Unicameralism is the existence of one legislative chamber in a country. Legislative functions are performed by only one chamber, with members directly elected by the electorate.
Bulgaria and Israel are examples of uni-camerallegislatures.
Pros and Cons of Unicameralism
Advantages Of Unicameral Legislature
The major advantages of unicameral legislature derive largely from the shortcomings of bicameralism. Some of its merits are:
The system is suitable for small countries which are homogeneous in their population and social and political institutions and outlook.
There is only one house. Hence, it is easy to locate responsibility.
The structure is simple, easy and understandable.
It prevents duplication, waste and unnecessary expenditure.
The process of law-making is quick and less cumbersome and it is easily adaptable to emergency situation.
Some of the problems associated with a bicameral legislature are avoided in unicameralism. For instance, it overcomes the perennial conflicts between two houses, which are common in a bicameral legislature.
Unicameralism also helps to avoid the problems of determining the qualification of Senators. In several countries, for instance, the upper house is seen as a dumping ground for old ‘War horses’ and retired statesmen who may have more interest in political patronage than anything else. There is no room for such people in a unicameral legislature.
Unicameralism promotes national unity and political stability as aptly show by Central European countries.
The main disadvantages of unicameral legislature include the following:
It is difficult to provide adequate representation for minorities and conflicting interests. In fact, unicameralism erroneously assumes that the people are essentially uniform in their aspirations and interests.
Unicameral Legislature may result in the tyranny of one house, as there are no checks and balances, which a second house would have provided.
There may be undue radicalism in the house.
Debates in the house are likely to be pedestrian and boring since there is no strong challenge to the house.
It is not suitable for large countries, and federal states, in particular.
The single house may turn out to be a mere appendage of the executive.