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The comparison of the US President and the British Prime Minister appears from the onset, to provide some interesting differences since the President holds the position of Head of State as well as Head of Government.

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Introduction

The comparison of the US President and the British Prime Minister appears from the onset, to provide some interesting differences since the President holds the position of Head of State as well as Head of Government. The Prime Minister, it would appear, has more influence in domestic, able to dominate his part, legislature and to an extent, executive branch. The US President, on the other hand, appears to have the position of supremacy in domestic politics, known as the chief legislator and dominates his executive, though part control is limited. He does not hold the same position of power in domestic affairs as the Prime Minister, but his position of strength appears to be in the realm of foreign and international matters, in which he faces little challenge from Congress. Much of this prominence is derived from his status as the 'Nation's Leader' and the unifying force in a dispersed political system. It would appear that both offices hold different powers, all of which will be taken into account when deciding which is more powerful. The power, which the holder of each office exercises over their respective party in the legislature is of great significance in determining which office, confers the most power. The British Prime Minister, as shown by past examples, usually holds substantial power over the party machine from which their power originates, and position depends on. The absence of a clear separation of powers in the British system gives the British Prime Minister the position of, head of the majority party in parliament. Due to such a strong link between the Prime Minister and his party he can often expect loyalty as a matter of course when forwarding legislation. ...read more.

Middle

Besides, Presidential Bills have to negotiate further hurdles in their passage through Congress, from the Rules and Majority Policy Committees, which hold great influence on the likelihood of success for the Bills proposed by the President, as they determine when they will be debated. It would appear therefore that the only effective formal power, which the President possesses, is that of veto. This, though subject to overturn by the 2/3 majority of both Houses, is a very effective power in legislating. Clinton, for example, used 17 vetoes between 1993 and 97 with great success, having none overturned. Bush too, had great success in using the veto, defeated only once from 1988 to 1993. The power of the pocket veto has also become an effective weapon of the president in controlling legislation, since it can not be overturned and needs not be explained, and moreover, can be used a bargaining counter with Congress to ensure success for Presidential legislation. It would appear that the constitution has limited the power of the President and strengthened Congressional power, but when looked at more closely, the President has become known as the 'Chief Legislator', according to Johnson, for his extensive use of the State of the Union address to forward his proposals for legislation and make it known to Congress, his intentions for the year, and the fact that he passes more legislation than Congress. We may also consider the use of Executive Powers by the President as a further way in which he can bypass Congress, and exert his law-making powers. The extensive use of such powers in Foreign Affairs have been a significant element of the Presidency in recent years, as Executive Agreements have been used instead of Treaties so that Senate's approval is not required. ...read more.

Conclusion

It would seem therefore, that the president has more control over his executive than the prime minister, as McNaughton points out, since he can easily centralize power around himself whereas the prime Minister must refer to his cabinet. The comparison of the US President and the British Prime Minister appears from the onset, to provide some interesting differences since the President holds the position of Head of State as well as Head of Government. The Prime Minister, by comparison, is merely Head of Government, but as we have seen from the above, is able to exert considerable influence to merit a comparison with the President. The Prime Minister, it would appear, has more influence in domestic politics and is able to successfully dominate the legislature due to a lack of 'separation' between the executive and legislature, avoid the intense scrutiny of Parliament, and keep a firm grip over his party which the president cannot. The US President, on the other hand, appears to have the position of supremacy in domestic politics, although not to the degree of the Prime Minister, but his position of strength appears to be in the realm of foreign and international matters, in which he faces little challenge from Congress. Much of this prominence is derived from his status as the 'Nation's Leader' and the unifying force in a dispersed political system. It is therefore difficult to assess which office is more powerful, but it would appear that the President is more powerful in foreign affairs and the Prime Minister, more dominant in domestic politics. However, the Prime Minister must also maintain the support of the legislature, whereas the president can govern without support here. Word Count: 2964 ...read more.

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