National Assembly

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In politics, a National Assembly is either a unicameral legislature, the lower house [n 1] of a bicameral legislature, or both houses of a bicameral legislature together. In the English language it generally means "an assembly composed of the representatives of the nation." [1] The population base represented by this name is manifestly the nation as a whole, as opposed to a geographically select population, such as that represented by a provincial assembly. The powers of a National Assembly vary according to the type of government. It may possess all the powers of government, generally governing by committee, or it may function solely within the legislative branch of the government.

A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city. Legislatures form important parts of most governments; in the separation of powers model, they are often contrasted with the executive and judicial branches of government.

Lower house chamber of a bicameral legislature

A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.


The name also must be distinguished from the concept. Conceptually such an institution may appear under variety of names, especially if "national assembly" is being used to translate foreign names of the same concept into English. Also, the degree to which the National Assembly speaks for the nation is a variable. To achieve a quorum, the ancient Athenian Assembly employed Scythian police to arrest citizens at random from the street. On the other hand, the early Parliaments of Europe were mainly of an aristocratic composition. The word had its origins and inspirations from the National Assembly that was responsible for drafting a constitution during the French Revolution.

French Revolution Revolution in France, 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

The exact words, "national assembly," have been used prolifically in the international community of nations since the 18th and 19th centuries, considered the Age of Revolution in western Europe. Nations that formed republics in this age subsequently formed empires. Extensive cross-cultural influences brought much of their language and institutions to the provinces. When these empires collapsed finally, the emancipated countries formed states and other institutions on the model of the former imperial nations. Some examples of international influences are as follows:

Age of Revolution historic period

The Age of Revolution is the period from approximately 1774 to 1849 in which a number of significant revolutionary movements occurred in most of Europe and the Americas. The period is noted for the change from absolutist monarchies to representative governments with a written constitution, and the creation of nation states.

In Germany, a Nationalversammlung was elected following the revolutions of 1848–1849 and 1918–1919, to be replaced by a permanent parliament (Reichstag) later. The legislature of the Estado Novo regime in Portugal was known as the National Assembly, while the Corporative Chamber was a purely advisory chamber. The national assembly was also defined in the Republic of China constitution. This is different from the Legislative Yuan by the ROC constitution. In 2005, Taiwan revised the constitution and national assembly was abolished. Examples have multiplied greatly under the policy of self-determination adopted by the western nations. Many more are to be found in the articles listed below.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance, and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands to the west.

German Revolution of 1918–1919 Revolution in 1918–1919 in Germany

The German Revolution or November Revolution was a civil conflict in the German Empire at the end of the First World War that resulted in the replacement of the German federal constitutional monarchy with a democratic parliamentary republic that later became known as the Weimar Republic. The revolutionary period lasted from November 1918 until the adoption in August 1919 of the Weimar Constitution.

Parliament legislature whose power and function are similar to those dictated by the Westminster system of the United Kingdom

In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: representing the electorate, making laws, and overseeing the government via hearings and inquiries.The term is similar to the idea of a senate, synod or congress, and is commonly used in countries that are current or former monarchies, a form of government with a monarch as the head. Some contexts restrict the use of the word parliament to parliamentary systems, although it is also used to describe the legislature in some presidential systems, even where it is not in the official name.

Origin of the expression

Perhaps the best known National Assembly was that established during the French Revolution in 1789, known as the Assemblée nationale . Consequently, the name is particularly common in Francophone countries. It was also the name of the legislature during France's First Republic and the Consulate, and since 1946 has been the lower house of the French parliament, first under the Fourth Republic, and from 1958, the Fifth Republic.

National Assembly (French Revolution) assembly during the French Revolution

During the French Revolution, the National Assembly, which existed from 4 June 1789 to 9 July 1789, was a revolutionary assembly formed by the representatives of the Third Estate of the Estates-General; thereafter it was known as the National Constituent Assembly, though popularly the shorter form persisted.

France Republic in Europe with several non-European regions

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.02 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

French First Republic Republic governing France, 1792–1804

In the history of France, the First Republic, officially the French Republic, was founded on 22 September 1792 during the French Revolution. The First Republic lasted until the declaration of the First Empire in 1804 under Napoleon, although the form of the government changed several times. This period was characterized by the fall of the monarchy, the establishment of the National Convention and the Reign of Terror, the Thermidorian Reaction and the founding of the Directory, and, finally, the creation of the Consulate and Napoleon's rise to power.

The expression, however, did not originate in 1789. It was already in use in the French language of the times. Louis XIII of France (1601–1643), par la grace de Dieu Roy de France & de Navarre, in a Declaration of April 14, 1627, concerning the sovereignty of his kingdom, prohibits ministers of foreign countries from any jurisdiction in France, citing, as precedent, his Lettres de Declaration of April 17, 1623, forbidding religious officials from treating with foreign countries. He describes his Declaration as ordonné qu'en Assemblées Provinciales & Nationales des nosdites sujets. [2] This was the "registration" that the Parlement of Paris refused to perform for Louis XVI of France in 1787–1788. When the Estates-General of 1789 formed the National Assembly of 1789, they did not believe they were instituting anything new. In the Assembly of Notables of 1787, Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette had used National Assembly and Estates General synonymously when he suggested that France needed a national assembly to solve its financial problems.

Louis XIII of France King of France

Louis XIII was King of France from 1610 to 1643 and King of Navarre from 1610 to 1620, when the crown of Navarre was merged with the French crown.

Parlement Ancien Régime justice court

A parlement, in the Ancien Régime of France, was a provincial appellate court. In 1789, France had 13 parlements, the most important of which was the Parlement of Paris. While the English word parliament derives from this French term, parlements were not legislative bodies. They consisted of a dozen or more appellate judges, or about 1,100 judges nationwide. They were the court of final appeal of the judicial system, and typically wielded much power over a wide range of subject matter, particularly taxation. Laws and edicts issued by the Crown were not official in their respective jurisdictions until the parlements gave their assent by publishing them. The members were aristocrats called nobles of the gown who had bought or inherited their offices, and were independent of the King.

Louis XVI of France King of France

Louis XVI, born Louis-Auguste, was the last king of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution. He was referred to as citizen Louis Capet during the four months before he was guillotined. In 1765, at the death of his father, Louis, son and heir apparent of Louis XV, Louis-Auguste became the new dauphin of France. Upon his grandfather's death on 10 May 1774, he assumed the title "King of France and Navarre", which he used until 4 September 1791, when he received the title of "King of the French" until the monarchy was abolished on 21 September 1792.

National Assembly is also found in some Commonwealth countries. Its use there is not a translation of Assemblée nationale, as the phrase is equally embedded in the English language. For example, at the end of the First English Civil War, an Act of Parliament, 1648, "Concerning the Members of the Classical and Congregational Presbyteries, in the several counties of the Kingdom of England, and Dominion of Wales," establishes a national congregational church in England and Wales, corresponding to the presbyteries of Scotland. The language is: "The National Assembly shall be constituted of members chosen by and sent from the several Provincial Assemblies." [3] This National Assembly appears to have no direct link to any French words, although the concept is the same.

Unicameral national legislatures

CountryArticleLocal Name
Albania National Assembly of Albania Kuvendi i Shqipërisë
Angola National Assembly of Angola Assembleia Nacional
Armenia National Assembly of Armenia Ազգային Ժողով
Azerbaijan National Assembly of Azerbaijan Milli Məclis
Benin National Assembly of Benin Assemblée Nationale
Bhutan National Assembly of Bhutan
Botswana National Assembly of Botswana
Bulgaria National Assembly of Bulgaria Народно събрание
Burkina Faso National Assembly of Burkina Faso Assemblée Nationale
Cameroon National Assembly of Cameroon
Cape Verde National Assembly of Cape Verde Assembleia Nacional
Central African Republic National Assembly of the Central African Republic Assemblée Nationale
Chad National Assembly of Chad Assemblée Nationale
Cuba National Assembly of People's Power Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular
Djibouti National Assembly of Djibouti Assemblée Nationale
Eritrea National Assembly of Eritrea
Gambia National Assembly of Gambia
Greece National Assembly of Greece
Guinea National Assembly of Guinea Assemblée Nationale
Guinea-Bissau National People's Assembly of Guinea-Bissau
Guyana National Assembly of Guyana
Hungary National Assembly of Hungary Országgyűlés
Ivory Coast National Assembly of Ivory Coast
Kuwait National Assembly of Kuwait مجلس الامة
Kurdistan Regional Government Kurdistan National Assembly المجلس الوطني لكوردستان
Laos National Assembly of Laos
Malawi National Assembly of Malawi
Mali National Assembly of Mali Assemblée Nationale
Mauritius National Assembly of Mauritius
Nicaragua National Assembly of Nicaragua Asamblea Nacional
Niger National Assembly of Niger Assemblée Nationale
North Korea Supreme People’s Assembly 최고인민회의 (Choego Inmin Hoe-ui)
Pakistan National Assembly of Pakistan مجلس شوریٰ
Panama National Assembly of Panama Asamblea Nacional de Panamá
Saint Kitts and Nevis National Assembly of Saint Kitts and Nevis
São Tomé and Príncipe National Assembly of São Tomé and Príncipe Assembleia Nacional
Senegal National Assembly of Senegal Assemblée Nationale
Serbia National Assembly of Serbia Народна скупштина Србије (Narodna skupština Srbije)
Seychelles National Assembly of Seychelles
South Korea National Assembly of the Republic of Korea 국회 (Gukhoe)
Sudan National Assembly of Sudan
Suriname National Assembly of Suriname Nationale Assemblee
Tanzania National Assembly of Tanzania
Togo National Assembly of Togo Assemblée Nationale
Turkey Grand National Assembly of Turkey Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi
Uganda National Assembly of Uganda
Venezuela National Assembly of Venezuela Asamblea Nacional
Vietnam National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Quốc hội nước Cộng hòa xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam
Wales National Assembly for Wales Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru
Zambia National Assembly of Zambia

Lower house of bicameral national legislature

CountryArticleLocal Name
Algeria People's National Assembly
Bhutan National Assembly of Bhutan
Burundi National Assembly of Burundi
Cambodia National Assembly of Cambodia រដ្ឋសភាកម្ពុជា (Rodsaphea)
Congo (DRC) National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Assemblée nationale
Congo (Rep.) National Assembly of the Republic of the Congo Assemblée nationale
France National Assembly of France Assemblée nationale
Ivory Coast National Assembly of Ivory Coast Assemblée nationale
Kenya National Assembly of Kenya
Gabon National Assembly of Gabon
Lesotho National Assembly of Lesotho
Madagascar National Assembly of Madagascar
Mauritania National Assembly
Namibia National Assembly of Namibia
Pakistan National Assembly of Pakistan مجلس شوری
Slovenia National Assembly of Slovenia Državni zbor
South Africa National Assembly of South Africa

Upper house of bicameral national legislature

CountryArticleLocal Name
Tajikistan National Assembly of Tajikistan Majlisi Milliy
Nepal National Assembly of Nepal

Entire bicameral legislature

CountryArticleLocal Name
Afghanistan National Assembly of Afghanistan ملی شورا
Bahrain National Assembly of Bahrain
Belarus National Assembly of Belarus Нацыянальны сход/Национальное собрание
Belize National Assembly of Belize
Haiti National Assembly of Haiti Assemblée Nationale
Jordan National Assembly of Jordan Majlis al-Umma
Nigeria National Assembly of Nigeria
Poland National Assembly of Poland Zgromadzenie Narodowe
Russia Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation
Thailand National Assembly of Thailand รัฐสภา
Tunisia National Assembly of Tunisia


Batavian Republic,
National Assembly of the Batavian Republic:
- First National Assembly
- Second National Assembly
1 March 1796 - 31 August 1797
1 September 1797 - 22 January 1798 (coup)
Republic of China National Assembly of the Republic of China 1913-2005defunct constitutional convention
Estonia Rahvuskogu 1937Constituent assembly
Germany ("Weimar Republic") Weimar National Assembly 1919-1933
Nepal National Assembly of Nepal 1990-1997
Philippines National Assembly of Representatives
National Assembly of the Philippines
National Assembly of the Second Philippine Republic
25 September 1943 - 2 February 1944
During Japanese occupation
Portugal National Assembly of Portugal 1933-1974During Estado Novo dictatorship


Country/TerritoryNameLocal NameNotes
Iraq National Assembly of Iraq A constitutional convention
Quebec, Canada National Assembly of Quebec Assemblée nationale du QuébecA unicameral provincial legislative assembly
Republika Srpska National Assembly (Republika Srpska) Народна скупштина Републике Српске (Narodna Skupština Republike Srpske)Autonomous entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Wales National Assembly for Wales Cynulliad Cenedlaethol CymruCan make Acts of the Assembly and Delegated legislation

See also


  1. Nepal and Tajikistan being the exception, with their National Assembly as the higher houses of bicameral Parliament

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