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 or otherwise exert significant political influence. The lower house typically is the larger of the two chambers, i.e. its members are more numerous.

Common attributes

In comparison with the upper house, lower houses frequently display certain characteristics (though they vary per jurisdiction). ;Powers: * In a
parliamentary system A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (or subordinate entity) where the Executive (government), executive derives its democratic legitimacy fro ...
, the lower house: **In the modern era, has much more power, usually based on restrictions against the upper house. **Is able to override the upper house in some ways. **Can vote a motion of no confidence against the
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, Executive (government), ex ...
, as well as vote for or against any proposed candidate for head of government at the beginning of the parliamentary term. **Exceptions are
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, smal ...

, where the Senate has considerable power approximate to that of the House of Representatives,
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern Italy, continental part, delimited by the Alps, a Italian Peninsula, peninsula and List of islands of Italy, se ...
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country located at the crossroads of Central Europe, Central, Eastern Europe, Eastern, and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It shares land borders with Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hunga ...
, where the Senate has exactly the same powers as the Chamber of Deputies. * In a presidential system, the lower house: ** Debatably somewhat less, the lower house also has exclusive powers in some areas. ** Has the sole power to impeach the executive (the upper house then tries the impeachment). ** Typically initiates appropriation/supply-related legislation. ;Status of lower house: * Always elected directly, while the upper house may be elected directly, indirectly, or not elected at all. * Its members may be elected with a different voting system to the upper house. * Most populated
administrative division
administrative division
s are better represented than in the upper house; representation is usually proportional to population. * Elected more frequently. * Elected all at once, not by staggered terms. * In a parliamentary system, can be dissolved by the executive. * More members. * Has total or initial control over budget, supply, and monetary laws. * Lower age of candidacy than the upper house. The government of the day is usually required to present its budget to the lower house, which must approve the budget. It is a widespread practice for revenue (i.e., appropriation) bills to originate in the lower house. A notable exception to this is the West Virginia House of Delegates, which allows revenue bills to originate from either house.

Titles of lower houses

Many lower houses are named in manners such as these: * Chamber of Deputies *Lok Sabha * Chamber of Representatives (disambiguation), Chamber of Representatives * House of Assembly * House of Representatives * House of Commons * House of Delegates (disambiguation), House of Delegates * Legislative Assembly * National Assembly * Second Chamber Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal

See also

* Representative democracy


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