Differences of Parliamentary And Presidential Government
Outline The Differences Between Parliamentary And Presidential Government
One of the key features of any political system is the relationship between the assembly and the government, that is, the relationship between legislative and executive authority. In exceptional cases, a form of assembly government may develop in which executive and legislative power is vested in the assembly, there being no separate executive body. Such a system, for example, briefly emerged under the radical democracy of Rousseau during the French Revolution. In other cases, such as communist regimes, both the legislative and executive bodies have been subordinate to the unchallengeable authority of a ‘ruling’ party. However, assembly – executive relations more commonly conform to one of two institutional arrangements. Parliamentary and Presidential systems of government.
Most liberal democracies have adopted some form of parliamentary government. These are often based on the model of the UK parliament (Westminster Parliament.) Often portrayed as the ‘mother of parliaments’, the origins of the Westminster model can be traced back to the 13th Century, when knights were incorporated into the king’s court. During the 14th Century, separate chambers, the Lords and the Commons, were built to represent the knights on the one hand, and the barons and churchmen on the other. Parliaments supremacy over the king was not established until the revolution of 1688, and its capacity to call government to account not recognised until the gradual emergence of a democratic franchise during the 19th Century.
Similar parliamentary systems came into existence in states like Germany, Sweden, India, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. The central feature of these systems is a fusion of legislative and executive power, that government is parliamentary in that it is drawn from the assembly or parliament. The strength of this system is that it supposedly delivers effective but responsible government. Government is effective because it rests on the confidence of the assembly and so can, in most cases, ensure that its legislative programme is passed. In short, government can get things done. However, responsible government is maintained because the government can only govern as long as it retains the confidence of the assembly. In theory, the assembly has the upper hand because it has the ultimate power, which is the ability to remove the government.
Unfortunately, however, parliamentary systems often fail to live up to these high expectations. Certainly, there...