The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Lower house

A lower house (sometimes known as the first chamber) is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house. In comparison with the upper house, the lower house is usually:

  • More powerful.
  • Directly elected (and based on fair apportionment).
  • Larger in membership.
  • Elected for a shorter term of years.

The supremacy of the lower house usually arises from special restrictions placed on the powers of the upper house, which often can only delay rather than veto legislation or has less control over money bills. Under parliamentary systems it is usually the lower house alone that designates the head of government or prime minister, and may remove them through a vote of no confidence. There are exceptions to this however, such as the Prime Minister of Japan, who is formally selected with the approval of both houses of the Diet. A legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.

Titles of lower houses

Common names

Less common titles

See also

Last updated: 05-13-2005 00:03:00
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13