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Right of initiative (legislative)

  (Redirected from Legislative initiative)

The right of (legislative) initiative is the constitutionally defined power to propose a new law (bill).

The right of initiative is usually attributed to parliaments, which in most countries have the right to make law proposals, alone or sharing this right with the government.

In parliamentary systems 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 of parliament, or even to the government alone.

In presidential systems legislative initiative usually only rests with the congress, such as in the United States. This, however, does not preclude the executive from suggesting the introduction of certain laws to their backers in the congress.

Right of initiative in FranceEdit

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

Law projectsEdit

In France, bills are proposed by the government. One of the ministers propose the bill to those concerned by his or her application. Then, if the different ministers agree, the bill is sent to the secrétariat général du gouvernement and then to the Conseil d'État, the Council of Ministers, Parliament, and so on... The Conseil d'État (and sometimes the Constitutional Council) has the duty to advise the government on projects of law.

Law proposalsEdit

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

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

Only 10% of laws that are passed are proposed by Members of Parliament. This is mainly because the government has several means to limit the power of Parliament: the Government fixes most of the agenda of both chambers, and the Government can, under certain conditions, prevent Parliament from modifying its texts.

The legislative initiative of Parliament has both good and bad points. The principal criticism is that lobbies could persuade Parliament to satisfy them before other citizens. On the other hand, legislative initiative is the best way for Parliament to defend itself against possible encroachments to its power.

Legislative initiative in the European UnionEdit

The European Commission has the sole power of legislative initiative whereas in many Parliamentary systems there is a mechanism whereby members of the parliament may introduce bills. This ranges from insignificant in the UK Parliament (see Private Members' Bills in the Parliament of the United Kingdom), to quite significant in the US Congress. In most parliaments, the ability of members to introduce legislation is severely limited in practice. Under the Treaty of Maastricht enhanced by the Lisbon Treaty, the European Parliament has an indirect right of legislative initiative that allows it to ask the Commission to submit a proposal, though to reject the request the Commission only needs to "inform the European Parliament of the reasons".[1][2][3][4] Member states also have an indirect right of legislative initiative concerning the Common Foreign and Security Policy. Over 80% of all proposals by the Commission were initially requested by other bodies.[5]

Some politicians, including Jean-Pierre Chevènement and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, feel that the Commission's monopoly on legislative initiative prevents the emergence or development of real democratic debate.[citation needed]

Further readingEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Article 225 TFEU
  2. ^ "Legislative powers". European Parliament. Retrieved 13 Feb 2019.
  3. ^ "Parliament's legislative initiative" (PDF). Library of the European Parliament. 24 Oct 2013. Retrieved 13 Feb 2019.
  4. ^ EU Parliament - Legislative initiative procedure
  5. ^ Nugent, N: The European Commission (2001), S.236

External linksEdit