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Presidential and Parliamentary Systems. Dr. Eric Langenbacher February 24th, 2004. The Executive. Fundamental institutional choice between a Parliamentary and Presidential system branches of government Executive—branch of government that proposes legislation—it initiates

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presidential and parliamentary systems

Presidential and Parliamentary Systems

Dr. Eric Langenbacher

February 24th, 2004

the executive
The Executive
  • Fundamental institutional choice between a Parliamentary and Presidential system
  • branches of government
    • Executive—branch of government that proposes legislation—it initiates
    • Legislature—debates and passes laws
    • Judiciary—interprets laws
    • Bureaucracy—implements laws
basic distinctions
Basic distinctions
  • 1)Accountability/Reponsibility—executive directly accountable in Parl. system
    • In Presidential system, executive branch in separately elected—no direct responsibility
  • 2)Collegial v. appointed cabinets
    • Presidential systems based on separation on powers; Parliamentary--fusion
basic distinctions cont d
Basic Distinctions (cont’d)
  • 3) Term flexibility—fixed terms in Pres.; variable terms in parl. due to Prime Minister’s right of dissolution
  • 4) Executive role differentiation—two roles—head of government and head of state—combined in Pres.; separate in Parl.
advantages of parliamentary systems
Advantages of Parliamentary Systems
  • flexibility
  • clear lines of accountability
  • clear majority rule
  • efficient, streamlined decision making
advantages of presidential systems
Advantages of Presidential Systems
  • decisive leadership
  • checking/balancing of power
  • necessarily cumbersome legislative procedures
  • stability, personalized leadership
  • ease to pinpoint responsibility
disadvantages of parliamentary systems
Disadvantages of Parliamentary Systems
  • 1) instability
  • 2) numerous, fragmented party system
  • 3) fusion of powers
  • 4) dangerous for young democracies
disadvantages of presidential system
Disadvantages of Presidential System
  • 1) Inflexibility
  • 2) Effects on Party System
  • 3) zero-sum, majoritarian politics
  • 4) personalism, corruption
  • 5) dual legitimacy
  • 6) lack of role differentiation
conclusion
Conclusion
  • Arguments against Presidential systems are more compelling
  • Negative characteristics of Parl. systems cannot be avoided—but institutional remedies exist
  • Almost impossible to rectify shortcomings of Pres. system within own logic