I've been trying to read up on comparative politics and noticed that laws once passed in the United States system by and large tend to stay passed for decades or longer and are only overwritten in large part with a significant legislative consensus. (This obviously doesn't count smaller changes which happen in every session especially with the tax code.)

My question is that in parliamentary systems, especially the United Kingdom and Commonwealth nations, did a party change or new majority (coalition or outright) after an election regularly signal any significant repeals of the outgoing rival party's legislation? Did this ever result in "repeal wars" where legislation on a given topic would go back and forth between election results requiring reconciliation or judiciary intervention?

  • Hmmmm... Good question. I am pretty sure this doesn't happen but I cannot find any good sources as to why so I won't be posting this as an answer. I would assume that a large way a partisan shift would manifest itself is in the first national budget issued after an election. By increasing/lowering tax rates and increasing/lowing the amount of money that go to particular government agencies you can have quite a large effect on the country in question. Also, a lot of bills, even large, important bills, are largely amendments to previous regulatory frameworks. So, you don't need to... Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 1:41
  • (cont) completely repeal a regulatory framework to change it drastically. You can just make a lot of amendments to it. But really, I am not horribly confident in the legislative process in parliamentary systems to say exactly why this wouldn't occur but I think the use of the budget as a partisan tool and amendments to previous regulatory frameworks would be the most popular ways to push partisan goals. Can't be 100% sure on that though. Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 1:43
  • Does the (so far unsuccessful) try of the current US administration and Republican party to repeal Obamacare count? Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 8:34
  • @Trilarion no, that's just one law and they aren't successful so far Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 9:37
  • @JonathanReez They have been kind of successful. Coverage will likely drop this year due to uncertainty and executive actions. But I agree that it's not a clear repeal case currently. On the other, even if it is only one law it should count if it were a clear case because the question asks for existence of something, so a single existing case answers it. Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 11:31

1 Answer 1


This absolutely happens in the United States. The current Congress has been doing it through a parliamentary process known as "Reconciliation" which allows the political party in power to pass bills to reverse the previous Congress' laws without any votes from the minority party.


  • This answer would benefit from cited references. The question was, has it happened, and a plain "yes" is not sufficient. Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 1:52

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