A parliament is defined as the supreme legislative body of a usually major political unit that is a continuing institution comprising a series of individual assemblages. The name is derived from the French “parler” which means “to talk, speak or discuss”. The term came to mean a formal conference at which a body of people meets to discuss public affairs, specifically. However, the practical meaning transformed from discussion to more of a decision-making facilitation and it acquired its modern meaning as it came to be used for the central institution through which the will of the people is expressed, laws are passed and government is held to account.
Since ancient times, there have been some forms of legislative assemblies or advisory councils all over the world. It is argued that in ancient Mesopotamia and India, there existed councils carrying features of primitive democratic government. Differing from the parliamentary system with its direct representation, the Athenian assembly was another institution where every citizen could take part in the discussions. The Roman republic had also a senate enacting new statues, controlling the details of foreign policy. Although there are some fundamental differences between the shura system and the parliamentary system, Islamic Shura can also be accepted as analogous to the parliament.
Online Electronic Version
The Parliaments of OIC Member Countries (English)