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Methods of Composition of Second Chambers

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Interest in the composition of second chambers has been given a boost by the debates in the United Kingdom about reform of the House of Lords. Despite the fact that the Royal Commission that examined the question paid some attention to other second chambers, there is little indication that practice elsewhere will have much impact on what happens. Other second chambers show a considerable diversity but are generally smaller than their country's first chamber. Their members tend to have longer legislative terms (where these are fixed) but rarely longer than 5-6 years. The most common basis of representation in second chambers is territorial but a number of others can be found. A majority of members of second chambers are elected, either directly or indirectly, but appointed second chambers are not uncommon.

Keywords: House of Lords; Royal Commission; bicameralism; composition of second chambers; legislative terms; territorial representation

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2001


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