Legislature – What is, definition and concept | 2022

A legislature is the period of time in which the legislative chambers, congress and senate carry out their functions. This period varies according to the country in question.

A legislature, normally four or five years, is the period of time that elapses between the constitution of the government and the legislative bodies and its end. During which, the deputies, senators and the components of the executive power carry out the tasks that are constitutionally assigned to them. As well as the sessions and deliberations that are constituted.

In parliamentary democratic countries this is the period in which the elected government has to exercise its mandate. The process begins with the celebration of the elections and, with some exceptions, it ends after the completion of the years that are legally constituted.

In the case of presidential countries, there are two elections, one for the president (who chooses the government) and one for the legislative chambers. In this case, the legislature would refer to the period in which the chambers are active, since it does not coincide in time with the government.

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It should be noted that the concept of legislature also has another meaning, which operates in the American countries. This refers to a legislative body or body, but at a lower level, as is the case of the states of the United States or Mexico. In Spain they would be the equivalent of the regional assemblies.

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Beginning of the legislature

Although it is not part of the legislature as such, the first step for its constitution is the holding of elections. In presidential regimes, it would be the elections that elect the legislative chambers, not the presidential ones.

Once the parliamentary majorities and the legislative bodies have been constituted, the legislature officially begins. Although the investiture of the president of the government happens later.

end of term

The legislature can end for several reasons:

  • End of term, normally after four or five years.
  • Resignation or death of the president of the government.
  • Loss of trust issue.
  • Success of a motion of censure.

The last three reasons pertain to parliamentary regimes, as they are directly related to government. In presidential elections, since there is a clearer separation between the executive and legislative branches, these cases do not work.


The legislature, as the period in which the legislative chambers are active with their elected representatives, is regulated in the constitutions of their respective countries.

In Spain, for example, articles 68 and 69 refer to the four years that this period lasts in the country.

In Mexico, article 51 of the constitution establishes that the representatives of the chamber of deputies will hold office for three years. But, contrary to the Spanish case, article 56 establishes that senators are elected for two terms, six years in office. Another distinction is that of the five hundred deputies, three hundred are elected by direct vote and two hundred by lists in each constituency.

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France, to give an example of a semi-presidential country, establishes in article 25 of the constitution that the duration of the powers of each House, as well as other aspects, will be regulated in an organic law. That said, its duration is five years, like the presidential mandate.

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