Constitutional Reform of National Legislatures
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Constitutional Reform of National Legislatures

Bicameralism under Pressure

Edited by Richard Albert, Antonia Baraggia and Cristina Fasone

Despite the importance of second chambers to the success of constitutional democracies around the world, today many fundamental questions about bicameralism remain understudied and undertheorized. What makes bicameral reform so difficult? Why choose bicameralism over unicameralism? What are the constitutional values of bicameralism? This innovative book addresses these questions and many more from comparative, doctrinal, empirical, historical and theoretical perspectives.
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Chapter 11: Concluding chapter - Unicameralism and masked bicameralism

Cristina Fasone

Abstract

How many shapes can a parliament take? Unicameral, bicameral and even tricameral arrangements stem from the peculiar constitutional history a country has experienced, even though there are common traits behind the choice of a certain parliamentary structure. The chapter deals with the cases of unicameralism and ‘masked’ bicameralism presented in the main chapters of Part II and tries to identify the conditions under which a second chamber can be deemed in existence as well as the pros and cons of having functional bicameralism or second chambers ‘lookalikes’ in place. After briefly reviewing examples of multi-chamber parliaments and of successful abolition of second chambers, the chapter engages with the cases of Bulgaria, Peru and Ireland as paradigmatic experiences of the tension between unicameralism and bicameralism.

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