Bicameralism in Senegal

Senegal has eliminated it’s Senate. While we’ve gone back and forth on the merits of bicameralism many times here in GD what interested me was the manner in which this was accomplished. The National Assembly passed the law to abolish the Senate but the Senate did not. The bill was then approved on a joint ballot of the 150 members of the Assembly and 100 members of the Senate. The joint ballot is an interesting mechanism. It allows the benefit of having a 2nd legislative chamber, more consideration of measures, while limiting obstructionism in cases where measures are popular in the larger legislative body. Of course, given the current disparity in the size of the houses of Congress here at home a joint ballot would tilt the balance of power toward the lower house far more than it did in Senegal.

Interesting. Do you have any information on why they went about this? Perhaps some links? I don’t know much about Senegal other than where it is on a map.

Supposedly it was done to save money. But the Senate was filled with members of the opposition party so there was political motivation. Apparently nearly all of the Senators were supporters of the former president and the institution had a reputation for corruption.

The ‘joint session’ is used in Australia as well, although only once in history I believe.

Ah yes, 1974: Link

The joint session allows members of both Houses to engage directly, but as the Lower House is numerically larger it means the advantage is with the Lower House at all times.

Again we are looking at less of a disparity than we have here in America at the federal level. Australia had 127 members of the lower house compared to 60 from the upper. In our Congress the 435 Representatives can swamp the 100 Senators. The House Majority having at least a 50 seat majority is pretty common.

Are we talking about having Congress vote jointly, or disbanding the Senate?


To the person who’d like more info on senegal, I put together a little video of selected clips from the two years living there.

The jumbler

Hey, look! Another thread I killed.