Legislative initiative
The right of initiative is the constitutionally defined power to propose a new law (bill
Bill (proposed law)
A bill is a proposed law under consideration by a legislature. A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature and, in most cases, approved by the executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an act or a statute....


The right of initiative is usually attributed to parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

s, which in most countries have the right to make law proposals, alone or sharing this right with the government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...


In parliamentary system
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

s it is common that both the government (executive) and the parliament have legislative initiative, but it also can be restricted to the government and the lower house
Lower house
A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide the lower house has come to wield more power...

 of parliament, or even to the government alone.

In congressional systems legislative initiative only rests with the congress
A congress is a formal meeting of the representatives of different nations, constituent states, independent organizations , or groups....

, such as in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. This, however, does not preclude the executive from suggesting the introduction of certain laws to their backers in the congress.

Right of initiative in France

In France, ministerial bills are called law projects and parliament's bills are called law proposals.

Law projects

In France, most of the bills are proposed by the government. One of the ministers propose the bill to those concerned by his application. Then, if the different ministers manage an agreement, the bill is send to the secrétariat général du gouvernement and then to the Conseil d'État, the Council of Ministers, the Parliament, and so on...
The Conseil d'État (and sometimes the Constitutional Council
Constitutional Council of France
The Constitutional Council is the highest constitutional authority in France. It was established by the Constitution of the Fifth Republic on 4 October 1958, and its duty is to ensure that the principles and rules of the constitution are upheld.Its main activity is to rule on whether proposed...

) has the duty to advise the government on law projects.

Law proposals

Any MP can propose a law to the parliament.
Law proposals, unlike law projects, can be directly deposed if they do not increase the state's expenditure.

Both kind of bills can be first deposed to the Senate or the National Assembly

Only 10% of adopted laws are proposed by Members of Parliament.
This is mainly because the government get several means to limit the parliament's power:
  • Government is fixing most of the agenda of both chambers.
  • He can, under some conditions, prevent the parliament from modifying his texts.

The parliament's legislative initiative has at the same time good and bad points.
It is mostly criticized because some lobbies could impel the parliament to satisfy them before other citizens.
But, on the other hand, legislative initiative is the best way for the parliament to defend against possible government's encroachments.

Legislative initiative in the European Union

The European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

 is the only European institution that has legislative initiative.
The Council and the European Parliament only decide on proposals from the commission, but the member states also have a legislative initiative concerning the Common Foreign and Security Policy
Common Foreign and Security Policy
The Common Foreign and Security Policy is the organised, agreed foreign policy of the European Union for mainly security and defence diplomacy and actions. CFSP deals only with a specific part of the EU's external relations, which domains include mainly Trade and Commercial Policy and other areas...

In fact only 10% of the proposals are from the commission only. Others proposals from the commission are requested by the member states, the parliament or other organizations (e.g. NGO).

Some politicians like Jean-Pierre Chevènement
Jean-Pierre Chevènement
Jean-Pierre Chevènement is a French politician. He was Minister of Defense from 1988 to 1991 and Minister of the Interior from 1997 to 2000. He was a presidential candidate in 2002 and since 2008 has been a member of the Senate....

 or Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Dominique Gaston André Strauss-Kahn , often referred to in the media, and by himself, as DSK, is a French economist, lawyer, politician, and member of the French Socialist Party...

 think that this monopoly of the initiative prevent from creating a real democratic debate.

See also

  • Article One of the United States Constitution
  • Legislature
    A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

External links

  • Report on the Legislative Initiative and Annex, Venice Commission
    Venice Commission
    The Venice Commission is an advisory body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts in the field of constitutional law. It was created in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin wall, at a time of urgent need for constitutional assistance in Central and Eastern Europe...

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