Difference Between Congress and Parliament

Difference Between Congress and Parliament

How much do you know about politics? Are you a well-versed person on the matter or rather a neophyte when it comes to these questions? Do you know what is the difference between congress and parliament?

At first glance you may feel tempted to answer: “there are no differences between congress and parliament, there are the same thing but with different names that vary from country to country”; and you are right… ish.

The truth is that there are differences between parliament and congress that go beyond simple politics. Both words can be related with other activities as well.

Nevertheless, the first and main difference between congress and parliament that we can state has to do with politics and it is that even they both represent the legislative branch of a government, the first one is independent from the president of the government, while the second one is dependent from the executive branch of a government. Keep reading this article as we go deeper on these two definitions, how they are similar and mostly how they are different.

Definition of Congress

Every democracy holds at least three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. In a legislative matter, democracy can be classified in many ways, one of them being the congressional democracy. This type of democracy is based on a legislative branch differentiated and separated from the executive branch.

What does this mean? The congress and the president are independent from each other. The congress is the main representation of the congressional democracy, and they are in charge to make, revise or eliminate laws in favor of the people.

Therefore, a simple definition of congress is: the legislative branch of a democratic government where the president and the congress are separated and independent from each other.

Congress representatives are called congressmen, they are chosen by the executive power, they cannot have an executive position, and they do not need any political party’s support to be in the run for the position.

Another definition of congress that is not so often mentioned is: the meeting, reunion, or gathering of people to discuss a subject by generating ideas, debates, and more. These meetings take place regularly (once a day, once a month, once a year) and they are normally related with politics, groups, culture, study and more.

Definition of Parliament

The parliament is defined as something very similar to the congress. It is also the legislative branch of democracy where it is used, but it differs from the congress in that it is not independent or separated from the executive branch of power.

What does this mean? The executive power is held accountable for any decision, law, statute or any other that the parliament makes. Also, the head of the nation, whether it is a prime minister, a president, or any other, is a parliamentary himself.

Just as in the congress, the parliament is in charge to write revise or change laws in favor of the majority of the people. They are also in charge to review the government’s actions to keep them working for the people.

The parliament has no influence on much of the national’s matters, nevertheless, they watch for the habitant’s rights and duties.

The people who hold positions in the parliament are referred as parliamentarians, they are chosen directly by people on free polls, and they hold their positions for times that varies from one country to another. The definition of parliament is used to refer to the parliamentarians and their work, but is is also used to refer to the physical space where the low and high chambers reunite.

Congress vs Parliament Comparison Table

As you can see, there are many ways to differentiate the parliament from the congress. But to review this matter point by point, let’s see some interesting comparison facts:

Basis of ComparisonCongressParliament
Branch of powerLegislativeLegislative
Dependence from the executive powerIndependentDependent
How are representatives electedBy the executive powerBy the masses
Power and influenceLot of power and influenceLesser power and influence
Can overrule executive laws and ordersYesNo

Conclusion of the Main Difference Between Congress vs Parliament

Who do you think is the winner in the congress vs. parliament battle? Which democratic regime is better?

Even though they are both in charge of laws and anything concerning to them, one is independent from the president, and the other one is not.

These systems hold differences, and they both hold pros and cons. The congress is independent from the executive power, so this can mean they will be objective at the time to make decisions. But it can also mean they can delay some of the president’s orders, making processes longer and harder.

On the other hand, the parliament is dependent from the executive. This means they can work together easier to make laws, statutes and other to help the people. But it could also give the president a green light to do his will with no one to stop him.