The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







A congress is a gathering of people, especially a gathering for a political purpose.


Legislative assembly

Congress is the name of the main legislative body in a state that operates under a congressional system of government.

A congress is different from a parliament in that legislative initiative is vested into it. In a congressional system the executive and legislative branches of government are clearly differentiated. The office as Head of State (president) and Head of Government (prime minister) are typically merged, and the members of cabinet are only rarely taken from the congress.

Countries with Congresses:

In France, the congrès is a formal and exceptional joint meeting of both houses of Parliament in order to ratify an amendment to the Constitution.

Political party

Congress is included in the name of several political parties, especially those in former British colonies:

Political gatherings

Congress has also been used to describe certain historical gatherings of independence-minded nationalists or revolutionaries:

(Note, the political parties mentioned above also began as groups of this type)

Other assemblies

Many parties also have a Party Congress which is held every few years to make decisions for the party and elected governing bodies. These are sometimes called political conventions.

See also

Last updated: 05-10-2005 23:20:58
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04