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    HOME -> PARLINE -> FAQ  

PARLINE database   About PARLINE:
  Frequently Asked Questions

red cubeWhat is PARLINE?
red cubeWhat is PARLINE useful for?
red cubeWhat is the difference between simple, advanced and free-text search modes in PARLINE?
red cubeWhat are the regional and sub-regional groupings used in PARLINE?
red cubeWhy are some countries not in PARLINE?
red cubeWhere does the data in PARLINE come from?
red cubeHow often is PARLINE updated?
red cubeIs it possible to export data from PARLINE?
red cubeIs it possible to compare data from two or more countries?
red cubeI have spotted an error. Who should I tell?

What is PARLINE?

PARLINE is the IPU's database on national parliaments. It contains authoritative information on the structure and working methods of every national parliament.

The name "PARLINE" is derived from PARliaments onLINE.

The basic unit in PARLINE is the parliamentary chamber. Each parliamentary chamber has a separate entry in PARLINE. For each chamber, there are up to 8 information modules:

  • General Information includes details of the official name of the parliament, senior parliamentary figures, the number of members and contact details for the parliament. It also shows if the parliament is, or has been, a member of the IPU.

  • Electoral System describes the number of constituencies, the type of voting system and the requirements for candidates and voters.

  • Last Elections provides a background report on the context of the most recent parliamentary elections, as well as detailed statistics and election results.

  • Election Archives gives access to election summaries and statistics for all parliamentary elections since 1967.

  • Presidency of the Parliament describes how the Speaker is elected, and gives details of their status and functions within parliament.

  • Parliamentary Mandate is a source of detailed information on the mandate of individual members of parliament, including when the mandate begins and ends, members' salaries and allowances and codes of conduct. It also provides information on parliamentary immunity.

  • Parliamentary Oversight provides a wide range of information on the ways in which parliament oversees the actions of the executive and government's accountability to parliament.

  • Specialized Bodies gives details of the mandate, membership and working methods of parliamentary committees in specific areas such as gender, human rights and international trade.
All information can be accessed through the main PARLINE Search page. Select a country and chamber to go directly to the information for that chamber. Select a module to obtain comparative data across different chambers. Select a region to access information on countries and chambers in a particular geographic region.
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What is PARLINE useful for?

PARLINE can be used in to access comparative information on parliaments many ways:

  • Answer a wide range of questions, such as:

    • Which parliaments have a bicameral structure?
    • How many parliaments have legislative terms of more than four years?
    • How is the Speaker of parliament elected in Latin American countries?
    • Which parliaments have special human rights committees?
    • Which African countries have held parliamentary elections this year?
    • Under what conditions can parliamentarians in Canada lose their parliamentary mandate?

  • Access election results for parliamentary elections worldwide through the Recent elections page.

  • Compare data from selected fields for selected chambers in the Modules section.

  • Generate graphs and view detailed statistics in the At a glance section.

  • Export datasets and parliamentary mailing lists using the Toolbox.

  • Track changes to key features of parliaments with the RSS News feeds.
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What is the difference between simple, advanced and free-text search modes in PARLINE?

  • Simple search is the quickest way to access data about the parliament of a given country. It can also be used to search for all countries belonging to a region or sub-region.

  • To narrow down the search query to parliamentary chambers matching more complex search criteria or to display only specific database fields, it is necessary to use the Advanced search interface. A special page provides explanations and examples of how to use this interface.

  • Free-text search uses an alternative search method (text indexing as opposed to SQL) and is useful in searching for all database documents containing a given word or phrase. The focus of the search can be expanded using standard free-text query rules.
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What are the regional and sub-regional groupings used in PARLINE?

A list of geographic groupings can be consulted on this site. The regional and sub-regional groupings of countries are based on the List of geographical terms and codes used in the HURIDOCS thesaurus of Bibliographic Standard Formats, slightly modified for practical reasons.

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Why are some countries not in PARLINE?

PARLINE contains information about the parliament in all countries where a national legislature exists.

Parliaments that are no longer functioning, for example in countries where parliament has been dissolved or suspended for an indefinite period, are removed from PARLINE.

The following parliaments are consequently not included in PARLINE at the current time. The most recent information before the parliament's suspension or dissolution can still be consulted.

  • No such cases at present
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Where does the data in PARLINE come from?

The primary source of data is parliaments themselves. Every IPU member parliament has a correspondent who is responsible for providing information on changes and updates to the IPU Secretariat. Additional information is gathered from other sources, including national electoral commissions and the media, and is regularly cross-checked with parliament.

The Presidency of the Parliament, Parliamentary Mandate, Parliamentary Oversight and Specialized Bodies modules are based on data collected in surveys carried out by IPU in recent years. There are some data gaps for these modules when no information was received from the parliament. We are working to complete any such gaps.

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How often is PARLINE updated?

The frequency of updates varies according to the module. The General Information module is updated daily. Electoral System and Last Elections are updated each time parliamentary elections are held. The other modules are reviewed at periodic intervals.

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Is it possible to export data from PARLINE?

Selected fields can be exported through the Modules, At a Glance and Toolbox pages. The How to ... section describes how to use these tools.

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Is it possible to compare data from two or more countries?

Use the Modules pages to view and export data for selected fields and selected countries. In this way, it is possible to compare various aspects of the different parliamentary systems.

The Advanced search allows users to build complex search queries based on a range of criteria such as region, affiliation to the IPU, the number of women parliamentarians etc. The Advanced search tips page gives explanations and examples of ways to use these search criteria.

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I have spotted an error. Who should I tell?

All users are invited to provide feedback, point out mistakes, make suggestions or ask questions about the PARLINE database by using the questions and comments form.

Important note for correspondents in national parliaments: Should information concerning your parliament be incorrect, require updating or be missing altogether from the PARLINE database, please contact the IPU Secretariat at .

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