Has prime ministerial leadership become presidentialised

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Introduction

In the parliamentary or semi-presidential system of government, the prime minister holds a very senior position in the government, since he or she remains the head of the cabinet. In many parliamentary systems of government, the prime minister has the power to appoint and dismiss other members if the cabinet, including the different ministers in various dockets. He or she allocates posts to the government’s officials who take orders from him or her. Similarly, he or she is the presiding member and chairperson of the cabinet. On the other hand, the prime minister in a semi-presidential system is appointed to lead the activities in the civil service who actually executes the directives of the president. Something worth underscoring is that the prime minister heads the government while the president heads the state.  However, this is different from the presidential system where the president is the head of state as well as the government. Having understood the various roles served by the prime minister in the different systems of government, it is imperative to qualify or disqualify the fact the position is actually becoming presidentialised.

The Case Study of the United Kingdom, Israel and the United States of America among Other Nations

Many thinkers have tried to examine the prime minister of the United Kingdom to investigate the role in line with the position of the president. For the commentators, the British prime minister is becoming more of a president than the leader of the government alone. To begin with, the reigns of Winston Churchill as well as Gladstone were witnessed with the enhanced resources for the prime minister’s office together with the growth of the political advisers (Denver. and Hands 1993, 230). They similarly had frequent cabinet committee meetings, which also saw the one on one meeting with different cabinet ministers, instead of the general cabinet decision-making process. In other words, increased resource allocation to the office of the prime minister indicates that the position is becoming more powerful compared to other ministers, which inherently shows that it is becoming presidential.

In addition, the nature of events and the way the office of the prime minister is becoming empowered is worrying even the presidents. The parliamentary system is seen to be giving much power to the prime ministers at the detriments of the presidents. In this respect, it is ostensible that the prime ministers are becoming more powerful as opposed to what had been happening initially. Even though their roles are different, their offices are likely becoming similar. In the United States of America, the president performs all the executive arm of the government, though the president relies on the legislature to formulate the policies that help in running the government. However, in the United Kingdom, the legislative functions emanates from the executive.

For some thinkers, the increased personalization of political matters by the prime minister in the United Kingdom depicts a greater power of the office. Furthermore, the increased attention by the media to the office of the prime minister is an indication that the post is attracting more power than it has ever had before. In the United Kingdom, the prime minister sets the agenda to control the functions of the government, while the president only plays the veto role. In this precept, the president decides what to be done only through the persuasion of the members, while the prime minister decides on what the government should do. The British government system has become more prime ministerial as well as being presidential. The prime minister is indeed gaining more powers in the parliamentary systems, which can be compared to that of the president.

The thirty-fourth government of Israel has become increasingly popular as the fourth Netanyahu Government, which is headed by the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Formed in March 2015 after the Knesset elections, the government has been adamant under the leadership of Netanyahu, who presides over the government functions including the overseas bilateral negotiations. The Knesset government is a coalition administration, which consists of different parties like Likud, United Torah Judaism, Shas, Kulanu and the Jewish Home. Before the elections in March 2015, Netanyahu had in December 2014dismissed two of his ministers after their parties had resigned from the thirty-third Israeli government. This actually shows how powerful Netanyahu has been as powerful as the prime minister of the Israel Republic, which indicates that the position is becoming more powerful. As a result, it is ostensibly vivid from this understanding that the prime ministerial role has become more presidential. He or she allocates posts to the government’s officials who take orders from him or her. Similarly, he or she is the managing member and chairperson of the cabinet.

In the recent years, the position of the prime minister has been seen gaining lots of strengths and functions. The leaders have received high profile recognition, which implies that they should present themselves in the public spheres as authoritative leaders, not merely as those who represent their organizations. They are required to serve the interests of the people they represent in a more visible manner. They should demonstrate the responsiveness of the governing authority and process to advance the hope of meeting the expectations of the public. They should be charismatic leaders with the high level of leadership skills as well as mastering the favorite techniques of communication in order to be able to manage their offices efficiently. This is the same element of expectation, which the countries under the presidential systems expect from the presidents.

Some countries have both the presidents and the prime ministers, more so the ones with the parliamentary democracies. The prime minister retains the power to control the government and the ruling party, while the president remains the head of the state. In other words, the prime minister is the chief executive officer and the leader of the ruling party. On the other hand, the head of state has the function of controlling the state functions, and in the constitutional monarchies, the authority to state powers is preserved to the monarchs (Golder 2015, 9). The head of state may similarly remain highly significant to solve electoral disputes, which depict that there is no clear majority winner in order to create a coalition government. According to Kolltveit (pp. 180), the relationship between the prime minister and president is more vested in the personal authority. For example, Vladimir Putin of Russia commands a lot of respect and influences more authority in the prime minister compared to other countries. If that happens, the state becomes more of oligarchy, something that has been seen among other African countries.  In this understanding, the president is chosen as an arbiter in an election problem, though commands a lot of authority.

As has been explicated earlier in this analysis, the prime minister has the authority to conduct most of the activities in the government. For instance, David Cameron has increasingly exploited his office to the extent that it gives an imprint of individual supremacy instead of the collective cabinet decision-making that has been common to other prime ministers. This indicates that the power of the prime minister is becoming more eminent than before. Moreover, the prime ministers currently seek the support of the political and media advisors in order to undertake their functions (Mughan 2000, 31). In Tony Blair’s administration, the press secretary Alastair Campbell was so compelling that other people referred to him as the real deputy prime minister. Looking this alongside the presidential systems, such as the United States of America, the president works alongside very powerful advisors that help him or her in defining the directions for the government activities. In Cameron’s administration, Andy Coulson and Steve Hill have become more attached to him than the other cabinet members.

Similarly, there has been an increased phenomenon, whereby the people are more interested and concerned about the leader of the government more than the other leaders. As a result, if the prime minister is the head of state, then he or she remains a great figure in the republic than any other leader. This has been the main contribution and the reason why prime ministers have been seen to be so dominant in the social media and the media houses like the televisions (Qvortrup 2006, 90. The prime minister has been getting more coverage of the media in the Israeli government more than other leaders. In addition, it has likewise been reiterated by some analysts that the prime ministers have been extending personal authorities beyond their official authority. In another instance, the current United Kingdom prime minister is accused of personally changing the party and government policies at his own whims. In the same way, most of the prime ministers copy the tactics used by the presidents, more so of the United States of America in order to control their governments. Therefore, the prime ministerial position has been twisted in most of the parliamentary and semi-presidential systems to reflect that of the president.

Even though the prime ministers today do not take much interest in their cabinets, it is not wise to disregard them, as they are the primary drivers of the government policies. For instance, the opposition in the United Kingdom has accused David Cameron of running the communist party in a presidential manner (Webb 2007, 18). However, this trend of leadership would lead to very devastating consequences. For example, Tony Blair tried to make his position so personal, something that made him rejected with the people, including those perceived to be within his inner circles. On another instance, other leaders have tried to perform better, such as Mrs. Thatcher who had a vast majority of support, something that helped her reign to attract considerable economic growth. In addition, Mrs. Thatcher was a very charismatic leader, and that made her achieve a lot of growth and stability in her leadership. This indicates that even though some leaders have tried to make the position of the prime minister to look like an official one, some leaders like Thatcher have sought to make good use of their offices. Therefore, the prime ministerial position is becoming more presidential, but not to some leaders that are determined to deliver excellent services to the people.

Something worth noting is that the abuse of office is a personal and something that is influenced by an individual personality. Even though certain changes and developments have been made in regards to the roles and duties of the prime minister, some leaders control a lot in the way the office is conducted (Dowding 2013, 57). For the leaders with good policies, their offices attract numerous things that their followers would smile about for that matter. As coined out herein, the prime minister’s role requires the leaders to be seen in the public sphere while discharging their services. Furthermore, the empowered position of the prime minister’s position gets its strength from the legislature. As some leaders are seen to be attracting more influence and power in their offices, there must be either the laxity or support of the executive, which is spread to the legislature to provide the supporting window. In India, the prime minister has gotten enough grounds to undertake the important government decisions due to the authority is given to them by the legislature. They hold numerous bilateral talks with other presidents from the foreign countries even without the consultations with the executive entirely.

The prime minister remains the head of the government, and this has made the post so attractive and compelling more than an individual would imagine. This has made the holders of the office more obsessed with power to ensure that they attract more influence and resources to make them so powerful and influential. They similarly have the political and administrative tags, which give then the access of knowledge and experience of the central government, something that is controlled by presidents in a presidential system of the government (Karvonen 2010, 21). The ability to prepare and organize the policy agenda as well as leading the government has made them pride themselves more than enough, which has led them to look more presidential. Therefore, the institutional strength and resources make the prime ministers so recognized and powerful in their capacity.

In addition, being the party leader has made them earn the standard reputation that drives them to the point of seeing themselves as prominent people more than people would think of them. They are highly associated with the political success, something that makes them electorally famous in their countries. In countries like the United Kingdom, the prime minister is also the leader of the popular party. However, the roles and the perception of the people in one instance makes the prime ministers look more prominent, which in essence makes it more presidential than prime ministerial (Aarts, Blais and Schmitt 2013, 13). This explicitly indicates that even though their roles are different, their offices are likely becoming similar. For example, in the United States of America, the president performs all the executive arm of the government, though the president relies on the legislature to formulate the policies that help in running the government. It is incredibly true that the institutionalization of the position of the prime minister in many countries has given so unimaginable strengths to it. However, it is similarly true that self-ego and personality have contributed a lot in making it stronger, in such a manner that makes it presidential. Therefore, the prime ministerial role contemporarily looks more presidential than prime ministerial.

Various thoughts have alluded to the fact that the office of the prime minister in different countries is becoming highly potent (Hayao 2014, 11). As has been highlighted in this dictum, the prime minister in both the parliamentary and the semi-presidential system has the role of discharging the duties of managing the government while the president remains the head of state. However, it has been observed lately that the prime ministers are becoming more obsessed with power and looking forward to extending their authority to cover even what is not sorted for them. Maybe to the fact that they possess the high level of political stature, they feel that they should attract more powers and influence within their spheres. As they draw more resources to support their political growth, it is regrettable that they abuse their powers for personal interests.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is imperative to underscore the fact that the prime ministers in their trails have influenced their power, making it more of the president rather than prime ministerial. The prime minister in the United Kingdom has been accused of over financing his office and spreading his power to favor other individuals selectively. David Cameron has been accused of maintaining close advisors, something that has been witnessed by the presidents. In this precept, the prime minister tries to copy what happens in the United States of America in order to brand his office. Tony Blair’s administration attracted the press secretary Alastair Campbell as an advisor and was so powerful that other people referred to him as the real deputy prime minister.

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  2. Denver, D. and Hands, G., 1993. Measuring the intensity and effectiveness of constituency campaigning in the 1992 general election. British Elections & Parties Yearbook, 3(1), pp.229-242.
  3. Dowding, K., 2013. Prime-ministerial power institutional and personal factors. Understanding Prime-Ministerial Performance: Comparative Perspectives, p.57.
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  5. Hayao, K., 2014. The Japanese prime minister and public policy. University of Pittsburgh Pre.
  6. Karvonen, L., 2010. The personalisation of politics: a study of parliamentary democracies. Ecpr Press.
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  8. Mughan, A., 2000. Media and the presidentialization of parliamentary elections. Springer.
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  10. Webb, P.D., 2007. The presidentialization of politics: A comparative study of modern democracies. Oxford University Press on Demand.
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