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- A ‘Bicameral’ Parliament or legislature is one in which two assemblies share legislative power.
- Typical purposes include: to represent sub-national governments, to act as a body of expert scrutiny and review, to provide a further democratic check on the power of the lower house or to provide representation for various socio-economic interests or ethnocultural minorities.
- A single chamber can be cheaper, simpler and more efficient; it avoids duplication and deadlock, while concentrating democratic responsibility in one elected assembly.
- The checks and balances of bicameralism can also be provided by other institutions, without the need for a second legislative chamber.
- Around 80 countries worldwide have a bicameral legislature.
- In general terms, bicameralism is more common in federal, large and presidential states, while unicameralism is more common in unitary, small, parliamentary ones.