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A legislator, or lawmaker, is a person who writes and passes laws, especially someone who is a member of a legislature. Legislators are often elected by the people, but they can be appointed, or hereditary. Legislatures may be supra-national (for example, the European Parliament), national (for example, the Japanese Diet), sub-national, such as provinces, or local (for example, local governments).


The political theory of the separation of powers requires legislators to be independent individuals from the members of the executive and the judiciary. Certain political systems adhere to this principle, others do not. In the United Kingdom and other countries using the Westminster system, for example, the executive is formed almost exclusively from legislators (members of the parliament), and the executive Cabinet itself has delegated legislative power.

In continental European jurisprudence and legal discussion, "the legislator" (le législateur) is the abstract entity that has produced the laws. When there is room for interpretation, the intent of the legislator will be questioned, and the court is directed to rule in the direction it judges to best fit the legislative intent, which can be difficult in the case of conflicting laws or constitutional provisions.


The local term for a legislator is usually a derivation of the local term for the relevant legislature. Typical examples include

By country[edit]

This is an incomplete list of terms for a national legislator:

Country Title Legislature
 Algeria نواب (Député) People's National Assembly
 Argentina Diputado Nacional Chamber of Deputies
Senador Senate
Diputado provincial Several provincial Chambers of Deputies
 Belarus Дэпутат (deputat) House of Representatives
 Belgium Provincial executive member: Gedeputeerde (Dutch) / Député (French) / Deputierter (German) Deputation / Provincial College (provincial executive body)
In French, député is sometimes also used to denote a member of parliament. Chamber of Representatives or a regional parliament
 Bolivia Diputado/Diputada Chamber of Deputies
 Brazil Deputado estadual/distrital Legislative Assemblies
Deputado federal Chamber of Deputies
Senador Federal Senate
 Bulgaria Депутат (Deputat) National Assembly
 Canada Senator,[1] Sénateur Senate of Canada
Member of Parliament (MP)[2] / Député House of Commons of Canada
 Chile Diputado/Diputada Chamber of Deputies
Senador/Senadora Senate
 China Deputy (人大代表) National People's Congress
 Colombia Diputado/Diputada Departamental Assemblies
 Costa Rica Diputado/Diputada Legislative Assembly
 Denmark Folketingsmedlem Folketinget
 Dominican Republic Diputado/Diputada Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic
 Ecuador Asambleísta (before 2007, diputado) National Assembly
 El Salvador Diputado/Diputada Legislative Assembly
 France Député/Députée National Assembly
Sénateur/Sénatrice Senate
 Germany Gesetzgeber Bundestag
 Guatemala Diputado/Diputada Congress of the Republic
 Guernsey People's Deputy States of Guernsey
 Haiti Député[3] Chamber of Deputies
 Honduras Diputado/Diputada National Congress
 India Member of Parliament Lok Sabha
 Iran مجلس شورای اسلامی Islamic Consultative Assembly
 Ireland Senators / Seanadóirí Seanad Éireann
Teachta Dála (TD) Dáil Éireann
 Italy Deputato Chamber of Deputies
 Jersey Deputy States Assembly
 Kazakhstan Депутат (deputat) Mäjilis
 Latvia Deputāts Saeima
 Lebanon Député/النواب (Nuwwab, or deputy) Parliament
 Luxembourg Deputéierten / Député Chamber of Deputies
 Mexico Diputado/Diputada Chamber of Deputies
 Netherlands Gedeputeerde Provincial executive (European Netherlands)
Eilandgedeputeerde Bestuurscollege (Caribbean Netherlands)
 Nicaragua Diputado/Diputada National Assembly
 North Korea Deputy (대의원; taeŭiwŏn)[4][5] Supreme People's Assembly
 Panama Diputado/Diputada National Assembly
 Paraguay Diputado/Diputada Chamber of Deputies
 Portugal Deputado Assembly of the Republic
 Romania Deputat Chamber of Deputies
 Russia Депутат (deputat) State Duma and regional legislative bodies
 Somalia Deputy Federal Parliament
 Spain Diputado/Diputada Congress of Deputies
 Thailand Senator (วุฒิสมาชิก; ส.ว.) Senate
Member of the H.R. (สมาชิกสภาผู้แทนราษฎร; ส.ส.) House of Representatives
 Ukraine People's Deputy of Ukraine (Депутат) Verkhovna Rada
 United Kingdom Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal House of Lords
Member of Parliament (MP) House of Commons
 United States of America Senator Senate
Representative; Congressperson House of Representatives
 Uruguay Diputado/Diputada Chamber of Representatives
 Venezuela Diputado/Diputada National Assembly
 Vietnam Đại biểu Quốc hội National Assembly

Substitute legislator[edit]

Some legislatures provide each legislator with an official "substitute legislator" who deputises for the legislator in the legislature if the elected representative is unavailable. Venezuela, for example, provides for substitute legislators (diputado suplente) to be elected under Article 186 of its 1999 constitution.[6] Ecuador, Panama, and the U.S. state of Idaho also have substitute legislators.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Senators. Parliament of Canada.
  2. ^ "Guide to the Canadian House of Commons: The Role of a Member of Parliament. Parliament of Canada.
  3. ^ "Chambre des députés". Le Parlement haitien. Archived from the original on Aug 31, 2018.
  4. ^ "Socialist Constitution". Chapter IV, Section 1, Article 89. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  5. ^ 사회주의헌법 (in Korean). 제6장, 제1절, 제89조. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  6. ^ "Asamblea Nacional Constituyente". Tribunal Supremo de Justicia. Archived from the original on 2014-04-17. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
  7. ^ Russell, Betsy (16 March 2014). "Idaho's substitute law unique". Spokesman Review. Retrieved 16 October 2022.

External links[edit]