balances. This was help to prevent the arbitrary use of power that could have existed if there were no two legislative houses. Hence, the two arms of the Congress serve as checks for abuses of power that one arm might exercise. There are different levels of powers that each of the two legislative houses exercise. In the United States for instance, the House of Representatives has the power to check the powers of elected officials and impeach them if need be. The move for impeachment is then reviewed by the senate. The United States has 435 members of the House of Representatives who have a two-year tenure for service. The minimum age requirement for a House of Representative member is 25 years while that of the Senate is 30 years. The United States citizenship is another major requirement to be a senator or a member of the House of Representative.
Bicameral systems around the world
Countries that practice bicameral system of governments include Germany, Russia, Spain, India, Australia, Brazil, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. 41% of countries in the world have bicameral systems while the remaining counties and unicameral systems which means they operate only one chamber or legislative house. Also, different countries have different names for the two legislatives houses that they operate. The United Kingdom for example call the two chambers, the House of Lords and the House of Commons, unlike in some countries where they have the Senate and the House of Representatives.