Parliamentary Supremacy | Definition | Politics | Limitations

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Parliamentary Supremacy | Definition | Politics | Limitations / Disadvantages

Parliamentary Supremacy | Parliamentary Sovereignty
A photo showing a legislative house in Europe…

The Concept of Parliamentary Sovereignty

Parliamentary Supremacy or Parliamentary Sovereignty can be defined as the exclusive right of parliament to make and unmake laws without any form of extemal control.

Limitations to Parliamentary Supremacy

  • Constitutional limitation: The role of the parliament is defined in a constitution, referendum and amendment procedure.
  • Judiclal review: The Supreme court has the power to review acts of the legislature and declare them unconstitutional or null and void if they run counter to the provisions of the constitution.
  • International constraints: Most of the international treaties entered into or signed by the government of a country can limit parliamentary supremacy.
  • Laws or Rules: These are laws or rules and regulations made by international organizations of which a country is a member., e.g. African Union, European Union, ECOWAS, United Nations and OPEC.
  • Activities of interest groups: Some of the activities of political parties and pressure groups from within and outside the country can restrict parliamentary supremacy.
  • The resources of the State: The limitation comes in here if the country is dependent on other countries militarily, economically and technologically.
  • Public Opinion / Mass Media: Public opinion and the influence of mass media can bring about limitation to the supremacy of parliament.
  • Complexities of Modern Government: The complex nature of modern government had made it imperative for power and functions to be delegated to subordinate bodies.
  • Executive Limitation: For example, dissolution of parliament in the cabinet system and veto power in the presidential system.
  • Rules/Standing Orders of the House: This can also bring about limitation to parliamentary supremacy.
  • Pressure Groups: The activities of pressure groups in any political system can limit parliamentary supremacy.
  • The Mace: The mace in the House as a sign of authority limits the activities of the legislature.
  • Quorum: The smallest number of laws-makers who must be at a session before decisions can be made, places limitation on the legislature.
  • Time or Period Limitation: Time or Period also places limitation to parliamentary sovereignty.
  • Party Discipline: Adherence to party rules, discipline and ethics by members of different political parties in the House is a limitation to parliamentary supremacy.
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