Speaker (politics)

Marshal's chair in the Sejm, lower chamber of the Polish Parliament

The speaker of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body, is its presiding officer (chair). The title was first used in 1377 in England.


The speaker's official role is to moderate debate, make rulings on procedure, announce the results of votes, and the like. The speaker decides who may speak and has the powers to discipline members who break the procedures of the chamber or house.[1] The speaker often also represents the body in person, as the voice of the body in ceremonial and some other situations. The title was first recorded in 1377 to describe the role of Thomas de Hungerford in the Parliament of England.[2][3]

By convention, speakers are normally addressed in Parliament as 'Mister Speaker', if a man, or 'Madam Speaker', if a woman. In other cultures other styles are used, mainly being equivalents of English "chairman" or "president". Many bodies also have a speaker pro tempore (or deputy speaker), designated to fill in when the speaker is not available.


The Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives is the presiding officer of the Australian House of Representatives, the lower house of the Parliament of Australia. The President of the Australian Senate is the presiding officer of the Australian Senate, the upper house of the Parliament of Australia.


Italian parliamentarism is centered on the Presidents of the two Houses, vested in defense of the members and of the assembly as a whole;[4] so "the Speaker invites the representative of the Government not to deviate from the rules of parliamentary behavior".[5] Now constitutional community highlights changes also in this role.[6]


In Canada, the Speaker of the House of Commons is the individual elected to preside over the House of Commons, the elected lower house. The speaker is a Member of Parliament (MP) and is elected at the beginning of each new parliament by fellow MPs. The Speaker's role in presiding over Canada's House of Commons is similar to that of speakers elsewhere in other countries that use the Westminster system. The Speaker does not vote except in the case of a tie. By convention, if required to vote, the Speaker will vote in favour of continuing debate on a matter, but will not ultimately vote for a measure to be approved.

The Speaker of the Senate of Canada is the presiding officer of the Senate of Canada, the appointed upper house. The Speaker represents the Senate at official functions, rules on questions of parliamentary procedure and parliamentary privilege, and presides over debates and voting in the "Red Chamber". The Speaker of the Senate is appointed by the Governor General of Canada from amongst sitting senators upon the advice of the Prime Minister. The Speaker has a vote on all matters. In the event of a tie, the matter fails.

At the provincial level, the presiding officer of the provincial legislatures is called the "Speaker" in all provinces except Quebec, where the term "President" is used. The presiding officer fulfills the same role as the Speaker of the House of Commons.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the Speaker of the House of Commons is the individual elected to preside over the elected House of Commons. The speaker is a Member of Parliament (MP) and is elected at the beginning of each new parliament by fellow MPs.

The Lord Speaker is the presiding officer of the House of Lords. The commonly used "Speaker of the House of Lords" is not correct. The presiding officer of the House of Lords was until recently the Lord Chancellor, who was also a member of the government (a cabinet member) and the head of the judicial branch. The Lord Chancellor did not have the same authority to discipline members of the Lords that the speaker of the Commons has in that house. The Lord Speaker is elected by the members of the House of Lords and is expected to be politically impartial.

United States


The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives presides over the lower house of Congress, the House of Representatives. This post is second in line to the presidency—after the vice president—and is therefore the third highest-ranking national office overall. In practice, this post is the highest-ranking in Congress, because the president of the US Senate is the vice president, who has his/her office, and predominant responsibilities, at the White House, and therefore does not have a day-to-day presence at the Congress.


In the forty-nine states that have a bicameral legislature, the highest position in the lower house is usually called the "speaker". In Nebraska—the only state with a unicameral legislature—the senators elect one senator to serve as "Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature". In Tennessee, the senators elect a "Speaker of the Senate" who presides over the Tennessee Senate and serves as lieutenant governor.

Similar posts

Palace of the Croatian parliament

The presiding officer for an upper house of a bicameral legislature usually has a different title, although substantially the same duties.

When the upper house is called a senate, the equivalent title is often President of the Senate. Australia, Chile, the United States and many other countries have upper houses with presiding officers titled "president". In several American republics, the vice president of the country serves as the president of the upper house.

This pattern is not universal, however. Some upper houses, including those of Canada, have a speaker.

The Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, and Presiding Officer of the Northern Ireland Assembly fulfill the same role as the speaker.

List of current speakers

Country Legislature (or legislative chamber) Title Incumbent
Albania Parliament of Albania Speaker Ilir Meta
Armenia National Assembly of Armenia Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan
Australia Australian House of Representatives Speaker Tony Smith
Austria National Council President of the National Council Doris Bures
Bangladesh Jatiyo Sangsad Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury[7]
 »Parliament of Belgium Chamber of Representatives of Belgium President (Voorzitter/Président/Präsident) Siegfried Bracke (N-VA)
 »Parliament of Belgium Senate of Belgium President (Voorzitter/Président/Präsident) Christine Defraigne (MR)
 »Brussels-Capital Region Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region President (Président/Voorzitter) Charles Piqué (PS)
 »Flanders (Community and Region) Flemish Parliament President (Voorzitter) Jan Peumans (N-VA)
 »French Community Parliament of the French Community President (Président) Philippe Courard (PS)
 »German-speaking Community Parliament of the German-speaking Community President (Präsident) Karl-Heinz Lambertz (SP)
 »Walloon Region Walloon Parliament President (Président/Präsident) Maxime Prévot (cdH)
Botswana National Assembly of Botswana Speaker Gladys Kokorwe
Bulgaria National Assembly of Bulgaria Chairperson Mihail Mikov
Cambodia National Assembly of Cambodia President Heng Samrin
 »Parliament of Canada Senate of Canada Speaker (Président) George Furey
 »Parliament of Canada House of Commons of Canada Speaker (Président) Geoff Regan
 »National People's Congress Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang
 »Hong Kong Legislative Council of Hong Kong President Andrew Leung
 »Macau Legislative Assembly of Macau President (presidente) Ho Iat Seng
Croatia Croatian Parliament (Sabor) President Željko Reiner
Czech Republic Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic Chairman Jan Hamáček
Denmark Parliament of Denmark (Folketinget) Speaker Pia Kjærsgaard
 » Faroe Islands Parliament of the Faroe Islands (Løgtingið) Speaker Páll á Reynatúgvu
 » Greenland Parliament of Greenland (Inatsisartut) Speaker Lars Emil Johansen
Egypt House of Representatives (Egypt) Speaker Ali Abdel Aal
Estonia Riigikogu Speaker Eiki Nestor
Finland Parliament of Finland (eduskunta/riksdagen) Speaker Maria Lohela
France National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) President Claude Bartolone
Ghana Parliament of Ghana Speaker Mrs. Justice Joyce Adeline Bamford-Addo
Germany Bundestag President of the Bundestag (Bundestagspräsident) Norbert Lammert
Greece Vouli President Nikos Voutsis
Hungary National Assembly of Hungary (Magyar Köztársaság Országgyűlése) President (elnöke) László Kövér
Iceland Parliament of Iceland Speaker Einar K. Guðfinnsson
India Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan
Indonesia People's Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat) Chairman Ade Komaruddin
Ireland Dáil Éireann Head of the Council (Ceann Comhairle) Seán Ó Fearghaíl
Iran Majlis of Iran Speaker/Chairman [رئیس] Ali Larijani
Israel Knesset Chairman Yuli-Yoel Edelstein
Italy Italian Chamber of Deputies President Laura Boldrini
 »National Diet House of Representatives Speaker Tadamori Oshima
 »National Diet House of Councillors Speaker Chuichi Date
Kenya Parliament of Kenya Speaker Kenneth Marende
Kosovo Assembly of Kosovo Chairman Jakup Krasniqi
Latvia Saeima Speaker Ināra Mūrniece
Lebanon Parliament of Lebanon Speaker Nabih Berri
Liechtenstein Landtag of Liechtenstein President Albert Frick
Lithuania Seimas Speaker Loreta Graužinienė
Libya Council of Deputies President Aguila Saleh Issa
Macedonia Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia Speaker Trajko Veljanovski
Malaysia House of Representatives of Malaysia (Dewan Rakyat) Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia
Malta House of Representatives of Malta Speaker Angelo Farrugia
Mexico Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados) President Ruth Zavaleta Salgado
Moldova Parliament President Marian Lupu
Montenegro Assembly of Montenegro President Ranko Krivokapić
Nepal Parliament of Nepal Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar
Netherlands House of Representatives of the Netherlands Speaker Khadija Arib
New Zealand House of Representatives Speaker David Carter
Nigeria National Assembly of Nigeria Speaker Aminu Tambuwal
Norway Stortinget President of the Storting (Stortingspresident) Olemic Thommessen
North Korea Supreme People's Assembly Chairman of the Presidium Kim Yong-nam
Pakistan National Assembly of Pakistan Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq
Paraguay Chamber of Senators of Paraguay President Mario Abdo Benítez
Philippines House of Representatives of the Philippines Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez
Poland Sejm of the Republic of Poland Marshal Radosław Sikorski
Portugal Assembly of the Republic President Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues
Romania Chamber of Deputies of Romania President Valeriu Zgonea
Russia State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin
Serbia National Assembly of Serbia President Maja Gojković
Singapore Parliament of Singapore Speaker Halimah Yacob
Slovakia National Council of the Slovak Republic Speaker Andrej Danko
Solomon Islands National Parliament of Solomon Islands Speaker Sir Peter Kenilorea
South Africa National Assembly of South Africa Speaker Baleka Mbete
South Korea National Assembly of South Korea Speaker Chung Sye-kyun
South Sudan National Legislative Assembly of South Sudan Speaker James Wani Igga
Spain Congress of Deputies (Congreso de los Diputados) President Ana Pastor
Sri Lanka Parliament of Sri Lanka Speaker Karu Jayasuriya
Suriname National Assembly of Suriname (De Nationale Assemblee) Chairman Jennifer Simons
Sweden Riksdag Speaker Urban Ahlin
Switzerland National Council President Stéphane Rossini
Taiwan Legislative Yuan President Su Jia-chyuan
Thailand House of Representatives of Thailand President Somsak Kiatsuranont
Ukraine Verkhovna Rada Chairman Oleksandr Turchynov
United Kingdom
 »Parliament of the United Kingdom House of Lords of the United Kingdom Lord Speaker Norman Fowler
 »Parliament of the United Kingdom House of Commons of the United Kingdom Speaker John Bercow
 » Isle of Man House of Keys Speaker Steve Rodan
 » Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Assembly Speaker Mitchel McLaughlin
 » Scotland Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh
 » Wales National Assembly for Wales Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler
United States United States House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan
Uruguay Chamber of Deputies of Uruguay President Ivonne Passada
Vanuatu Parliament of Vanuatu Speaker George Andre Wells[8]
Venezuela National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup
Vietnam National Assembly of Vietnam Chairman Nguyễn Sinh Hùng
Zimbabwe House of Assembly of Zimbabwe Speaker Jacob Mudenda

See also



  1. As in case of disorders in the floor: Italian traditions knew cases of extreme contestation, not much different from tumults stigmatized in Ukrainian parliaments, Taiwanese and South Korean: Buonomo, Giampiero (2014). "I tre giorni della supercazzola". L’Ago e il filo edizione online.   via Questia (subscription required)
  2. Journal of the House of Commons: January 1559; 1559; accessed August 2015
  3. Lee Vol 28, pp. 257,258.
  4. Mancini and Galeotti believed that "in the enclosure of the House the exercise of presidential power should not be limits or obstacles whatsoever" (Mancini-Galeotti, Norme ed usi del Parlamento italiano, Roma, 1887, pag. 97).
  5. (Spanish) Sanciones disciplinarias y policía interna en el ordenamiento parlamentario italiano ‘’AA.VV., Derecho parlamentario sancionador’’, Eusko Legebiltazarra, Parlamento Vasco ed., 2005p. 236-271
  6. F. Bilancia, L’imparzialità perduta (a proposito dei Presidenti di Assemblea parlamentare), in Aa.Vv., Studi in onore di Gianni Ferrara, vol. I, Giappichelli, Torino 2005, pp. 311 ss..
  7. "Shirin to become first woman Speaker". bdnews24.com. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  8. "01 September confirmed as date for Vanuatu Presidential Election". Islands Business. 2009-09-02. Retrieved 2009-08-20.

Further reading

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