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Parliamentary vs Presidential Systems

By bdiddy1012 Apr 07, 2005 1182 Words
Presidential vs. Parliamentary
There are two main types of political systems, one being a presidential system and the other being a parliamentary system. Both of them have their own benefits as well as their own disadvantages. No political system can be perfect or can always have stability, but shown in history there are successful countries that use either one. Also there are countries that have failed with one of the two systems.

Firstly there is the presidential system. There are many characteristics to a presidential system. The first main part of a presidential system is how the executive is elected. The executive is a president who is elected to a fixed term. Also a president is not only head of state, but is head of government. The president is the sole executive of the government. Even though there is a cabinet in a presidential system it does not have the power it does in a parliamentary system. The cabinet is chosen by the president instead of chosen by the parliament. A president has to follow a constitution rather than following history. The president actually has a large part in the government's decisions. A big advantage to political scientists of the presidential system is that there is a separation of powers. The legislative branch being separate from the executive branch lets one another keep checks and balances on each other. This assures that no one branch will take over or attempt to take over the government. Another advantage of a presidential system is that the population elects the chief executive and the legislative branch. By winning a popular vote shows that most of a country is backing the executive which does not seem to cause revolution. The president can not dissolve an assembly as one can in a parliamentary system. Also in a presidential system there is the judicial branch, which is the court system. The judicial branch is important because it helps uphold the constitution. One of the last advantages of a presidential system is that there is more stability because a president is elected to a fixed term, where as in a parliamentary system a prime minister can be ousted at any time. A presidential system is not perfect, but it has it's high and low points.

The other type of political system being analyzed is a parliamentary system. A parliamentary system has its executive branch in two parts, which are a monarch and prime minister or chancellor. The prime minister or chancellor is head of government and the monarch is only head of state. The monarch is a figure head and does no decision making. The voters of a parliamentary system elect parliament who then elect the prime minister and the cabinet. The prime minister is normally the leader of the most popular party in parliament. The PM even being the head of government is not as powerful as the head of government in a presidential system. The parliament of the system withholds the most power. They make or break any law. Compared to the separation of powers as in a presidential system there is only a separation of functions. Each part of government has its own function to perform, but there is no system of checks and balances. An example of the overlapping of powers is the need of a vote of confidence. A vote of confidence is proposed by a party and needs backing from the other part of government. With no system of sorts there is more likely of upheaval and change of rule. There is not as much stability in a parliamentary system as there is in a presidential. Lastly there is no judicial rule as there is in a presidential system. A parliamentary system has had success in the past but still is seen as not as successful as a presidential system.

Most European countries have a parliamentary political system. Britain has a parliamentary system. Britain's system starts at the voters who vote for Parliament. Parliament then elects and can oust the executive branch, which is headed by a prime minister whom is the head of their government. The prime minister is in charge of the cabinet and ministries who deal with certain aspects of government, such as Home Development or Work and Pensions. Britain basically has a two party system. Their electoral system keeps bigger parties strong and smaller ones weaker. They use single member districts for the elections. Each district gets to send one member to the parliament. The member is the one who gets the most votes even if it is not the majority, which is called "first past the post." Britain does not use proportional representation such as most of the only parliamentary systems in Europe. Britain even with its differences is very successful at their system as of now. France on the other hand has a semi-presidential system. In this system voters chose the parliament and also the president. The president then chooses the premier (France's PM), which guides the ministries. The National Assembly can censure the premier and make him resign, but this is very rare. The president though then can dissolve parliament and hold new elections. Even that there is more stability with this system there can be a deadlock by the two parties blocking one another just as in a presidential system. France has more of a checks and balances system than Britain, but still is not a perfect system. The political system I most prefer is the presidential system. I prefer this system mostly because of the stability factor. I like the fact that the chief executive is elected by the people and not by the legislature. Even if a candidate that I would vote for does not win election the other candidate has to have some morals to be elected by the majority of the population of the country. Also there being a written constitution in a presidential system makes it easier to prefer because this explains the law precisely and accurately. In a presidential system there is a judicial branch which makes it fair to be tried for crimes, which is a plus too. I may be bias because I live in a country that has a presidential system, which is the United States and it is the most successful nation, but I feel that even if lived in another country I would envy our style of government and would want to live here. A presidential government is by the far the most successful and fairest way to run a country. I feel that France is most comparable to the political system I prefer. It is semi-presidential, which is more effective than a parliamentary system. Their election process is similar to a presidential system, which shows a popular vote in the population wins. The parliament can censure the premier also, which is good because it does not let one part of government make any drastic changes without the parliament agreeing. I feel that France is most like my preferred type of political system because of these reasons.

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