Every country in the world has some form of parliament. Parliamentary systems fall into two categories: bicameral and unicameral. Out of 193 countries in the world, 79 are bicameral and 113 are unicameral, making a total of 272 chambers of parliament with over 46,000 members of parliament. IPU membership is made up of 179 national parliaments. Discover the world's national
The IPU has been collecting data on parliaments since its inception in 1889, including information on women’s participation in politics since 1945. In this section, discover the IPU's knowledge bank for and about parliaments.
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the South African parliament was quick to adopt digital innovations to ensure continuity of parliamentary functions. Parliamentary meetings were held entirely virtually or in a hybrid format. Several parliamentary rooms are currently being equipped to meet the needs for holding hybrid committee, National Council of Provinces and National Assembly meetings.
In an effort to strengthen public participation, the multiplatform messaging application WhatsApp is being utilized for public deliberation and citizens’ feedback on bills. Citizens can submit proposals on parliament’s lawmaking and other processes through the popular messenger app.
Other digital innovations adopted in South Africa include a state-of-the-art studio which enables MPs to communicate directly on legislative issues in real time or making use of public broadcasting services to educate about parliamentary activity, such the South African parliament’s iono.fm stream here.