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Encyclopedia > Speaker of the House of Commons

The term Speaker is usually the title given to the presiding officer of a country's lower house of parliament or congress (ie: the House of Commons or House of Representatives).

In most cases a speaker is elected from amongst the members of the assembly by the members, and no whips are allowed in the selection. Nonetheless, a speaker from the ruling party is usually chosen.

In many nations, especially those with the Westminster System of government, the position of Speaker, modelled after the British office, is an official charged with enforcing procedural rules. The speaker decides who may speak and has the powers to discipline members who break the procedures of the house. Ideally, the speaker in a Westminster-derived legislature is political neutral and is not concerned with substantive issues. The only exception to this rule is when there is a tie-vote in the legislature. In this case, it is legitimate for the Speaker to vote along partisan lines.

Despite being an impartial position, the Speaker in a Westminster system has to stand for re-election if they wish to stay. In the Republic of Ireland the Speaker is deemed to have been elected if they seek re-election; in the United Kingdom it is a constitutional convention that no major party will put up a candidate against the 'Speaker seeking re-election'.

Often the speaker performs his duties in a non-partisan manner, but in the United States, the Speaker is the most powerful position in the United States House of Representatives and participates in legislating.

Some nations have a ceremonial president of their lower house of parliament instead of a speaker. It is very rare for an upper house to have a speaker; though see also Lord Chancellor.

See also

  Results from FactBites:
British House of Commons - definition of British House of Commons in Encyclopedia (6351 words)
The House of Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 659 members, who are known as "Members of Parliament" or "MPs." Members are elected for limited terms, holding office until Parliament is dissolved (a maximum of five years).
Moreover, the Government of the United Kingdom is answerable to the House of Commons; the Prime Minister stays in office only as long as he or she retains the support of the Lower House.
The rule that precludes certain Crown officers from serving in the House of Commons is used to circumvent a resolution adopted by the House of Commons in 1623, under which Members are not permitted to resign their seats.
Father of the House - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (560 words)
In the House of Commons, the most important duty of the Father of the House is to preside over the election of a new Speaker, should that office be vacant at the beginning of a Parliament.
The current Father of the House of Commons is Alan Williams, Labour MP for Swansea West.
In Canada, the longest-serving member of the House of Commons (who is not a cabinet minister) is known as the Dean of the House.
  More results at FactBites »



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