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
Electoral district

See: Constituency.

Electoral management body (EMB)

A body or bodies responsible for electoral management, usually impartial and independent from political influence. In some countries, national and local government institutions are trusted to handle the electoral process, while other countries establish an independent EMB. Different countries use various names for this kind of body, such as “electoral/election commission”, “electoral council”, “department of elections”, “election unit” and “electoral/election board”.


The branch of government that carries out or administers laws. The executive may also refer to the head of the government (President, Prime Minister, Head of State, etc.) and members of Cabinet and their staff, as well as the civil service, which implements policies and administers public programmes and resources through government departments and relevant offices. In a democratic system, the executive is held accountable by parliamentary oversight and checks and balances. In this publication, the terms “executive” and “government” are used interchangeably.