A presidential system, also called a congressional system, is a system of government where an executive branch exists and presides (hence the term) separately from the legislature, to which it is not accountable and which cannot in normal circumstances dismiss it. A system of government is a term that refers to the set of political Institutions by which a Government of a State is organized in order to exert its powers In Political science and Constitutional law, the executive is the branch of government responsible for the day-to-day management of the State. A legislature is a type of representative Deliberative assembly with the power to create amend and change Laws The law created by a legislature is called Legislation 
It owes its origins to the medieval monarchies of France, England and Scotland in which executive authority was vested in the Crown, not in meetings of the estates of the realm (ie. A monarchy is a Form of government in which supreme power is actually or nominally lodged in an individual who is the Head of state, often for life or The Ancien Régime, a French term rendered in English as “Old Rule” “Old Kingdom” or simply “Old Regime” refers primarily to the aristocratic The Kingdom of England was a State (927-1707 located in Western Europe dating from the ninth or tenth century to the early eighteenth century when it was legally The Kingdom of Scotland ( Gaelic: Rìoghachd na h-Alba, Scots: Kinrick o Scotland) was a State in northwest Europe In Political science and Constitutional law, the executive is the branch of government responsible for the day-to-day management of the State. Throughout the Commonwealth realms The Crown is an abstract metonymic concept which represents the legal authority for the existence of any government The Estates of the realm were the broad divisions of society usually distinguishing Nobility, Clergy, and Commoners recognized in the Middle Ages parliament): the Estates-General of France, the Parliament of England or the Estates of Scotland. TalkParliament#Screen-size. -->A  parliament is a Legislature, especially in those In France under the Ancien Regime, the States-General or Estates-General (French états généraux) was a Legislative assembly The Parliament of England was the Legislature of the Kingdom of England. This article is about the pre-1707 parliament The article on the devolved legislative body established in 1999 is at Scottish Parliament. The concept of separate spheres of influence of the executive and legislature was copied in the Constitution of the United States, with the creation of the office of President of the United States. The Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme Law of the United States. The President of the United States is the Head of state and Head of government of the United States and is the highest political official in United States by Perhaps ironically, in England and Scotland (since 1707 as the Kingdom of Great Britain, and since 1801 as the United Kingdom) the power of a separate executive waned to a ceremonial role and a new executive, answerable to parliament, evolved while the power of the United States's separated executive increased. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland Scotland ( Gaelic: Alba) is a Country in northwest Europethat occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain. Year 1707 ( MDCCVII) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a The Kingdom of Great Britain, also known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain, was a State in northwest Europe, in existence from 1707 to 1800 Year 1801 ( MDCCCI) was a Common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year starting on Tuesday The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located The United States of America —commonly referred to as the This has given rise to criticism of the United States presidency as an "imperial presidency" though some analysts dispute the existence of an absolute separation, referring to the concept of "separate institutions sharing power". The Imperial Presidency by Arthur M Schlesinger Jr was written in 1973
Although not exclusive to republics, and applied in the case of absolute monarchies, the term is often associated with republican systems in the Americas. A republic is a State or Country that is not led by a hereditary Monarch, but in which the people (or at least a part of its people have impact on its Absolute monarchy is a monarchical Form of government where the king and queen have absolute power over everything The Americas are the lands of the Western hemisphere or New World, consisting of the Continents of North America and South America
The defining characteristic of a republican presidential system is how the executive is elected, but nearly all presidential systems share the following features:
Some national presidents are "figurehead" heads of state, like constitutional monarchs, and not active executive heads of government. In politics a figurehead, by Metaphor with the carved figurehead at the prow of a sailing ship is a person who holds an important title or office yet executes little A constitutional monarchy, or a limited monarchy, is a form of Constitutional Government, wherein either an elected or hereditary Monarch is In a full-fledged presidential system, a president is chosen by the people to be the head of the executive branch.
Presidential governments make no distinction between the positions of head of state and head of government, both of which are held by the president. Head of state is the generic term for the individual or collective office that serves as the chief public representative of a Monarchic or Republican Nation-state This article focuses on the cases where the Head of Government is a separate office from the Head of State Most parliamentary governments have a symbolic head of state in the form of a president or monarch. A parliamentary system, also known as parliamentarianism (and parliamentarism in American English) is a System of government in which That person is responsible for the formalities of state functions as the figurehead while the constitutional prerogatives of head of government are generally exercised by the prime minister. A constitution is a system for government often Codified as a written document that establishes the rules and principles of an autonomous political entity Such figurehead presidents tend to be elected in a much less direct manner than active presidential-system presidents, for example, by a vote of the legislature. A few nations, such as Ireland, do have a popularly elected ceremonial president. Ireland ( Irish: Éire, ˈeːrʲə is a country in north-western Europe.
A few countries (e. g. , South Africa) have powerful presidents who are elected by the legislature. The Republic of South Africa (also known by other official names) is a country located at the southern tip of the continent of Africa These presidents are chosen in the same way as a prime minister, yet are heads of both state and government. These executives are titled "president", but are in practice similar to prime ministers. Other countries with the same system include Botswana, the Marshall Islands, and Nauru. The Republic of Botswana (Lefatshe la Botswana is a Landlocked nation in Southern Africa. The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI is a Micronesian nation of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean Nauru, officially the Republic of Nauru, is an Island nation in the Micronesian South Pacific. Incidentally, the method of legislative vote for president was a part of Madison's Virginia Plan and was seriously considered by the framers of the American Constitution. A legislature is a type of representative Deliberative assembly with the power to create amend and change Laws The law created by a legislature is called Legislation James Madison Jr (March 16 1751 – June 28 1836 was an American Politician, the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817 and one of the Founding The Virginia Plan (also known as the Randolph Plan, after its sponsor or Large-State Plan) was a proposal by Virginia delegates drafted by
Some political scientists consider the conflation of head-of-state and head-of-government duties to be a problem of presidentialism because criticism of the president as head of state is criticism of the state itself.
Presidents in presidential systems are always active participants in the political process, though the extent of their relative power may be influenced by the political makeup of the legislature and whether their supporters or opponents have the dominant position therein. In some presidential systems such as South Korea or the Republic of China (on Taiwan), there is an office of prime minister or premier but, unlike in semi-presidential or parliamentary systems, the premier is responsible to the president rather than to the legislature. South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea and often referred to as Korea ( Korean: 대한민국 tɛː REPUBLIC OF CHINA ARTICLE GUIDELINES Taiwan ( Taiwanese: Tâi-oân/Tāi-oân (historically 大灣/台員/大員/台圓/大圓/台窩灣 is an Island in East Asia. This article is about the government position For other uses see Prime Minister (disambiguation. A premier is a title for the Head of government in some countries The semi-presidential system is a System of government in which a prime minister and a President are both active participants in the day-to-day administration
Supporters generally claim four basic advantages for presidential systems:
A prime minister is usually chosen by a few individuals of the legislature, while a president is usually chosen by the people. According to supporters of the presidential system, a popularly elected leadership is inherently more democratic than a leadership chosen by a legislative body, even if the legislative body was itself elected, to rule.
Through making more than one electoral choice, voters in a presidential system can more accurately indicate their policy preferences. For example, in the United States of America, some political scientists interpret the late Cold War tendency to elect a Democratic Congress and a Republican president as the choice for a Republican foreign policy and a Democratic domestic policy. Cold War is the state of conflict tension and competition that existed between the United States and the Soviet Union (USSR and their respective allies from the
It is also stated that the direct mandate of a president makes him or her more accountable. The reasoning behind this argument is that a prime minister is "shielded" from public opinion by the apparatus of state, being several steps removed. Critics of this view note, however, that presidents cannot typically be removed from power when their policies no longer reflect the wishes of the citizenry. (In the United States, presidents can only be removed by an Impeachment trial for "High Crimes and Misdemeanors," whereas prime ministers can typically be removed if they fail a motion of confidence in their government. A Motion of Confidence is a motion of support proposed by a government in a Parliament or other assembly of elected representatives to give members of parliament (or )
The fact that a presidential system separates the executive from the legislature is sometimes held up as an advantage, in that each branch may scrutinize the actions of the other. In a parliamentary system, the executive is drawn from the legislature, making criticism of one by the other considerably less likely. A formal condemnation of the executive by the legislature is often regarded to be a vote of no confidence. A motion of no confidence (also vote of no confidence, censure motion, no-confidence motion, or confidence motion) is a Parliamentary motion According to supporters of the presidential system, the lack of checks and balances means that misconduct by a prime minister may never be discovered. Writing about Watergate, Woodrow Wyatt, a former MP in the UK, said "don't think a Watergate couldn't happen here, you just wouldn't hear about it". The Watergate scandals were a series of Political scandals during the presidency of Richard Nixon that resulted in the Indictment of several of Nixon's Woodrow Lyle Wyatt Baron Wyatt of Weeford ( 4 July 1918 &ndash 7 December 1997) was a British Labour Party Politician (ibid)
Critics respond that if a presidential system's legislature is controlled by the president's party, the same situation exists. Proponents note that even in such a situation a legislator from the president's party is in a better position to criticize the president or his policies should he deem it necessary, since a president is immune to the effects of a motion of no confidence. In parliamentary systems, party discipline is much more strictly enforced. Party discipline is the ability of the Parliamentary group of a Political party to get its members to support the policies of the party leadership If a parliamentary backbencher publicly criticizes the executive or its policies to any significant extent then he/she faces a much higher prospect of losing his/her party's nomination, or even outright expulsion from the party. For other meanings see Backbench A backbencher is a Member of Parliament (MP or a legislator who does not hold governmental
Despite the existence of the no confidence vote, in practice, it is extremely difficult to stop a prime minister or cabinet that has made its decision. To vote down important legislation that has been proposed by the cabinet is considered to be a vote of no confidence is thus means the government falls and new elections must be held, a consequence few backbenchers are willing to endure. Hence, a no confidence vote in some parliamentary countries, like Britain, only occurs a few times in a century. In 1931, David Lloyd George told a select committee: "Parliament has really no control over the executive; it is a pure fiction. David Lloyd George 1st Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor OM, PC (17 January 1863 &ndash 26 March 1945 was a British Statesman and the only " (Schlesinger 1982)
Some supporters of presidential systems claim that presidential systems can respond more rapidly to emerging situations than parliamentary ones. A prime minister, when taking action, needs to retain the support of the legislature, but a president is often less constrained. In Why England Slept, future president John F. Kennedy said that Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain were constrained by the need to maintain the confidence of the Commons. Why England Slept (ISBN 0-313-22874-4 is the published version of a Thesis written by John F John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy (May 29 1917&ndashNovember 22 1963 often referred to by his initials JFK, was the thirty-fifth President of Stanley Baldwin 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, KG, PC (3 August 1867 &ndash 14 December 1947 was a British Conservative politician statesman and major Arthur Neville Chamberlain (18 March 1869 &ndash 9 November 1940 was a British Conservative Politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Other supporters of presidential systems sometimes argue in the exact opposite direction, however, saying that presidential systems can slow decision-making to beneficial ends. Divided government, where the presidency and the legislature are controlled by different parties, is said to restrain the excesses of both parties, and guarantee bipartisan input into legislation. In the United States, Republican Congressman Bill Frenzel wrote in 1995:
Despite a president's weakness in Congress, checks and balances did not interfere with the legislative programs of Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, or Lyndon Johnson.
Although most parliamentary governments go long periods of time without a no confidence vote, Italy, Israel , and the French Fourth Republic have all experienced difficulties maintaining stability. Italy (Italia officially the Italian Republic, (Repubblica Italiana is located on the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe, and on the two largest For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Israel topics. The founding of the Fourth Republic (1944-47 See also Three Parties, Third Force (France European Unity The creation of the When parliamentary systems have multiple parties and governments are forced to rely on coalitions, as they do in nations that use a system of proportional representation, extremist parties can theoretically use the threat of leaving a coalition to further their agendas. Proportional representation (sometimes referred to as full representation or PR is a category of electoral formula aiming at a close match between the percentage of votes
Many people consider presidential systems to be more able to survive emergencies. A country under enormous stress may, supporters argue, be better off being led by a president with a fixed term than rotating premierships. France during the Algerian controversy switched to a semi-presidential system as did Sri Lanka during its civil war, while Israel experimented with a directly elected prime minister in 1992. This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics. The Algerian War ( French: Guerre d'Algérie; 1954-1962 also known as Algerian War of Independence, led to Algeria 's independence from The semi-presidential system is a System of government in which a prime minister and a President are both active participants in the day-to-day administration Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka ( Sinhalese:, இலங்கை known as Ceylon before 1972 is an Island For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Israel topics. In France and Sri Lanka, the results are widely considered to have been positive. However, in the case of Israel, an unprecedented proliferation of smaller parties occurred, leading to the restoration of the previous system of selecting a prime minister.
The fact that elections are fixed in a presidential system is considered to be a welcome "check" on the powers of the executive, contrasting parliamentary systems, which often allow the prime minister to call elections whenever he sees fit, or orchestrate his own vote of no confidence to trigger an election when he cannot get a legislative item passed. The presidential model is said to discourage this sort of opportunism, and instead force the executive to operate within the confines of a term he cannot alter to suit his own needs. Theoretically, if a president's positions and actions have had a positive impact on their respective country, then it is likely that their party's candidate (possibly they) will be elected for another term in office.
Critics generally claim three basic disadvantages for presidential systems:
Winning the presidency is a winner-take-all, zero-sum prize. A prime minister who does not enjoy a majority in the legislature will have to either form a coalition or, if he is able to lead a minority government, govern in a manner acceptable to at least some of the opposition parties. Even if the prime minister leads a majority government, he must still govern within (perhaps unwritten) constraints as determined by the members of his party - a premier in this situation is often at greater risk of losing his party leadership than his party is at risk of losing the next election. On the other hand, once elected a president can not only marginalize the influence of other parties, but can exclude rival factions in his own party as well, or even leave the party whose ticket he was elected under. The president can thus rule without any allies for the duration of one or possibly consecutive terms, a worrisome situation for many interest groups. Juan Linz argues that
Constitutions that only require plurality support are said to be especially undesirable, as significant power can be vested in a person who does not enjoy support from a majority of the population.
Some political scientists go further, and argue that presidential systems have difficulty sustaining democratic practices, noting that presidentialism has slipped into authoritarianism in many of the countries in which it has been implemented. Seymour Martin Lipset and others are careful to point out that this has taken place in political cultures unconducive to democracy, and that militaries have tended to play a prominent role in most of these countries. Seymour Martin Lipset ( March 18, 1922 – December 31, 2006) was an American Political sociologist. Nevertheless, certain aspects of the presidential system may have played a role in some situations.
In a presidential system, the legislature and the president have equally valid mandates from the public. There is often no way to reconcile conflict between the branches of government. When president and legislature are at loggerheads and government is not working effectively, there is a powerful incentive to employ extra-constitutional maneuvres to break the deadlock.
Ecuador is sometimes presented as a case study of democratic failures over the past quarter-century. For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Ecuador topics. Presidents have ignored the legislature or bypassed it altogether. One president had the National Assembly teargassed, while another was kidnapped by paratroopers until he agreed to certain congressional demands. From 1979 through 1988, Ecuador staggered through a succession of executive-legislative confrontations that created a near permanent crisis atmosphere in the policy. In 1984, President León Febres Cordero tried to physically bar new Congressionally-appointed supreme court appointees from taking their seats. León Febres Cordero Ribadeneyra (born March 9, 1931) was President of Ecuador for a four-year term 10 August 1984 to In Brazil, presidents have accomplished their objectives by creating executive agencies over which Congress had no say (Checks and Balances, pp 34-35). |utc_offset = -2 to -4 |time_zone_DST = BRST |utc_offset_DST = -2 to -5 |cctld
It should be noted that this alleged authoritarian tendency is often best seen in unitary states that have presidential systems. Federal states, with multiple state (or provincial) governments that are semi-sovereign, provide additional checks on authoritarian tendencies. This can be seen in the United States, where there are 50 states, each semi-sovereign, each having their own 3 branch elected government (governor, legislature, court system), police, emergency response system, and defense force (National Guard). If an extreme extraconstitutional excession (such as the President dissolving the Congress) occurred within the Federal government of the United States, it would not result in the President being able to rule dictatorially, as (s)he would have to deal with the 50 state governments, which have a tendency to act in a very prickly fashion when the Federal government infringes on their rights.
Presidential systems are said by critics not to offer voters the kind of accountability seen in parliamentary systems. It is easy for either the president or Congress to escape blame by blaming the other. Describing the United States, former Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon said "the president blames Congress, the Congress blames the president, and the public remains confused and disgusted with government in Washington". Clarence Douglas Dillon ( August 21, 1909 &ndash January 10, 2003) son of Clarence and Ann (Douglass Dillon was U (Checks and Balances, 10).
In Congressional Government, Woodrow Wilson asked,
Consider the example of the increase in the federal debt of the United States that occurred during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. Arguably, the deficits were the product of a bargain between President Reagan and Speaker of the House of Representatives Tip O'Neill: O'Neill agreed not to oppose Reagan's tax cuts if Reagan would sign the Democrats' budget. Thomas Phillip "Tip" O'Neill Jr ( December 9, 1912 &ndash January 5, 1994) was an American politician. Each side could claim to be displeased with the debt, plausibly blame the other side for the deficit, and still tout its own success.
On the other hand, many observers believe that federal budget surpluses of the late 1990s in the United States were a direct result of divided government. A Republican Congress refused to allow Democratic President Bill Clinton to increase domestic spending, while Clinton refused to allow Congress to cut taxes. The combination of spending restraint and high revenues led to the elimination of the annual budget deficit.
Another alleged problem of presidentialism is that it is often difficult to remove a president from office early. Even if a president is "proved to be inefficient, even if he becomes unpopular, even if his policy is unacceptable to the majority of his countrymen, he and his methods must be endured until the moment comes for a new election. " (Balfour, intro to the English Constitution). Consider John Tyler, who only became president because William Henry Harrison had died after thirty days. John Tyler Jr (March 29 1790 January 18 1862 was the tenth President of the United States (1841-1845 and the first ever to obtain that office via succession This article is about the general and president For his great-great-grandson see William H Tyler refused to sign Whig legislation, was loathed by his nominal party, but remained firmly in control of the executive branch. Since there is no legal way to remove an unpopular president, many presidential countries have experienced military coups to remove a leader who is said to have lost his mandate.
In parliamentary systems, unpopular leaders such as Tyler can be quickly removed by a vote of no confidence, a procedure which is reckoned to be a "pressure release valve" for political tension. Votes of no confidence are easier to achieve in minority government situations, but even if the unpopular leader heads a majority government, nonetheless he is often in a far less secure position than a president. A minority government or a minority cabinet is a Cabinet of a Parliamentary system formed when the governing Political party or In the Westminster System, there is a majority government when the governing party enjoys an Absolute majority of seats in the Legislature or Removing a president through impeachment is a process mandated by the constitution and is usually made into a very difficult process, by comparison the process of removing a party leader is governed by the (often much less formal) rules of the party in question. Impeachment is the first of two stages in a specific process for a legislative body to forcibly remove a Government official Nearly all parties (including governing parties) have a relatively simple and straightforward process for removing their leaders. If a premier sustains a serious enough blow to his/her populatiry and refuses to resign on his/her own prior to the next election, then members of his/her party face the prospect of losing their seats. So other prominent party members have a very strong incentive to initiate a leadership challenge in hopes of mitigating damage to the party. More often than not, a premier facing a serious challenge will resolve to save face by resigning before he/she is formally removed - Margaret Thatcher's relinquishing of her premiership being a prominent, recent example. A resignation is the formal act of giving up or quitting one's office or position Margaret Hilda Thatcher Baroness Thatcher LG, OM, PC, FRS (born 13 October 1925
In The English Constitution, Walter Bagehot criticized presidentialism because it does not allow a transfer in power in the event of an emergency.
Years later, Bagehot's observation came to life during World War II, when Neville Chamberlain was replaced with Winston Churchill. Arthur Neville Chamberlain (18 March 1869 &ndash 9 November 1940 was a British Conservative Politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC, PC (Can ( 30 November 1874 It should be noted however that during both WWI and WWII the U. World War I (abbreviated WWI; also known as the First World War, the Great War, and the War to End All World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including S. presidency did not change hands for the majority of these conflicts (Harry Truman becoming president in 1945 upon Roosevelt's death). Year 1945 ( MCMXLV) was a Common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar Woodrow Wilson had in fact been re-elected on an isolationist platform, yet the U. Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28 1856—February 3 1924 was the twenty-eighth President of the United States. Isolationism is a Foreign policy which combines a non-interventionist military policy and a political policy of Economic nationalism ( Protectionism S did not suffer a crisis of leadership, so the validity of this argument remains in doubt.
Finally, many have criticized presidential systems for their alleged slowness in responding to their citizens' needs. Often, the checks and balances make action extremely difficult. Walter Bagehot said of the American system "the executive is crippled by not getting the law it needs, and the legislature is spoiled by having to act without responsibility: the executive becomes unfit for its name, since it cannot execute what it decides on; the legislature is demoralized by liberty, by taking decisions of others [and not itself] will suffer the effects". (ibid. )
A number of key theoretical differences exist between a presidential and a cabinet system:
Presidential systems also have fewer ideological parties than parliamentary systems. Sometimes in the United States, the policies preferred by the two parties have been very similar (but see also polarization). In Politics, polarization is the process by which the public opinion divides and goes to the extremes In the 1960s, during the leadership of Lyndon Johnson, the Senate Democrats included the right-most members of the chamber - Harry Byrd and Strom Thurmond, and the left-most members - Paul Douglas and Herbert Lehman. In Politics, right-wing, the political right, and the Right are positions that uphold traditional values and/or authorities Harry Byrd or Bird may refer to Harry Byrd (baseball (1925&ndash1985 Harry F James Strom Thurmond ( December 5, 1902 – June 26, 2003) was an American politician who served as governor of South Carolina and Paul Howard Douglas (March 26 1892 &ndash September 24 1976 was an American politician and University of Chicago economist. Herbert Henry Lehman (March 28 1878 December 5 1963 was a Democratic Party politician from the U This pattern prevails in Latin American presidential democracies and the Philippines as well.
In reality, elements of both systems overlap. Though a president in a presidential system does not have to choose a government answerable to the legislature, the legislature may have the right to scrutinise his or her appointments to high governmental office, with the right, on some occasions, to block an appointment. In the United States, many appointments must be confirmed by the Senate. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the The United States Senate is the Upper house of the bicameral United States Congress, the Lower house being the House of Representatives By contrast, though answerable to parliament, a parliamentary system's cabinet may be able to make use of the parliamentary 'whip' (an obligation on party members in parliament to vote with their party) to control and dominate parliament, reducing its ability to control the government. Whip is a role in party-based politics whose primary purpose is to ensure control of the formal decision-making process in a parliamentary legislature
Some countries, such as France have similarly evolved to such a degree that they can no longer be accurately described as either presidential or parliamentary-style governments, and are instead grouped under the category of semi-presidential system. This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics. The semi-presidential system is a System of government in which a prime minister and a President are both active participants in the day-to-day administration