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'The domestic power of a UK Prime Minister exceeds the domestic power of a US President.' Discuss

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Introduction

'The domestic power of a UK Prime Minister exceeds the domestic power of a US President.' Discuss Both the UK Prime Minister and the US President hold the highest executive offices in their respective countries and they are the core of their governments. On the surface, it may appear that the US President, being the head of the most powerful country would hold significant power and the US presidency is often portrayed as having total power. However, this masks real limitations as the legislative and the judiciary are able to keep check on the power that is exercised. As Kennedy stated, "The President is...a man of extraordinary powers. Yet it is also true that he must wield those powers under extraordinary limitations."1 In contrast, the British Prime Minister does not have any constitutional checks upon him/her, therefore allowing them to be free to exercise the power that they desire. However, this is not entirely accurate as the British Prime minister also has some limits upon their power and it is vital for the Prime Minister to have to support of his/her Cabinet if s/he is going to govern effectively. The domestic power that a British Prime Minister holds is inextricably linked to the roles they have. These various roles act as a foundation for a power base and although many people argue we are moving towards a 'prime-ministerial

Middle

In the UK, the monarch sits above the entire political process and in theory has many prerogative powers which could limit the Prime Minister. However, the Monarch rarely if ever intervenes in political decisions and many prerogative powers have in fact been passed down to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has the right to advise to Monarch on many public appointments made in the name of the crown. These are key appointments to a host of public bodies and as many depend on finding favour with the Prime Minister, it increase their power base and is a formidable aspect of Prime Ministerial power. Another role of the UK Prime Minister is to respond to questions and engage in debate in the House of Commons. The performance of the Prime Minister here can have a great effect on party morale and public opinion and therefore as a by-product, can hugely influence the amount of power that the Prime Minister has. The British executive also chairs Cabinet meetings and is expected to interpret the results of Cabinet discussions. By doing this and controlling the agenda, the Prime Minister is able to dominate by emphasising policy s/he wants to push and putting less weight on issues that are less important to them.

Conclusion

However, misjudgement on the behalf of the Premier can be devastating both personally and to the party as a whole. It is clear that both the US President and the UK Prime Minister have specific powers. However, whereas the power of the Prime Minister is very flexible and can vary depending on the individual in office, the presidency does not depend on the person who holds office; The strength of the Presidency has become institutionalised. The President is granted powers directly from the Constitution but he have other resources of power which the can use. However, the ability of the President to build the supporting coalitions needed for him to capitalise on potential power has been made more difficult by the proliferation of interest groups, the weakening of political parties and the dispersion of power in congress. The increase in judicial activism constrains the President's capacity to manage the Government. In contrast, the British Prime Minister has very few formal constraints therefore s/he can do what they can get away with but ultimately they must command party loyalty and the extent and nature of their power depends on the loyalty and the support of his/her parliamentary colleagues. Therefore due to the flexibility in the British system, it seems that the British Prime Minister has more potential power than the US President where the paradox of presidentialism is executive weakness amid the appearance of strength.

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