The Covid-19 pandemic has posed significant challenges to parliaments around the world. Faced with a trend of expansion of executive rule-making powers to deal with the pandemic, parliaments had to find ways of continuing to operate efficiently, while also dealing with the limits the pandemic imposed.

This dataset allows for a comparative analysis on the range of responses that parliaments took to dealing with the pandemic. It contains information on parliamentary suspensions, reductions, and the use of hybrid solutions in committees and debates.

The Author Guidance Code (AGC) asked authors to answer a range of questions in their country reports. In responding to the pandemic, parliaments took variations in their responses.

Photo by Lara Jameson

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Political System across Countries

Parliamentary systems make up 49% of the countries covered, 25% are Presidential, 21% Semi-presidential, and Communist systems account for the remaining 5%.

Parliamentary Suspension and Closure

Out of a selection of 49 LAC19 countries, legislatures were closed or suspended in 20 but not in 29.

(29 countries - 59%)
(20 countries - 41%)
Austria Romania Argentina Pakistan
Belgium Russia Canada Serbia
Brazil Singapore China South Africa
Chile South Korea Costa Rica Spain
Ethiopia Sweden France Turkey
Finland Taiwan Hong Kong United Kingdom
Germany Thailand Latvia Colombia
Indonesia United States Lebanon Cuba
Ireland Ghana Mexico Malaysia
Israel Hungary New Zealand Sri Lanka
Italy Peru
Jamaica The European Union
Netherlands Tunisia
Norway Venezuela

System Type and Parliamentary Closures

System type was not associated with the likelihood of Parliaments being closed.

Fourteen of the 23 (61%) parliaments remained open  in parliamentary systems, while 8 of the 12 (67%) remained open in presidential systems, and 6 out of 10 (60%) in semi-presidential systems. Notably, however, we observe that in both communist systems parliaments were suspended (China and Cuba).

Operation of Parliament during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Parliaments adopted virtual proceedings in chamber in 46% of the countries, and in committees in 67%.

However, a majority of countries (57%) saw a reduction in plenary debate, especially during the onset of the pandemic, while 61% saw a decline in committee proceedings.