presidential and parliamentary systems of government pdf

Presidential And Parliamentary Systems Of Government Pdf

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The institutional design of democratic regimes has attracted much attention from a legal and political perspective, because it affects the actual distribution of power among political actors and the effectiveness of their decisions.

Received 19 th December, ; Received in revised form 14 th January, ; Accepted 24 th February, ; Published online 31 st March, This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. A modern research shows that, both presidential and parliamentary systems are applied in democracy countries. They have advantages and disadvantages, for instance presidential system establishes the presidency and the legislature as two parallel structures.

List of countries by system of government

A presidential system is a form of government in which a head of government president leads an executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch. This head of government is in most cases also the head of state.

In presidential countries, the head of government is elected and is not responsible to the legislature, which cannot usually in normal circumstances dismiss it. Such dismissal is possible, however, in uncommon cases, often through impeachment. The title " president " has persisted from a time when such person personally presided over the governing body, as with the President of the Continental Congress in the early United States , prior to the executive function being split into a separate branch of government.

A presidential system contrasts with a parliamentary system , where the head of government comes to power by gaining the confidence of an elected legislature. There are also hybrid systems such as the semi-presidential system , used in the former Weimar Republic and in France. Countries that feature a presidential or semi-presidential system of government are not the exclusive users of the title of president.

Heads of state of parliamentary republics , largely ceremonial in most cases, are called presidents. Dictators or leaders of one-party states , whether popularly elected or not, are also often called presidents. Presidentialism is the dominant form of government in the mainland Americas , with 19 of its 22 sovereign states being presidential republics, the exceptions being Canada , Belize , and Suriname.

By contrast, there are very few presidential republics in Europe, with Belarus and Cyprus being the only examples. Oceania is the only continent that has no presidential republics. In a full-fledged presidential system, a politician is chosen directly by the public or indirectly by the winning party to be the head of government. Except for Belarus and Kazakhstan , this head of government is also the head of state , and is therefore called president.

The post of prime minister also called premier may also exist in a presidential system, but unlike in semi-presidential or parliamentary systems, the prime minister answers to the president and not to the legislature. The following characteristics apply generally for the numerous presidential governments across the world:. Subnational governments, usually states, may be structured as presidential systems.

All of the state governments in the United States use the presidential system, even though this is not constitutionally required.

On a local level, many cities use council-manager government , which is equivalent to a parliamentary system, although the post of a city manager is normally a non-political position. Some countries without a presidential system at the national level use a form of this system at a subnational or local level.

One example is Japan , where the national government uses the parliamentary system, but the prefectural and municipal governments have governors and mayors elected independently from local assemblies and councils.

In most presidential systems, the president is elected by popular vote, although some such as the United States use an electoral college or some other method. That means a president can only be elected independently of the legislative branch. A presidential system's separation of the executive from the legislature is sometimes held up as an advantage, in that each branch may scrutinize the actions of the other.

In a parliamentary system, the executive is drawn from the legislature, making criticism of one by the other considerably less likely. A formal condemnation of the executive by the legislature is often considered a vote of no confidence. According to supporters of the presidential system, the lack of checks and balances means that misconduct by a prime minister may never be discovered.

Critics respond that if a presidential system's legislature is controlled by the president's party, the same situation exists. Proponents [ who? In parliamentary systems, party discipline is much more strictly enforced. Even mild criticism from a backbencher could carry consequences serious enough in particular, removal from consideration for a cabinet post to effectively muzzle a legislator with any serious political ambitions. Despite the existence of the no confidence vote, in practice it is extremely difficult to stop a prime minister or cabinet that has made its decision.

In a parliamentary system, if important legislation proposed by the incumbent prime minister and his cabinet is "voted down" by a majority of the members of parliament then it is considered a vote of no confidence. To emphasize that particular point, a prime minister will often declare a particular legislative vote to be a matter of confidence at the first sign of reluctance on the part of legislators from his or her own party.

If a government loses a parliamentary vote of confidence, then the incumbent government must then either resign or call elections to be held, a consequence few backbenchers are willing to endure. Hence, a no confidence vote in some parliamentary countries, like Britain, only occurs a few times in a century. In , David Lloyd George told a select committee: "Parliament has really no control over the executive; it is a pure fiction. By contrast, if a presidential legislative initiative fails to pass a legislature controlled by the president's party e.

It is believed that presidential systems can respond more rapidly to emerging situations than parliamentary ones. A prime minister, when taking action, needs to retain the support of the legislature, but a president is often less constrained.

In Why England Slept , future U. Kennedy argued that British prime ministers Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain were constrained by the need to maintain the confidence of the Commons. Other supporters of presidential systems sometimes argue in the exact opposite direction, however, saying that presidential systems can slow decision-making to beneficial ends.

Divided government, where the presidency and the legislature are controlled by different parties, is said to restrain the excesses of both the coalition and opposition, and guarantee cross-partisan input into legislation. Gridlock is the natural gift the Framers of the Constitution gave us so that the country would not be subjected to policy swings resulting from the whimsy of the public. And the competition—whether multi-branch, multi-level, or multi-house—is important to those checks and balances and to our ongoing kind of centrist government.

Thank heaven we do not have a government that nationalizes one year and privatizes next year, and so on ad infinitum ". Checks and Balances, 8. Although most parliamentary governments go long periods of time without a no confidence vote, Italy , Israel , and the French Fourth Republic have all experienced difficulties maintaining stability.

When parliamentary systems have multiple parties, and governments are forced to rely on coalitions, as they often do in nations that use a system of proportional representation , extremist parties can theoretically use the threat of leaving a coalition to further their agendas.

Many people consider presidential systems more able to survive emergencies. A country under enormous stress may, supporters argue, be better off being led by a president with a fixed term than rotating premierships. France during the Algerian controversy switched to a semi-presidential system as did Sri Lanka during its civil war, while Israel experimented with a directly elected prime minister in In France and Sri Lanka, the results are widely considered to have been positive.

However, in the case of Israel, an unprecedented proliferation of smaller parties occurred, leading to the restoration of the previous system of selecting a prime minister.

The fact that elections are fixed in a presidential system is considered by supporters a welcome "check" on the powers of the executive, contrasting parliamentary systems, which may allow the prime minister to call elections whenever they see fit or orchestrate their own vote of no confidence to trigger an election when they cannot get a legislative item passed. The presidential model is said to discourage this sort of opportunism, and instead forces the executive to operate within the confines of a term they cannot alter to suit their own needs.

Proponents of the presidential system also argue that stability extends to the cabinets chosen under the system, compared to a parliamentary system where cabinets must be drawn from within the legislative branch.

Under the presidential system, cabinet members can be selected from a much larger pool of potential candidates. This allows presidents the ability to select cabinet members based as much or more on their ability and competency to lead a particular department as on their loyalty to the president, as opposed to parliamentary cabinets, which might be filled by legislators chosen for no better reason than their perceived loyalty to the prime minister.

Supporters of the presidential system note that parliamentary systems are prone [ citation needed ] to disruptive " cabinet shuffles " where legislators are moved between portfolios, whereas in presidential system cabinets such as the United States Cabinet , cabinet shuffles are unusual. A fourth criticism applies specifically to nations with a proportionally elected legislature and a presidency.

Where the voters are virtually all represented by their votes in the proportional outcome, the presidency is elected on a winner-take-all basis. Two different electoral systems are therefore in play, potentially leading to conflicts that are based on the natural differences of the systems.

A prime minister without majority support in the legislature must either form a coalition or, if able to lead a minority government, govern in a manner acceptable to at least some of the opposition parties.

Even with a majority government, the prime minister must still govern within perhaps unwritten constraints as determined by the members of his party—a premier in this situation is often at greater risk of losing his party leadership than his party is at risk of losing the next election.

On the other hand, winning the presidency is a winner-take-all, zero-sum game. Once elected, a president might be able to marginalize the influence of other parties and exclude rival factions in his own party as well, or even leave the party whose ticket he was elected under.

The president can thus rule without any party support until the next election or abuse his power to win multiple terms, a worrisome situation for many interest groups. Yale political scientist Juan Linz argues that:.

The danger that zero-sum presidential elections pose is compounded by the rigidity of the president's fixed term in office. Winners and losers are sharply defined for the entire period of the presidential mandate The zero-sum game in presidential regimes raises the stakes of presidential elections and inevitably exacerbates their attendant tension and polarization.

Constitutions that only require plurality support are said [ by whom? Some political scientists say that presidential systems are not constitutionally stable and have difficulty sustaining democratic practices, noting that presidentialism has slipped into authoritarianism in many of the countries in which it has been implemented.

According to political scientist Fred Riggs , presidentialism has fallen into authoritarianism in nearly every country it has been attempted. On the other hand, an often-cited [ by whom? In a presidential system, the legislature and the president have equal mandates from the public. Conflicts between the branches of government might not be reconciled. When president and legislature disagree and government is not working effectively, there is a strong incentive to use extra-constitutional measures to break the deadlock.

Of the three common branches of government, the executive is in the best position to use extra-constitutional measures, especially when the president is head of state, head of government, and commander-in-chief of the military.

By contrast, in a parliamentary system where the often-ceremonial head of state is either a constitutional monarch or in the case of a parliamentary republic an experienced and respected figure, given some political emergency there is a good chance that even a ceremonial head of state will be able to use emergency reserve powers to restrain a head of government acting in an emergency extra-constitutional manner — this is only possible because the head of state and the head of government are not the same person.

Dana D. Nelson , in her book Bad for Democracy , [5] sees the office of the President of the United States as essentially undemocratic [6] and characterizes presidentialism as worship of the president by citizens, which she believes undermines civic participation. Some political scientists speak of the "failure of presidentialism" because the separation of powers of a presidential system often creates undesirable long-term political gridlock and instability whenever the president and the legislative majority are from different parties.

This is common because the electorate often expects more rapid results than are possible from new policies and switches to a different party at the next election. In such cases of gridlock, presidential systems are said by critics [8] not to offer voters the kind of accountability seen in parliamentary systems.

It is easy for either the president or the legislature to escape blame by shifting it to the other. Douglas Dillon said "the president blames Congress, the Congress blames the president, and the public remains confused and disgusted with government in Washington". An example is the increase in the federal debt of the United States that occurred during the presidency of Republican Ronald Reagan.

O'Neill agreed to tax cuts favored by Reagan, and in exchange Reagan agreed to budgets that did not restrain spending to his liking. In such a scenario, each side can say they are displeased with the debt, plausibly blame the other side for the deficit, and still claim success. Another alleged problem of presidentialism is that it is often difficult to remove a president from office early.

Even if a president is "proved to be inefficient, even if he becomes unpopular, even if his policy is unacceptable to the majority of his countrymen, he and his methods must be endured until the moment comes for a new election". Tyler blocked the Whig agenda, was loathed by his nominal party, but remained firmly in control of the executive branch.

Most presidential systems provide no legal means to remove a president simply for being unpopular or even for behaving in a manner that might be considered unethical or immoral provided it is not illegal. This has been cited [ citation needed ] as the reason why many presidential countries have experienced military coups to remove a leader who is said to have lost his mandate.

Parliamentary systems can quickly remove unpopular leaders by a vote of no confidence , a procedure that serves as a "pressure release valve" for political tension.

Presidential system

Managing Editor: Ana Harvey. In the end, the Convention delegates settled for a stronger, rather than a weaker chief executive with the powers of commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and with the power to declare war. The president would be elected by an electoral college, and serve a four-year term with no limits on the right to seek re-election. The president could only be removed by way of impeachment. Today, almost all countries which are not monarchies parliamentary monarchy ; monarchical constitutions , have presidents as their heads of state. This does not mean that they operate under a presidential system of government.

Parliamentary Systems

Montesquieu, Baron de French political philosopher whose Spirit of the Laws, a seminal work of political theory, greatly influenced the Founding Fathers. British prime ministers were originally appointed by the crown and only gradually did they become responsible to Parliament rather than the monarch. The phrase responsible government was specifically used in the struggle to establish democratic governments in Canada and Australia during the 19th century. The U. In the United States the party whips are influential figures, but they do not have the power of their counterparts in Great Britain.

Presidential System vs. Parliamentary System

Despite the fact that numerous nations around the world follow the parliamentary system of government, many Americans do not understand what it is. The parliamentary system is a democratic government. Below are ten features of the parliamentary system that describe this popular form of democracy.

Semi-parliamentary system

This article deals with a comparative study of Presidential and Parliamentary systems. In the 21st century, many countries in the world have an organized government. The work of government nowadays is not limited to a police state i. The government has become a welfare state, which looks after the welfare of its citizens along with the overall development of the country.

Parliamentary system , democratic form of government in which the party or a coalition of parties with the greatest representation in the parliament legislature forms the government, its leader becoming prime minister or chancellor. Executive functions are exercised by members of the parliament appointed by the prime minister to the cabinet. The parties in the minority serve in opposition to the majority and have the duty to challenge it regularly. Prime ministers may be removed from power whenever they lose the confidence of a majority of the ruling party or of the parliament. The parliamentary system originated in Britain see Parliament and was adopted in several of its former colonies.

Countries around the world practice democracy through different types of institutions. However, most democracies in the world today use the parliamentary system as opposed to a presidential system like that used in the United States. Defining characteristics of the parliamentary system are the supremacy of the legislative branch within the three functions of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—and blurring or merging of the executive and legislative functions. The legislative function is conducted through a unicameral one-chamber or bicameral two-chamber parliament composed of members accountable to the people they represent. A prime minister and the ministers of several executive departments of the government primarily carry out the executive function.


passed in parliament are law (no one has veto power). Executive part of government (similar to US's presidential branch) is made up of a cabinet of men and.


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Presidential and parliamentarian systems. Essential characteristics of the presidential system. Main influences on the original presidential systems in Latin America. Some authors that influenced Latin American presidential systems. Main factors that distanced Latin American presidential systems from the U. The Caudillo [Leader].

This article deals with a comparative study of Presidential and Parliamentary systems. In the 21st century, many countries in the world have an organized government. The work of government nowadays is not limited to a police state i. The government has become a welfare state, which looks after the welfare of its citizens along with the overall development of the country. The significant point, however, is that in order to carry out these activities and functions whatever may be their range, it becomes important for a country to establish certain basic organs or agents or instrumentalities which act on its behalf and thorough which the state can function and operate. The functions that need to be performed by these agents require some authority, sanction or law.

This article deals with a comparative study of Presidential and Parliamentary systems. In the 21st century, many countries in the world have an organized government. The work of government nowadays is not limited to a police state i.

A presidential system is a form of government in which a head of government president leads an executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch. This head of government is in most cases also the head of state. In presidential countries, the head of government is elected and is not responsible to the legislature, which cannot usually in normal circumstances dismiss it. Such dismissal is possible, however, in uncommon cases, often through impeachment.

Handbook of New Institutional Economics pp Cite as. The last twenty-five years have witnessed dramatic growth in the number of political regimes that meet basic standards of procedural democracy, such as freedom of association and expression, competitive elections that determine who holds political power, and systematic constraints on the exercise of authority Robert Dahl ; Samuel Huntington A common consequence of these transitions is to focus attention on the constitutional rules that guide competition for and the exercise of political authority under democracy. One of the fundamental aspects of constitutional design is the choice between parliamentary government, presidential government, or a hybrid format that combines some aspects of these two.

Presidential System vs. Parliamentary System

This is a list of countries by system of government. There is also a political mapping of the world that shows what form of government each country has, as well as a brief description of what each form of government entails.

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