Political system
Parliamentary system
Structure of parliament
Bicameral
IPU membership
Yes

Law-making

Data on parliament’s law-making role and activities

Legislative activity

Number of laws adopted by parliament, per year
222
(2023)
Total number of laws adopted by Parliament in the previous legislature
938
(2019-06)
Number of laws adopted in the previous legislature that were initiated by parliament
274
(2019-06)
Number of laws adopted in the previous legislature that were initiated by the government
664
(2019-06)
Percentage of laws initiated by parliament in the previous legislature
29%
(2019-06)
Dates of the previous legislature
19 Jun 2014 to 23 May 2019
(2019-06)
Outcome when the two chambers cannot agree on a piece of draft legislation
Other

Notes: There are three federal legislative procedures, depending on the subject at hand. In the first procedure, only the House of Representatives has federal legislative power at national level; in the second, the House of Representatives and the Senate have equal powers; in the third, both houses have authority, but the House of Representatives has the final say.

Sources: Constitution, arts 74 to 83 (arts 74 to 78, 82 and 83 as of 25 May 2014)

Executive-legislative relations

Legislation adopted by parliament requires the assent of the Head of State
Yes

Sources: Articles 36 and 109 of the Constitution.

Number of times the Head of State declined to give assent to legislation, per year
0
(2023)
Consequences when the Head of State declines to give assent to legislation
Other

Notes:

The King and his government, as a branch of the legislative power, approve laws. In theory, the King and the government are not obliged to do so. They thus have a right of veto. That practice was current in the nineteenth century but has fallen into disuse.

Neither the Constitution nor the law provides what should happen if the King refuses to assent to a law passed by the federal parliament or if the federal parliament and the King do not agree on a legislative text. A distinction must therefore be made between the legal consequences and the political consequences of such a situation:

- in legal terms, the legislative process cannot be completed;

- on the political level, an institutional crisis threatens to occur.

Faced with the threat of an institutional crisis, it is almost impossible in practice for the King to refuse to sanction a law adopted by the federal parliament or to express his disagreement with a law adopted by the federal parliament.

Final decision when parliament and the Head of State do not agree
Other

Existence of a procedure to introduce emergency legislation

There is a procedure for introducing emergency legislation into parliament
Yes
Number of times the procedure for emergency legislation was used, per year
49

Sources: Under Article 51 of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, the House decides by sitting and standing on any urgent proposal.

Historical data for IPU membership

Historical data for IPU membership
Year IPU membership
2020-09
List of values for 2020-09
No
2019-04
List of values for 2019-04
No
2018-06
List of values for 2018-06
No