This Brief examines the impact of Covid-19 on systems of government, emergency response and opposition members in legislatures and their ability to maintain democratic principles. Drawing on insights from five countries as case studies, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Korea and Singapore, this Brief finds that emergency responses that restrict the capacity of the legislature erode the ability of opposition members to contribute. It also highlights that the role oppositions played during the pandemic varied based on the form of government—be it presidential or parliamentary.


Publication date
30 August 2022
Fiona Ryan and Cheryl Saunders
Number of pages
Constitution Transformation Network
978-91-7671-568-0 (PDF)




1. What is the usual role of an opposition in a legislature?

2. How did the pandemic affect the operation of legislatures?

3. What were the particular effects of the pandemic on the role and operation of the opposition in legislatures?

4. What effects, if any, did pending elections have on opposition activities?

5. What insights for future emergencies can be drawn from these experiences?

References and further reading

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The Role of the Legislative Opposition in Emergencies

Constitutional INSIGHTS No. 9
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