Posted by / Monday 21 November 2016 / No comments

The limitations of Supremacy of Parliament

Though parliament is credited with an enormous amount of power, leading to the belief that parliament can do anything except to change a woman into a man or the other way round. However, this does not seem to be the case in reality.

Periodic elections
One of the limitations to the Supremacy of Parliament is periodic elections. It does not matter how long the parliament is mandated by law to exist. At some point, the law allows that there should be elections to renew the mandate of the parliamentarians, some of whom may lose their seat.

Power of the Prime Minister
Another limitation to the Supremacy of Parliament is the power of the Prime Minister to dissolve parliament. This can happen before the end of the lawful term of parliament. When this happens, there has to be a new election and the face of the parliament may not be the same as the previous one.

Public Opinion
Another limitation is the existence of public opinion. The public can bring pressure to bear on the parliament to pass or not to pass certain laws. In Ghana, public pressure forced government to withdraw the Value Added Tax and parliament had to reduce the percentage point before it was reintroduced.

Membership of International Organizations
The membership of countries to other international organizations can serve as a limitation to the powers of parliament. For example, before Britain voted to leave the European Union, any law passed by the British parliament that conflicts with a law passed by the European parliament becomes subservient to the European Union law.

Constitutional checks
In countries that have written constitutions, the constitution specifically puts a limit on the powers of the parliament. In Ghana, the constitution stipulates that parliament cannot pass any law with retrospective effect. This being so, the parliament cannot be said to be supreme or sovereign.

Procedural limitations
Parliament is a well regulated institution where procedures must be followed to the letter in the carrying out of their functions. The fact that these parliamentary procedures cannot be sidetracked without consequences, one can say it serves as a limitation to its supremacy.

1. Explain six limitations on the powers of the legislature. 

Also read the concept of Supremacy of Parliament

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