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Decline of the Parliaments in the parliamentary modes

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  1. The actions of the Executive over the Legislature
    1. Censorship
    2. Dissolution
  2. The actions of the legislature over the executive
    1. Procedure issues
    2. Limits of a vote

For a long time the Parliament incarnated "the destiny of the democracy" to take again the formula of Kelsen. Thus a parliamentary mode is in theory a political regime where the executive powers and legislative are distinct but collaborate nevertheless between them. In such a mode the functions of the Parliament are traditionally to vote the law, and it is from now on frequent that the Parliament shares this function either with the people or with the executive, or sometimes with some of its commissions; it also has a function of control of the executive which appears in general by the possible calling into question of the responsibility for the government by various procedures such as the interpellation, the questions, motions (of censure, mistrust or distrusts: Denmark, Spain, France, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Portugal; or of "constructive distrust": in Germany; or even of "constructive mistrust": in Belgium).

The Parliaments with this intention have control or boards of inquiry (permanent or ad hoc). The Parliaments also often have a legal function (of which we will not treat in our talk) with regard to the executive either while being able to translate their members in front of an ordinary jurisdiction, or while being able to exert themselves of the legal functions (ex: high court of justice in France).

Finally one of the principal characteristics of the Parliament is its representative function. Indeed, as of the moment when the idea is essential that the principle of legitimacy of the capacity lies in the whole of the citizens, it will be necessary that parliamentary designation allows conceiving them as the people or the nation. Of this fact the acceptance of parliamentarism, i.e. character irreversiblement representative of the democracy, is due to the fact that the Parliament can be overall perceived like the gathering of a commission of the citizens.

Thus what confers its modern profile gradually to him, it is the democratization of its representative base, the monopoly of the vote of the law and the control of other bodies, mainly of the government; thus ensuring function of representation, decision and control triples it. The modes which we will study in this presentation will have thus all as a common point to be structured around the representative principle. Nevertheless we will not study the question of knowing if this representation must be structured around one or of two parliamentary bodies.

If it is always identified with the democracy, the general tendency, beyond the national characteristics, is the increase in constraints which frame its action, limit are autonomy and reduces its place in the political system.

Thus the opinion of John Locke according to whom the Parliament holds "the off supreme power the Commonwealth" does not seem valid any more today. Whereas it was a long time in the center of the political game, the Parliament would be nothing any more but one actor among others. Of this fact at the time contemporary a very clear evolution took shape, in which certain authors saw a lowering of the legislative body. Nevertheless we will see later that this point of view is to be moderated.

Tags: Character irreversiblement, parliamentarism, principal characteristics, parliamentary modes

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