Types of Legislature | Typology of Legislative Arms of Government

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Types of Legislature | Typology of Legislative Arms of Government

The characters of legislature varies from one country to another. In this article, we are going to look at various types of coordinate character of various legislatures across the world.

Type 1 – Absolute Legislative

This explains the relationship between the legislatures and executive in terms of mutual cooperation between the two institutions such that executive does not have overwhelming innuence on the legislature.

This type of legislatures enjoy considerable power to formulate polices without being challenged by the executive. Again, the executive always considers necessary the need to sample the opinion of the legislature before she brings any bill or legislation proposal to the parliament.

According to Weinbaum:

This type of legislatures are usually cabinet governments where an executive is responsible both in form and substance to a partisan majority.”

It is important to note that the consent of majority in the parliament is not only sought through consultation of the members of the ruling party in the parliament. It may also involve a process of coalition and consultation of various parties in the parliament but not as a matter of custom or convenience but as a practical necessity.

Type 2 – Coalition of the Executive & the Legislature

Here we have the legislatures in which there is absence of mutual consultation between the executive and the legislature. The executive often uses party platform to evoke conformity among the members of the ruling party in the parliament.

The party usually comes in to do a yeoman job in the parliament by prevailing on the party-representatives in the parliament to do the bidding or request of the executive. This situation often results in the subordination of the legislature particularly when the party that controls the executive also has the majority seats in the parliament.

This was evident in Nigeria during Obasanjo Administration (Fourth Republic) in which the President always mandated the party leadership of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to prevail on the members of the party in the parliament who also controlled the majority in both chambers (the House of Representatives and the Senate) rather than engage the legislators in effective consultation.

Type 3 – Weak Legislators

In this case, we have legislatures that are less purposeful. These are legislatures that are subordinate to the executive. They don’t have any minds of their own, they always do the order of the executive. They are “rubber stamp” legislatures.

Here we often have legislators whose primary concern is to satisfy their selfish interest and advancing the interest of people is most unlikely.

The legislators always support the policy actions of the executive in as much as their sectarian or tribal or individual interest is guaranteed. Constructive opinion-making is lacking as primordial and primitive sentiments dominate parliamentary affairs.

There is tendency that in this category of legislatures, the parliament will be consisted largely of unprofessional and less-intellectually sound minds. This form of legislature exists more in countries where enrollment of people into national elites give very little or no consideration to education, legitimization and effective recruitment.

Type 4 – Parliament with no Cohesion

In this category. we have legislatures which exhibit a ‘pattern of interactions with the executive which can be described as fragile and mutable‘. Structural deficiency and weak value system dominate the parliamentary affairs in such political systems that have this type of legislature.

The underlying element of this category of legislature is that there is absence of integration and control due to sectarian ideologies and primordial sentiments forming the core values which guide the political behavior of virtually all the legislator.

According to Weinbaum, this type of legislatures are;

… for better equipped through powers of investigulion and purlitmwnmry imerpe/Iulion to harass and obstruct governments.”

This category of legislatures hardly has members who have minds of their own in parliamentary deliberations and resolutions.

During the Nigeria first republic, for example, deliberations in the parliament often took regional direction where the major ethnic groups always pitched tent against one another. The situation created big problem for government at the centre and the parliament also lacked cohesion. A fight for political hegemony among the three leading ethnic group within and outside the parliament created tensions in the polity and consequently led to the first military coup in Nigeria.

Type 5 – Executive and Legislature Supremacy

This category of legislatures demonstrates ‘a wide diffusion of power and fluid parliamentary majorities‘. There are usually conflicts between the executive and legislature.

Political parties have a very little control over the legislators in dispensing their institutional duties. The executive also lacks sufficient power to control the affairs of the parliament.

Whenever there is no mutual understanding between the executive and legislature, the result is usually a ‘deadlock’ and the legislators may reject the executive bills.

The conflict between executive and legislature is not permanent, but comes occasionally. Thus, when such conflict takes place, the executive often goes back to the drawing board to re-strategize and dialogue with the legislators. In doing so, the executive applies effective bargaining to bring the legislators to their side as way of enjoying favourable response from the parliament.

Usually, it is when this is done that a mutual agreement is reached between the executive and the legislature. This form of legislature can be seen in some developed democracies like the United States.

Types of Legislature | Organization of Government

Unicameral legislature

One-chamber or unicameral legislature is a representative form of government with a single legislative chamber. In unicameral legislature, there is existence of only one chamber. It has most often been established in countries with a centralized or unitary structure.

Countries with unicameral systems include Uganda, Costa Rica, Portugal and Sweden.

Bicameral Legislature

This is type of legislature where there exist two chambers. This form of legislature can be found in several democracies like Nigeria (House of Representatives and the Senate), Great Britain (the House of Lords and the House of Commons), the United State (the Upper House and the Lower House).

In bicameral legislature, legislative business takes place in the two chambers that often operate independently of each other. The constitution defines the power and the boundary of each of the two chambers as regard the dispensing of their political functions.

In Nigeria, for instance, it is the Senate that has the power to approve the appointment of people into essential public offices while the House of Representatives cannot perform such function. By and large, the two chambers often work in harmony to carry-out their constitutional functions.


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