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The United States uses a presidential system of government and is a stable democracy; therefore, it is advisable for new democracies to also choose presidential systems of government

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The United States uses a presidential system of government and is a stable democracy; therefore, it is advisable for new democracies to also choose presidential systems of government. Discuss The United States is arguably the most powerful and prosperous nation in the world and has had a successful stable democracy under presidential government for over 200 years. So surely therefore new democracies in the modern day should adopt the presidential system of government used by the United States? In this essay I will discuss this issue. Even though the United States uses presidentialism, the majority of the world's stable democracies actually use a form of parliamentary government including the United Kingdom. Therefore I will also use the parliamentary system to compare with presidentialism of the United States and see if this alternative form of government may be more suitable for new democracies to adopt. I will briefly outline how the presidential system works along with the parliamentary system before discussing the advantages and disadvantages in general. I will then move on to new democracies in the past who have adopted presidentialism from round the world but mainly focusing on the Latin American nations and analysing their success before reaching my conclusions. Hague and Harrop state that presidentialism to be a "...form of constitutional rule in which the chief executive governs using the authority derived from direct election, with an independent legislature." ...read more.


If adopted by a new democracy then they may be unable to address pressing problems. A solution maybe to raise presidential power and so make him the spearhead of an active and effective government but in new democracies may give him too much power. However if I briefly criticise the parliamentary system on the point that this problem supposedly does not occur. In the Weimar Republic there was the problem of 'negative majorities' which is "...majorities of the right and left that combined forces against the political centre but that were ideologically too far apart to be able together to form an alternative coalition cabinet." (Satori: 86) Then the 'constructive vote of no confidence' means that a cabinet may remain in power but, because it is opposed by a majority in the legislature, be unable to get any of its proposed legislation adopted. Secondly there is temporal rigidity. The president's fixed term in office "breaks the political process into discontinuous, rigidly demarcated periods, leaving no room for continuous readjustments that events may demand" (Lijphart: 134 ). Thirdly the 'winner-take-all rule' so only one candidate and one party can win presidency; everyone else loses. There is a concentration of power where there are little incentives for him or her to form coalitions and take part in give-and-take negotiations with the opposition which maybe needed to solve divisive problems. ...read more.


Political culture is the nature, attitudes and behaviour of people towards politics including aspects of participation, authoritisation, corruptness and so on. An argument that UK parliament has effective checks and balances is that of the political culture of the British people. The UK has always had a tradition of 'accountability' where if something went wrong; whoever was responsible would resign, although some say that is changing at the present. This could therefore contribute greatly to why Latin America has not functioned like the US political system, due to economic and cultural factors such as corruptness, and the correlation between democracy and Protestantism where catholic nations have found it harder to adopt stable democracy. Also it seems geography seems to play a major part where the Latin American nations have adopted America's presidential system from up north and countries such as Czech Republic and Hungary have adopted the parliamentary form which dominates Western Europe, probably with the thought of their decision to join the European Union in their minds. In conclusion the USA is the only stable democracy using the presidential system for a continuous extended period of time and parliamentary democracies through history have performed better. So in terms of Latin America only time will tell if they made the right choice to embrace presidentialism. Many of the new democracies have deep political cleavages and numerous political parties for which a parliamentary system of government will probably provide a better hope for preserving democracy. However as seen from African history under ethnic conflicts parliamentarism can be unstable. ...read more.

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