Comparative Politics

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1. Presidential systems combine the head of state and the head of government into the chief executive, the president. Parliamentary systems are distinguished by the executive branch (head of state) of government being dependent on the election by and support of the parliament. This dependency on the legislative body eliminates the separation between the executive and legislative bodies created with presidential systems. The focus of parlimentary systems is that the chief executive (prime minister, premier, etc.) is usually a member of the parliament. The prime minister appoints members to a cabinet as does a president. The dependency of support from the parliament allows an easier removal of the prime minister than the removal of a president. Parliament can oust a prime minister and his cabinet (government) with a vote of no-confidence. A president has a set time he/she will serve and is elected independently. The legislative body of a presidential system has no such capabilities to remove the president. The ease or cabinet removal by parlimentary systems causes instability in systems without a party majority in parliament. Presidential systems are more stable because of the inability of the legislature to oust the president.

France has a hybrid of the two, a semipresidential system with both an executive president and a premier. The president is elected directly by the people for a set amount of time, giving it some presidential system features. The president is responsible for appointing a premier but does not have authority to remove him/her. The premier selects his/her own cabinet and no approval of the parliament is needed. The National Assembly (legislative body) can however censure the premier forcing resignation. The president cannot veto legislation. De Gaulle defined the role of president as a "guide" and "arbiter" of the country. Cohabitation, as instituted by Premier Jacques Chirac and President Fracois Mitterrand,...
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