The Regional Second Chambers in Western Europe

No.3(2000)

Abstract
In the development of bicameralism we can differ two traditions: the Montesquieu’s tradition of bicameral parliament as an instrument of division of state’s power and the American tradition of bicameralism, in which the second chamber is a component not only horizontal, but also vertical division of power - the second chamber represents the member states in the federation. The most of the world’s second chambers are created on the principal of territorial representation. The first group of territorial chambers are the federative chambers, the second one are the regional chambers in decentralized unitarian states. There are four regional chambers in the western Europe: in France, in Italy, in the Netherlands and in Spain. In Lijphart’s typology are the Netherlandish and Italian Senates congruent. The French Senate is partially and indirectly elected each 3 years by regional electors; it has more influence and authority than powers - the National assembly can decide in the end in nearly all cases. The Italian Senate is atypically powerful - the equal bicameralism is usual in federative states. The senators are directly elected in provinces for 5 years with exception of dissolution. The Senate can iniciate a motion of distrust to the government. The First Chamber in the Netherlands is only the chamber of ratification - de iure has “the last word”. The senators are elected for 4 years by regional councils. In the Spanish Senate there are two groups of senators: directly elected in provinces and indirectly elected by regional assemblies. All senators have 4 year’s term. The main function of the Senate is to be link between the central politics and autonomous communities.

Keywords:
Senate; Western europe; regional second chambers
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