Difference Between Presidential and Parlimentry System

Topics: Presidential system, Parliamentary system, Separation of powers Pages: 7 (2278 words) Published: September 3, 2013
This essay will critically analyse the two forms of political governmental systems namely, the presidential system and the parliamentary system. Each system will be briefly defined and the differences and similarities between each form of government will be critically analysed. Thereafter, the essay will focus on the advantages of the presidential and parliamentary forms of government before reaching a conclusion.

Assembly-executive relations more commonly conform to one of two institutional arrangements: parliamentary and presidential systems of government. (Heywood 2007) One of the key features of any political system is the relationship between the assembly and the government: that is, the relationship between the legislative and executive authority. (Heywood 2007) The parliamentary form of government has mostly been adopted by liberal democracies and is based on the model of the UK Parliament known as the Westminster-style system. (Heywood 2007) Dating back to the 13th century, the King’s Court incorporated knights and burgesses into the Westminster Parliament. The House of Commons and the House of The Lords were created to represent the knights and the burgesses, and the barons and churchmen, in the 14th century. (Heywood 2007) The Glorious Revolution of 1688 established parliaments supremacy over the king, and its capacity to call government to account was not recognised until the gradual emergence of a democratic franchise during the 19th century (Heywood 2007).

The parliamentary system, also known as parliamentarism, can be defined as a multi-party form of government wherein which the executive is dependent upon the legislature. Therefore, there is no separation of powers between the executive and legislatives forms of government (Alex Timbers 2011). The executive, also known as the cabinet, is headed by the prime minister who serves as a head of government. The prime minister is the leader of the leading party in the parliamentary system. It is commonly found that the prime minister and the members of cabinet do tend to form part of the legislature too (Alex Timbers 2011) .However, members of cabinet can be removed by parliament through a “vote of no confidence” (Alex Timbers 2011) and the executive can dissolve the parliament by calling “extra-ordinary” elections(Alex Timbers 2011).

In a parliamentary system, the roles of head of state and head of government are separated. The head of state performs more ceremonial roles in retaining duties sans political relevance, such as the president or monarch. Commonly, the head of government grants power, by conventional or constitutional rule, to the head of state who holds reserve powers for “usable crises” (Alex Timbers 2011). It is commonly found that many parliamentary systems have various formal written constitutions and have various numbers of parties competing in the system all posing different dynamics, making each parliamentary system a unique form of governance (Alex Timbers 2011).

The main alternative to the parliamentary system is the presidential system of government. Presidential systems are based on the incorporation of the principle of the separation of powers; this enables the assemblies and the executives to be formally independent from one another and ensures that they are separately elected (Heywood 2007). A presidential system of government is a form of government wherein which the executive branch, led by the president- serves the two vital tasks as head of state and head of government. The executive exists separately from the legislature and is neither accountable to it, nor allowed to dismiss it (Heywood,2007) . An example of a society governed by a presidential system of government is the United States of America.

The principle of separation of powers established by Baron de Montesquieu was adopted by the framers of the U.S Constitution (Scholastic Inc. 2013). The independence of the three branches of government, namely...

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Chandra, Dilip. "Parliamentary Sytem and Presidential System." Hub Page. February 2, 2013. http://dilipchandra12.hubpages.com/hub/Parliamentary-System-and-Presidential-System (accessed August 8, 2013).
Dubroff, M. Dee. "What is the difference between a parliamentary and a presidential system of government?" Wise Geek. August 2, 2013. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-difference-between-a-parliamentary-and-presidential-system-of-government.htm (accessed August 18, 2013).
Heywood, Andrew. "Politics: Third Edition." In Role of Assemblies, by Andrew Heywood, 337-343. Hampshire: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007.
Samir. "Comparison between Presidential and parliamentary form of Government ." Preserve Articles. September 13, 2011. http://www.preservearticles.com/2011091313262/comparison-between-presidential-and-parliamentary-form-of-government.html (accessed August 4, 2013).
Scholastic Inc. 2013. http://teacher.scholastic.com/researchtools/researchstarters/presidents/ (accessed August 5, 2013).
University, Michigan. Chapter 15- Presidential Government. 2007. http://www.chsbs.cmich.edu/fattah/courses/introPolSc/ch15presidential.htm (accessed August 7, 2013).
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