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Speaker (politics)

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(Redirected from Speaker of the House)

The term Speaker is usually the title given to the presiding officer of a country's lower house of parliament or congress (i.e., the House of Commons or House of Representatives).

In most cases a speaker is elected from amongst the members of the assembly by the members, and no whips are allowed in the selection. Nonetheless, a speaker from the ruling party is usually chosen.

In many nations, especially those with the Westminster System of government, the position of Speaker, modelled after the British office, is an official charged with enforcing procedural rules. The speaker decides who may speak and has the powers to discipline members who break the procedures of the house. Ideally, the speaker in a Westminster-derived legislature is politically neutral and is not concerned with substantive issues. In the event of a tie, the speaker is permitted to vote, but only according to established conventions.

Despite being an impartial position, the Speaker in a Westminster system has to stand for re-election if they wish to stay. In the Republic of Ireland the Speaker (Ceann Comhairle) is deemed to have been elected if they seek re-election; in the United Kingdom it is a constitutional convention that no major party will put up a candidate against the 'Speaker seeking re-election'.

Often the speaker performs his duties in a non-partisan manner, but in the United States, the Speaker is the most powerful position in the United States House of Representatives and participates in legislating.

Some nations have a ceremonial president of their lower house of parliament instead of a speaker. It is very rare for an upper house to have a speaker. For example, the House of Lords in the United Kingdom has a Lord Chancellor and upper houses in Australia have presidents.

See also

sv:Talman

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