Legislatures lie at the foundation of democratic politics, the words used to name them refl ecting their original purpose: assemblies gather, congresses congregate, diets meet, dumas deliberate, legislatures pass laws, and parliaments talk. Even if they do not always attract as much public attention as executives, they are the institutions of government that are closest to the citizens, since they are typically directly elected and are usually responsible for representing individual districts, rather than – as is the case with executives – the entire country. They also carry out multiple tasks that are essential to government, including the approval of legislation, the authorization of expenditure, the making of governments, deliberating over matters of public importance, and oversight of the executive.
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