Vol. 8, No. 2 (2009) 307–314
Presidential versus parliamentary systems
ILONA MÁRIA SZILÁGYI
Miklós Zrínyi National Defence University, Budapest, Hungary
This article is a comparison of presidential and parliamentary systems. They are the two most popular types of democratic governments. They have common and dissimilar features. In both presidential and parliamentary systems the chief executive can be removed from office by the legislature but the way of it is different. Dissimilar feature is the election of the chief executive and the debate styles. I present the two best examples of these systems: the USA (presidentialism) and the UK (parliamentary system). Consequently nations can choose which system they sympathise: the more classic parliamentary system or the less rigid presidential system, or the mixture of them. I do not want to stand by neither of them in my essay. I just want to show and compare them. Introduction A nation’s type of government refers to how that state’s executive, legislative, and judicial organs are organized. All nations need some sort of government to avoid anarchy. Democratic governments are those that permit the nation’s citizens to manage their government either directly or through elected representatives. This is opposed to authoritarian governments that limit or prohibit the direct participation of its citizens. Two of the most popular types of democratic governments are the presidential and parliamentary systems . First I write about presidential systems then parliamentary systems in general and in the USA and UK. After these I show the differences and the common features of the two systems, and give a conclusion. Presidential systems My aim is to show the presidential systems in general and after the American presidential system. I am going to write about the president in more details, his power and his limitations. There are presidential republics that have a full presidential system (e.g. the USA), semi-presidential system (e.g. South-Africa), and executive presidency (e.g. France) linked to a parliament .
Received: July 17, 2009 Address for correspondence: ILONA MÁRIA SZILÁGYI E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I. M. SZILÁGYI: Presidential versus parliamentary systems
The office of President characterizes the presidential system. The President is both the chief executive and the head of state. The President is elected independently of the legislature. The powers invested in the President are usually balanced against those vested in the legislature. In the American presidential system, the legislature must debate and pass various bills. The President has the power to veto the bill, preventing its adoption. However, the legislature may override the President’s veto if they can muster enough votes. The American President’s broadest powers rest in foreign affairs. The President has the right to deploy the military in most situations, but does not have the right to officially declare war. More recently the American President requested the right to approve treaties without the consent of the legislature. The American Congress denied this bill and was able to override the President’s veto . A presidential system is a system of government where an executive branch exists and presides (hence the name) separately from the legislature, to which it is not accountable and which cannot, in normal circumstances, dismiss it. It owes its origins to the medieval monarchies of France, England and Scotland where executive authority was vested in the Crown, not in meetings of the estates of the realm (i.e., parliament): the Estates-General of France, the Parliament of England or the Estates of Scotland. The concept of separate spheres of influence of the executive and legislature was copied in the Constitution of the United States, with the creation of the office of President of the United States. Perhaps ironically, in England and Scotland (since 1707 as the Kingdom of...