In government, unicameralism (Latin uni, one + camera, chamber) is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a unicameral parliament or unicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of one chamber or house.


Unicameral legislatures exist when there is no widely perceived need for multicameralism. Many multicameral legislatures were created to give separate voices to different sectors of society. Multiple chambers allowed for guaranteed representation of different social classes (as in the Parliament of the United Kingdom or the French States-General), ethnic or regional interests, or subunits of a federation. Where these factors are unimportant, in unitary states with limited regional autonomy, unicameralism often prevails. Sometimes, as in New Zealand and Denmark, this comes about through the abolition of one of the two chambers, or, as in Sweden, through the merger of the two chambers into a single one, while in others a second chamber has never existed.

Unicameral legislatures are also common in official Communist states such as the People's Republic of China and Cuba. Similarly, many formerly Communist states, such as Ukraine, Moldova and Serbia, have retained their unicameral legislatures, though others, such as Romania and Poland, adopted bicameral legislatures. Both the former Russian SFSR and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) were bicameral. The two chambers were the Soviet of Nationalities and the Soviet of the Union. The Russian Federation retained bicameralism after the dissolution of the USSR and the transition from existing socialism to capitalism.[1]

The principal advantage of a unicameral system is more efficient lawmaking, as the legislative process is much simpler and there is no possibility of deadlock. Proponents of unicameralism have also argued that it reduces costs, even if the number of legislators stay the same, since there are fewer institutions to maintain and support it.

The main weakness of a unicameral system can be seen as the lack of restraint on the majority, particularly noticeable in parliamentary systems where the leaders of the parliamentary majority also dominate the executive. There is also the risk that important sectors of society may not be adequately represented.

Other Languages
čeština: Unikameralismus
español: Unicameralidad
Esperanto: Unuĉambrismo
فارسی: تک‌مجلسی
français: Monocamérisme
한국어: 단원제
हिन्दी: एकसदनीयता
Bahasa Indonesia: Sistem satu kamar
italiano: Monocameralismo
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಏಕಸಭೆ
lumbaart: Monocameralism
Nederlands: Eenkamerstelsel
日本語: 一院制
norsk nynorsk: Eittkammersystem
occitan: Monocamerisme
português: Unicameralismo
română: Unicameralism
Simple English: Unicameral
српски / srpski: Једнодомни систем
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Jednodomni sistem
Türkçe: Tek meclislilik
中文: 一院制