See also: Room
The Upper House is one of the two assemblies composing the Parlement in a bicameral system and exerting the Legislative power jointly with the Lower House.
According to the political system, federal or not, the Upper House can have two different roles:
- In a federal system, the Upper House represents the States (as with the the United States).
- In a nonfederal system, the Upper House makes it possible to attenuate the capacity of the Lower House. The Room is generally elected by Great Electors, it thus tends to be more preserving than the Lower House (as in France).
Origin of the term
The origin of this designation remains obscure (and also exists in English, where one speaks about lower house and upper house ), but one can suppose that, in France particularly, the opposition between Lower House and Upper House are due to the mode of election and the term of the office of the one and the other:
- the Lower House, indicated until in 1848 by the vote censitaire then, since 1875, by the universal direct suffrage, with a mandate of which duration forever exceeded seven years, and who is 4 years to the maximum since 1875 (5 years since 1946).
- the Upper House, made up until in 1848 of irremovable pars, and 1875 with 1940 senators elected for 9 years by the indirect vote for all (with addition of irremovable senators elected by the House of Commons), of 1946 with 1958 advisers of the Republic elected for 9 years by the indirect vote for all, and since 1958 senators elected for 9 years by the indirect vote for all (term of the office of those having to be gradually shortened to six years, all the senators in function in 2013 being elected for 6 years)
Use of the term in French
The terms of Lower House and Upper House are mainly used to avoid a repetition, in an press article for example.
The current use of these terms was very widespread until the end of the Third Republic.
In France, this designation applied:
- of 1814 with 1830: with the Room of the pars, during the Restoration
- of 1830 with 1848: with the Room of the Even S, during the Monarchy of July
- of 1875 with 1940: with the Senate, during the Third Republic
- of 1946 at 1958: with the the Council of the Republic, during the Fourth Republic
- since 1958: with the Senate, during the Fifth Republic
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