Glossary of terms

This glossary provides definitions of the key terms used on this website and throughout the Indicators for Democratic Parliaments.

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Term Definition

A discussion in which the arguments for or against a subject are presented according to specific rules. In the parliamentary context, debate is a mechanism by which a chamber deliberates on matters under consideration and provides members with the opportunity to publicly register their support for, or rejection of, an idea based on the priorities of their constituency and/or party.

Decision maker

A person who has the authority to create or change communal, organizational or governmental policies, programmes or laws.

Delegated legislation

Secondary, subordinate or subsidiary legislation. Also, a process by which the executive authority is given powers by law to make secondary legislation in order to implement and administer the requirements of that law. Examples of delegated legislation might include regulations, standards, ordinances and other types of statutory instruments and by-laws. See also: By-law and Secondary legislation.

Deliberative democracy

A concept based on the principle that legitimate democracy arises from the public deliberation of citizens. Activities associated with this process might include citizens’ juries, town hall meetings, public debates and other citizens’ forums.


The belief in freedom and equality between people, or a system of government based on this belief, in which power is held either by elected representatives or directly by the people themselves. Also, a basic right of citizenship to be exercised under conditions of freedom, equality, transparency and responsibility, with due respect for the plurality of views, and in the interest of the polity.


The inclusion, in activities and decision-making, of people from various backgrounds of ethnicity, religion, age, gender and sexual orientation.

Draft law

See: Proposal for a law.