Dissolution of Parliament

International IDEA Constitution-Building Primer 16
This publication is only available in electronic format
30 May 2016
978-91-7671-121-7 (Print)
Elliot W. Bulmer

The power of dissolution is the power to end the term of office of a parliament (or other legislative body) so as to cause new elections to take place. Parliaments are compulsorily dissolved at the end of their term of office. In many countries, a premature dissolution, before the scheduled end of Parliament’s term, is also possible in certain situations.

International IDEA’s Constitution-Building Primers are designed to assist in-country constitution-building or constitutional-reform processes by helping citizens, political parties, civil society organizations, public officials and members of constituent assemblies make wise constitutional choices. They also provide guidance for staff of intergovernmental organizations and other external actors working to provide well informed, context-relevant support to local decision-makers.

Each Primer is written as an introduction for non-specialist readers, and as a convenient aide-memoire for those with prior knowledge of, or experience with, constitution-building. Arranged thematically around the practical choices faced by constitution-builders, the Primers aim to explain complex constitutional issues in a quick and easy way.

This revised and reformatted edition was published in October 2017.


1. Introduction

2. Content and scope

3. What is the issue?

4. Basic design options

5. Additional design options

6. Contextual considerations

7. Decision-making questions

8. Examples