A parliament is a legislature whose power and function are similar to those dictated by the Westminster system of the United Kingdom. More generally, "parliament" may simply refer to a democratic government's legislature. The term is derived from the French parlement, the action of parler (to speak): a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which such a discussion took place. It acquired its modern meaning as it came to be used for the body of people (in an institutional sense) who would meet to discuss matters of state.
Generally, a parliament has three functions: representation, legislation and parliamentary control (i.e., hearings, inquiries).
Famous quotes containing the word parliament:
“He felt that it would be dull times in Dublin, when they should have no usurping government to abuse, no Saxon Parliament to upbraid, no English laws to ridicule, and no Established Church to curse.”
—Anthony Trollope (18151882)
“A Parliament is that to the Commonwealth which the soul is to the body.... It behoves us therefore to keep the facility of that soul from distemper.”
—John Pym (15841643)
“At the ramparts on the cliff near the old Parliament House I counted twenty-four thirty-two-pounders in a row, pointed over the harbor, with their balls piled pyramid-wise between them,there are said to be in all about one hundred and eighty guns mounted at Quebec,all which were faithfully kept dusted by officials, in accordance with the motto, In time of peace prepare for war; but I saw no preparations for peace: she was plainly an uninvited guest.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)