What are the most important differences between Parliamentarism, Presidentialism and Semi-Presidentialism and what political implications follow from these differences?
In this essay, I will be identifying the underlying differences between the political systems of Parliamentarism, Presidentialism and Semi-Presidentialism. This will include identifying the different types of governments concerning majority and minority rule and the elections that are held in the three democratic systems above, accountability of the executive and legislator, and finally the separation of power between the executive and the legislator of a state. Moreover I will be examining the political implications these all hold for each of the three democratic states in countries such as the UK, US and France.
The Presidentialism political system is the separations of power between the executive and the legislature. The President acts as the Head of State, Congress creating laws and the Judicial courts interpreting law, all acting independently, this in turn means there is not a monopolisation of power. In comparison the Parliamentarism system creates the legislature as the law maker with the Prime Minister working by ‘mutual dependence and intertwining of a state's legislative and executive capacities (Harris and Reiley,1998),’ the legislator appoints power to the executive and importantly has the power to dismiss the executive by a vote of no confidence which is not seen in the Presidentialism system. Semi-Presidentialism combines both of the above allowing the President and Prime Minister to share duties, however it is common to find the President dealing with foreign affairs and the Prime Minister dealing with domestic affairs with the cabinet.
The first difference to consider is assessing the type of government in place and the type of elections held there, as this will effect the outcome of policy and the strength of the government. An example of this is in the Presidentialism system in the US, the executive and legislative bodies consist of one party each, for example the Democrats or the Republicans. The parties must obtain a majority or 50% or over of the votes to win. In comparison to countries in Europe where the Parliamentary system is predominately used, coalition governments are popular through proportional representation in countries such as Sweden and as such do not see a majority from a single party but a coalition between minority parties. This was last seen in Sweden in 2006 with the Moderate Party, allying with the Centre Party, Liberal People’s Party, and the Christian Democrats to form the Alliance for Sweden to win a majority of the votes (175 seats). The political implications this holds are that with a single party majority government such as in the US, decisions can be made promptly in the executive and legislative bodies due to there being unified values in each system. Moreover the Semi-Presidential system in France for example recently formed a coalition in 2012 with the Hollande the leader of the Socialist party and it’s three other left allies to take a majority in France, as the four parties are left wing in values, prompt decision and policy making should not be an issue as it would be in Sweden. The political implication this holds is that coalition governments largely speaking will take longer to reach agreements as seen in Sweden opposed to single party nations, as more views have to be taken into account; which is particularly evident with the UK’s coalition of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats, for example the Liberal Democrats pursuing the approval of the Mansion Tax even though it is not in the interest of the Tory party or their supporters. Furthermore the type of election in place such as First Past the Post and Proportional Representation has it’s own political implication as it
can dictate a nation’s government, as there cannot be a coalition of political bodies for example in the US as...
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