Legislator – What it is, definition and concept | 2022

The legislator is the person or body in charge of developing and approving the laws that govern a territory.

When we talk about legislator we can do it in two ways, referring to the person who makes up the body, or to the body itself. When we refer to the first, we refer to the person in question, that is, the deputy with a name and surname, in charge of approving the laws that are debated in parliament. On the other hand, if we refer to the body, we refer to parliament, not distinguishing between its various legislators.

It should be noted that speaking of a legislator as a single person is not exclusive to some contemporary regimes, since the concentration of such power in a single person was also typical of regimes of ancient times. For example, in ancient Rome the king was governor and legislator.

The legislator in autocratic regimes

Special mention must be made of contemporary autocratic regimes, regardless of their specific organization. Virtually all countries have a legislative body, but this does not mean that it has real power. They are organs that obey the designs of the dictator.

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For example, the fact that North Korea, Cuba or Iran have their particular assembly does not mean that it operates autonomously, rather the opposite. In practice, they obey the autocrat, therefore, we can affirm that the legislator is, as in the Roman case or the ancient absolute monarchies, a single person.

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Who chooses the legislator?

Regarding the election of the legislator, taking as a reference the person who makes up the legislative body, in democracies the citizen does it directly through his vote. In presidential systems there are two votes, one of them is to elect their representatives, it is done regionally. That is, the voter chooses from among the deputies or congressmen who appear in their area, and who will later join the rest of those elected.

Regarding the parliamentarians, there are only one election, and in them the legislators are chosen. It is done in the same way as just described above. However, the configuration of the electoral lists will determine the relationship that exists between citizen and legislator. If they are open, the citizen’s control will be greater; if, on the contrary, they are closed, the legislator hardly has to render accounts to his electorate.

In autocratic regimes, in which legislators are mere puppets of the autocrat or the ruling clique, their form of election can be diverse. Either the parties and people who have passed the ruler’s filter stand for election; or it is directly put by him.


The legislator has a very clear main task: to approve (or not) the laws that govern the territory in which it operates. But he is also in charge of debating and writing them. He also exercises the role of controlling the government, that is, the different political groups exert pressure on the government party, through questions and debates and appearances.

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His mandate ends with the dissolution of the assembly or by personal resignation.

types of legislator

It is also convenient to classify the scope that a legislator can have:

  • Local: These would be the components of the plenary session of a city council. They are in charge of deciding which ordinances and other provisions come into force in their municipality.
  • Regional: Corresponds to the intermediate level. They are the provincial, regional or state deputies. They make up a subnational level, and their provisions should not contradict those approved at the national level.
  • National: It is made up of the members of parliament, it is the highest degree of a country, in charge of approving the legislation that will operate within its borders.
  • Supranational: Its legislators operate in organizations made up of a group of nations, such as the European Union.

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