Presidential And Parliamentary Systems Essays On Leadership

If you want to start a country based on democratic principles, you essentially have two choices: the “presidential model" and the “parliamentary model.” The presidential model, sometimes called a “congressional system,” was invented in the U.S. in 1787, when the new constitution was written. The Founders chose not to imitate the parliamentary model--then still emerging in England--probably because it was too closely associated with the monarchy. Perhaps they also wanted to insure that the new country be guided by a strong chief executive and they weren’t sure they could get that out of a parliamentary system. 

Other than in the U.S., other models of the presidential system are mostly found in South American countries and a few African countries. More prevalent are parliamentary systems. One notable reason for the proliferation of the parliamentary model is the legacy of the British empire, many of whose former colonies still remain a part of the British commonwealth.

The most conspicuous difference between the two choices lies in the concept of separation of powers that characterizes the American system. In a presidential system, the executive and legislative branches are completely separate; in a parliamentary system the executive--the prime minister--is also a member of the legislative branch.

In presidential systems, elections are held according to a strict schedule; in a parliamentary system, they may be called at any time, and either the party in power or the party out of power can initiate a call for elections, though it is harder for the opposition party to do so because it must first win a “no confidence” vote.

Examples of parliamentary systems, other than the countries of the United Kingdom, include Canada, Australia, the Scandinavian countries, Germany, Spain and Italy.

France and Finland are “hybrid” systems of government, that is they combine features of both the presidential and parliamentary models. France has a president and a prime minister; so does Russia. In both cases, the president tends to foreign policy, the prime minister spends more of his time with domestic policy.

A parliamentary system, sometimes called a “cabinet government” may also be a constitutional monarchy. (see the module “Constitutional Monarchies.”) A constitutional monarchy retains the king or queen in the role of head of state, but their power is almost exclusively ceremonial.

Historically, at least in England’s parliamentary system, the judicial system is not separate from the other institutions of government as in the U.S. Rather, the “highest court” in England is housed in the upper house of parliament, the House of Lords. This, however, is undergoing change since beginning in 2009, England established a separate Supreme Court. (It should be noted that Wales and Northern Ireland, have followed a different institutional route in the development of their judicial system).

What are the respective strengths and weaknesses of the two systems? A parliamentary system of government, precisely because it combines the executive and legislative functions in one branch of government, typically displays less “gridlock.”(see module “In Praise of Gridlock”). A presidential system, on the other hand, may be more stable at times than a parliamentary system, especially if the parliamentary system is a multi-party system.

One of the attractive features of the British system is “Question Time,” when the Prime Minister and his cabinet must face the Leader of the Opposition and his Shadow Cabinet for a period of grueling question and answer. HERE  is one compilation of notable moments during Question Time. And HERE and HERE are two clips featuring England's "Iron Lady," Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990),  portrayed by Meryl Streep in the movie of the same name. The trailer for the movie is HERE.

Key Ideas

--presidential v. parliamentary

--separation of powers

--"no confidence"

--constitutional monarchy

--"hybrid" systems

--"Question Time"

Comparing Government Systems: Parliament and Presidential Essay

465 Words2 Pages

Comparing Government Systems: Parliament and Presidential

To start with, what is a parliament and presidential system of Government? A parliamentry system of government is that government that is headed by the Head of Government who gets into power by direct 'vote of confidence of the Parliament.E.g Britain,

A presidential system of Government is a system of government where the executive branch is elected seperately from the legistative branch. This differs from the Parliamentry system because there is no vote of confidence and the citizenry of the counrty elect those they want as their leader.E.g America, Nigeria and most Southe American counties e.t.c. On the question of which is a better…show more content…

This, I think is unfair and unjust and that everyone should be given a chance to vote for whom they want as their leader which the presidential form of govenment provides.



1. In a presidential system, the central principle is that the legislative and executive branches of government should be separate.

2 It is extremely rare for the president to have the power to directly propose laws, or cast a vote on legislation.

3. A president is highly identifiable and accountable to voters.

4. In this system, there is a greater degree of choice for voters.

5. A president shows stability and continuity of policy- making.

6. In this system, there is centralization of authority in one person.

7. Its been noticed that this system brings about majoritarianism which is associated to democratic failure.


1. This system of government is inclusive of all groups within the executive unlike the presidential system.

2. There is flexibility in this government as coalitions can change without a new appraoch to election.

3. This system helps to unify the executive and legislative arms of government through checks and balances as the executive is dependent on the

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