Congress is the name of the main legislative body in a state that operates under a congressional system of government.
A congress is different from a parliament in that legislative initiative is vested into it. In a congressional system the executive and legislative branches of government are clearly differentiated. The office as Head of State (president) and Head of Government (prime minister) are typically merged, and the members of cabinet are only rarely taken from the congress.
Countries with Congresses:
- The United States Congress is the legislature of the United States federal government
- The National People's Congress is the highest legislative body in the People's Republic of China
Congress is included in the name of several political parties:
- The Congress Party of India
- The African National Congress of South Africa
- The Malaysian Indian Congress of Malaysia
Congress has also been used to describe certain historical gatherings of independence-minded nationalists or revolutionaries:
Many parties also have a Party Congress which is held every few years to make decisions for the party and elected governing bodies. There are sometimes called political conventions.