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Under what conditions are parliamentary forms of government more appropriate than presidential forms?

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Introduction

Under what conditions are parliamentary forms of government more appropriate than presidential forms? The issue of analysing forms of government is one that is difficult because whilst in theory different approaches may always be divisble, in reality the boundaries in political society are much less defined. In this essay, through structured analysis, I intend to compare the parliamentary and presidential governments. In order to evaluate these two forms of government I have devised four circumstances which I believe should be desired in all successful democratic states. These are: the desire for stability, the desire for a fully representative democracy, the desire for accountability, and the desire for fast and effective policy implementation. Through analysis of these circumstances, I intend to reach the conclusion that in all senses of the debate, the parliamentary approach to government is more appropriate than the presidential approach. One of the key political conditions within states which needs to be analysed is the desire for either increased stability or increased flexibility in the political arena. This may be particularly prevalent in scenarios of economic uncertainty or technological change. Generally, as Bara and Pennington (2009. p.137) assert, stability within the presidential form of government can be seen to arise due to the fixed-term elections and its separation of powers. ...read more.

Middle

who argues that such weaknesses can lead to instability as was shown in the French Fourth Republic where the average Cabinet lasted only seven months before being dissolved. Despite this weakness, the fact that smaller parties can even have a say in politics makes the parliamentary approach more democratic as it ensure more views are represented. In a state which encompasses many ethnicities or linguistic groups the parliamentary approach is successful in ensuring no one group dictates the agenda. Therefore in the circumstances where a state wants to ensure that to a large extent people are represented, parliamentary government is a more appropriate approach than the presidential form of government. Another issue linked to representativeness is accountability. This is an important concept particularly in states with a history of corruption or bad policy making because it allows the people to allocate blame to an individual or party for policy failures. Whilst Shugart & Carey (1992, pp.44-46) have stressed that presidential systems hold the advantages of accountability and transparency which is deficient in parliamentary systems, this judgment is not wholly true. Rather than being completely transparent, in the presidential system the separation of powers instead makes individuals in the system less accountable. As Linz (Bara and Pennington, 2009, p.137) asserts "accountability becomes blurred as both institutions claim credit for policy successes and offload the blame for policy failures". ...read more.

Conclusion

Bilbiography Abueva, J.V., Why Change Our Presidential Government To A Parliamentary Government? (November 2005) [Online] Accessed at: http://www.dhivehiobserver.com/docs/Abueva-Why-Change-to-Parliamentary-Government.pdf (Date Accessed: 13.03.2012) Bara, J.L. & Pennington, M., Comparative Politics (London: Sage Publications, 2009) Caramani, D., Comparative Politics, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) Cheibub, J.A. & Limongi, F., "Democratic Insitutions And Regime Survival: Parliamentary And Presidential Democracies Reconsidered" Annual Review of Political Science Volume 5, 2002, pp.151-179 Horowitz, D.L., A Democratic South Africa?: Constitutional Engineering In A Divided Society (Berkeley and Los Angeles: California University Press, 1991) Linz, J., "The Perils of Presidentialism", Journal of Democracy, Volume 1, Issue 1, Winter 1990, pp. 51-69 Lijphart, A., Democracy in Plural Societies: A Comparative Exploration (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977) Mainwaring, S., "Presidentialism, Multipartism, and Democracy: The Di?cult Combination" Comparative Political Studies Volume 26, Issue 2, January 1993, pp. 198-128 Moe, T., and Caldwell, M. (1994). "The Institutional Foundation of Democratic Government: A Comparison of Presidential and Parliamentary Systems" Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, Vol. 150, 1994, pp. 171-95 Raile, E., Pereira, C., & Power, T., "The Presidential Toolbox: Generating Support in a Multiparty Presidential Regime" Political Research Quarterly, Volume 64, Issue 2 ,2006, pp.323-334 M.S. Shugart & J.M. Carey., Presidents and Assemblies: Constitutional Design and Electoral Dynamics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992) ...read more.

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