Definitions

member of bar

Member of Parliament

A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters to a parliament. In many countries the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a unique title, such as senate, and thus also have unique titles for its members, such as senators. Members of parliament tend to form parliamentary parties with members of the same political party.

Australia

In Australia, the term Member of Parliament refers to the Australian House of Representatives, and in some jurisdictions it also refers to members of the State Parliament.

Austria

In Austria, the term Member of Parliament refers to the members of the two chambers of the Parliament of Austria (Österreichisches Parliament). The members of the Nationalrat are called Abgeordnete zum Nationalrat. The members of the Bundesrat, elected by the provincial diets (Landtage) of the nine federal States of Austria, are known as Mitglieder des Bundesrats.

Canada

While the Parliament consists of the Queen of Canada, Senate of Canada and the House of Commons, only members of the lower house are referred to as Members of Parliament (French: Député) in common usage.

The Ontario Legislature refer their representatives as Members of Provincial Parliament (French: membre du Parlement provincial) or MPPs. All provinces (excluding Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador) are called Members of the Legislative Assembly or MLA. In Quebec, they are referred to as Member of the National Assembly (Quebec) of MNA and Newfoundland and Labrador are Member of the House of Assembly or MHA.

Denmark

The Danish unicameral parliament, the Folketing, has 179 members, 2 of which are elected in Greenland and two of which are elected in the Faroe Islands. In Danish, the usual abbreviation for Member of Parliament is MF, which stands for "Member of the Folketing".

Germany

In Germany, Member of Parliament refers to the elected members of the federal Bundestag Parliament at the Reichstag building in Berlin. In German a member is called Mitglied des Deutschen Bundestages (MdB). The 16 federal States of Germany (Länder) are represented by the Bundesrat at the former Prussian House of Lords, whose members are representatives of the respective Länder's governments and not directly elected by the people. In accordance with article 38 of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, which is the German constitution, "[m]embers of the German Bundestag shall be elected in general, direct, free, equal, and secret elections. They shall be representatives of the whole people, not bound by orders or instructions, and responsible only to their conscience."

India

In India, the term Member of Parliament refers to the Sansad or the Indian Parliament chambers of the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha. MPs to the Lok Sabha are elected popularly by constituencies in the Indian states and union territories, while MPs to the Rajya Sabha are elected by State legislatures. Central government is formed by the party having the most number of MPs in the Lok Sabha. Each state is allocated a fixed number of elected MPs. The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, represents the maximum number of MPs in the Lok Sabha.

Israel

In Israel, the term Member of the Knesset refers to one of the 120 Members of the Knesset.

Ireland

In Ireland, the term Member of Parliament can refer to the members of the pre-1801 Irish House of Commons of the Parliament of Ireland. It can also refer to Irish members elected to the British House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1801 to 1922. Northern Ireland continues to elected MPs to the modern Parliament of the United Kingdom. Members of the modern Irish lower house of parliament, Dáil Éireann (or "the Dáil") are termed Teachtaí Dála (Teachta Dála singular) or TDs. The upper house is called Seanad Éireann). Its members are called Seanadóirí or Senators.

Italy

In the Republican Italian Parliament the current term is Deputato (that is deputy as appointed to act on people's behalf) and so the Lower House takes the name of Camera dei Deputati Similarly to other countries, the Higher House is called Senato and its members are the Senatori.

Lebanon

The Parliament of Lebanon is the Lebanese national legislature. It is elected to a four-year term by universal adult suffrage in multi-member constituencies, apportioned among Lebanon's diverse Christian and Muslim denominations. Its major functions are to elect the President of the Republic, to approve the government (although appointed by the President, the Prime Minister, along with the Cabinet, must retain the confidence of a majority in the Parliament), and to approve laws and expenditure. The name of a deputy in Arabic is Naeb (نائب). The plural of Naeb is Nuwab (نواب).

Republic of Macedonia

In the Republic of Macedonia there are 120 Members of Parliament (Sobranie) which are called 'Pratenici' (singular Pratenik).

Malaysia

The Malaysian Parliament is modeled after the Parliament of the United Kingdom and consists of two houses, known as the Dewan Rakyat, which is the House of Representatives, and Dewan Negara, the Senate.

The members of the Dewan Rakyat are elected in general elections or by-elections, whereas the members of the Dewan Negara are either appointed by the king, in recognition of outstanding service to their country or chosen by the states. Each state appoints a number of senators proportional to its size.

Members of Parliament are styled Yang Berhormat ("Honourable") with the initials Y.B. appended prenominally. A prince who is a Member of Parliament is styled Yang Berhormat Mulia.

Malta

The Parliament of Malta consists of 69 seats, and these seats are shared between two political parties; 35 seats for the Partit Nazzjonalista and 34 seats for the Malta Labour Party.

Nauru

The Parliament of Nauru consists of 18 seats and is the legislative institution of the Republic of Nauru. The Parliament House is located in the Yaren district. Members of Parliament are entitled to use the prefix The Honourable.

Netherlands

The parlement of the Netherlands consist of two chambers; together they are known as parlement or "Staten-Generaal", literally Estates-General. The First Chamber is also known as the Senate and its members as "senatoren", senators. The Second Chamber, "Tweede Kamer", is the most important one. The important debates take place here. Also, the Second Chamber can edit proposed laws with amendments and it can propose laws itself. The Senate doesn't have these capabilities. Its function is more a technical reviewing of laws. It can only pass a law or reject it. Both chambers are in The Hague which is the seat of parliament but not the official capital of The Netherlands, which is instead Amsterdam.

The 150 members of the Second Chamber are elected by general elections every 4 years (unless the government falls). The 75 members of the Senate are elected indirectly. The members of the 12 provincial parlements elect the senators. The value of a vote of a member of a provincial parlement is relative to the population of the province. Provincial parlements are elected by general elections every four years.

See also (in Dutch): Staten-Generaal, Eerste Kamer, Tweede Kamer en Provinciale Staten

New Zealand

New Zealand has a single-chambered (unicameral) parliament. In New Zealand, Member of Parliament is the term for a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives, although parliament technically consists of both the House and the Queen. The New Zealand House of Representatives normally has 120 MPs, elected every three years. There are 69 electorate (constituency) MPs, 7 of whom are elected by Māori who have chosen to vote in special Māori seats. The remaining 51 MPs are elected from party lists. As of 2007, the speaker of the house is Margaret Wilson.

Before 1951, New Zealand had a two-chambered (bicameral) parliament, and there were two designations — MHR (Member of the House of Representatives, the body which survives today) and MLC (Member of the Legislative Council).

Norway

In Norway, the term Members of Parliament refers to the elected members of the Norwegian parliament, Stortinget. These members are called stortingsrepresentanter. Norway has a two-chamber parliament, consisting of Odelstinget and Lagtinget. Odelstinget contains the majority of the parliament members (three fourths, or 127 of the total 169 members). Lagtinget contains the last fourth of the members, and is chosen by popular vote in the parliament at the beginning of each parliament period (the members of parliament are elected for four years at a time). The dividing of the parliament into chambers is only used when it is dealing with passing regular laws and in cases of prosecution by national court (riksrett). In other matters, such as passing the national budget or changing the constitution (the latter requiring a majority of two-thirds), the chambers are united.

Pakistan

In Pakistan, Member of Parliament refers to a member of Parliament (National Assembly of Pakistan, Qaumi Assembly). The National Assembly is based in Islamabad.

Poland

Singapore

In Singapore, Members of Parliament refers to elected members of the Parliament of Singapore, the appointed Non-Constituency Members of Parliament from the opposition, as well as the Nominated Members of Parliament, who may be appointed from members of the public who have no connection to any political party in Singapore.

Sweden

In Sweden, Members of Parliament refers to the elected members of the Parliament of Sweden (Sveriges riksdag). In Swedish, an MP is usually referred to as a riksdagsledamot or a riksdagsman (the former is in more common use today, especially in official contexts, due its status as a unisex word, while the latter was used more often historically and literally refers to a male MP exclusively).

The parliament is a unicameral assembly with 349 members who are chosen every four years in general elections. In order to become an MP a person must be entitled to vote (i.e. be a Swedish citizen, be at least 18 years old and be or have been resident in Sweden) and must be nominated by a political party.

The salaries of the MPs are decided by the Riksdag Pay Committee (Riksdagens arvodesnämnd), a government agency under the parliament. Since 1 November 2007, the basic monthly pay of an MP is SEK52,900 (ca. US$8,300). The pay of the Speaker is SEK126,000 a month (ca. US$20,000), which is the same as that of the Prime Minister. The Deputy Speakers receive an increment of 30 % of the pay of a member. The chairs and deputy chairs of the parliamentary committees receive a similar increment of 20 % and 15 % respectively.

Thailand

In the Kingdom of Thailand, Members of Parliament refers to the elected members of the National Assembly of Thailand. Following the military coup d'état on 19 September 2006, all its 500 members are suspended from duty until the next election. The National Assembly of Thailand was fully reconvened after the general elections under a new constitution.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has members of three different parliaments:

The Welsh Assembly is not empowered to make primary legislation and forms the Welsh Assembly Government, which unusually combines legislative and executive functions. The National Assembly consists of 60 elected members; they use the English title Assembly Member (AM) or the equivalent Welsh Aelod y Cynulliad (AC), the latter primarily used when referring to this role when conversing in the Welsh language, and is infrequently heard within English speaking discussions. It is increasingly common, however, to see the Welsh Assembly Government referred to as "the Welsh Government" and the Welsh Assembly is increasingly referred to as Senedd in Welsh, the same word as is used for the Westminster Parliament.

The Northern Ireland Assembly's 108 members are elected from 18 six-member constituencies on the basis of universal adult suffrage. The constituencies used are the same as those used for elections to the Westminster Parliament. Elected members are known as Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). The Assembly has authority to legislate in a field of competences known as "transferred matters". These matters are not enumerated in the Northern Ireland Act 1998. Rather, they include any competence not explicitly retained by the Parliament at Westminster. Uniquely, Assembly legislation is open to judicial review.

Between 1921 and 1973, Northern Ireland was governed by the Parliament of Northern Ireland, a devolved assembly whose members were known as Members of Parliament.

MPs in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom are elected in general elections and by-elections to represent constituencies by the first-past-the-post system of election, and may remain MPs until Parliament is dissolved, which must occur within 5 years of the last general election, as stated in the Parliament Act 1911.

Members of the House of Lords are not MPs but Lords of Parliament, and sit either for life in the case of the Lords Temporal, or so long as they continue to occupy their ecclesiastical positions in the case of the Lords Spiritual. Hereditary peers may no longer pass on their seat and those remaining have been elected by themselves, following the House of Lords Act 1999. Their numbers remain at 92 by top-up voting ("by-election") when a member dies, however Lord Avebury’s House of Lords (Amendment) Bill (HL Bill 51) paves the way for their gradual extinction and this may be enacted before grand constitutional reform occurs. Such major reform is likely to be somewhat prolonged based on the Lords' resistance to suggested proposals in February 2007.

There are several special members of Parliament, including the Prime Minister, other government ministers in the Commons, the Chief Whip of each party, Privy Counsellors, and the Speaker of the House.

A candidate to become a Member of Parliament must be a British or Irish or Commonwealth citizen, must be over 18, and must not be a public official or officeholder, as set out in the schedule to the Electoral Administration Act 2006 (this was a reduction in the lower age limit, as candidates needed to be 21 until the law came into effect in 2006).

Members of Parliament are technically forbidden to resign their seats (though they are not forbidden from refusing to seek re-election). In order to leave the house between elections, they must either die or take advantage of the rule that appointment to a "paid office under the Crown" disqualifies an MP from sitting in the Commons, and two nominally paid offices – the Chiltern Hundreds and the Manor of Northstead – exist to allow members to resign from the House. For more information, see the article Resignation from the British House of Commons.

The basic salary of an MP in the House of Commons was increased to £60,277 on 1 November 2006. Many MPs (ministers, the Speaker, senior opposition leaders etc) receive a supplementary salary for their specific responsibilities. As of the 1 April 2006 increment these range from £25,255 for junior whips to £126,085 for the Prime Minister. MPs also receive extensive expenses, including paying for buying and furnishing second homes.

Other countries

MPs are also representatives in other parliamentary democracies that do not follow the Westminster system. Their functions are very much the same, yet the post is usually referred to in a different fashion such as Deputé in France, Diputado in many Spanish-speaking countries, Deputado in Portugal and Brazil, Mitglied des Bundestages (MdB) in Germany.

See also

Footnotes

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