What is Better – a Presidential or a Parliamentary System?

Subject: Political
Type: Argumentative Essay
Pages: 10
Word count: 2527
Topics: Political Science, Democracy, Government


A government is an agency, machine, or organization via which a single political unit largely exercises its control and authority. It also administers various public policies as well. Most importantly, the government formulates different regulations and laws so as to maintain cordial relationships with other countries and regulate economies. Apart from these, the services and infrastructures are also taken care by the government of a nation. There are various political regimes which can be witnessed within the jurisdiction of various countries.  For example, both the authoritarian and democratic governments are evident in a nation. In the first scenario, i.e., the democratic system, people manage their representative or the government itself. On the other hand, in the authoritarian government system, the citizens can hardly interfere in the workings of government. One of the most renowned personalities who familiarized people with the concept of democracy is still remembered by the global citizens. Even the concept itself is relevant in this generation also. Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that the democracy can be witnessed when a government is formed mostly, for the people of a country. Hence, it should also be formed by them. The constitutional design is an important concept in the case of government formation. However, the choice between the hybrid, presidential, and parliamentary government system is quite difficult. The differences between these three regimes are observable in regards to the legislative, state executive, and judiciary’s workings. In fact, the United States also has a presidential government system which can be noticed by analyzing the way it works. Its reflections can be noticed corresponding to the U.S.’s political culture. Some of the countries which embraced the parliamentary regime include Japan, Israel, U.K. and other nations of the continental Europe. On the other hand, the nations which were also British colonies opted for the same. Alternatively, the hybrid model is quite interesting because some characteristics of both the systems are prevalent in this case. The jurisdictions having this model are Poland, Ghana, Portugal, and Bulgaria. Hence, in this paper, it will be elucidated whether the parliamentary or presidential regime of government is better. 

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Presidential government 

In this system, the president is always answerable to all the citizens or voters. After all, it is their votes that makes him the representative of the nation. He later appoints his secretaries or cabinet of ministers. Usually, these ministers are not the legislative members as well. However, their appointment may not need the consent or advice of any legislative branch. It is mainly because all other senior officials are appointed or elected separately. One of the distinctiveness of presidential system is the separation of powers. Both the legislative and executive branches are not dependent on each other. On the contrary, the president hardly has any control on the appointed cabinet even though they often serve according to his or her instructions. U.S. has the most fortified influence in respect to presidentialism. On the contrary, the legislatures often demonstrate significant powers. The legislative and executive’s powers are distinct from one another. 

The President cannot remove anyone immaturely, especially the legislature member. On the contrary, the legislative’s lower chamber must be involved in this case. For example, they must vote for removing any member. As a result, unlike the parliamentary system, even if the President represents on behalf of the minority political party he will remain elected and in power, for the pre-determined tenure. The party from which the President belongs may become minority in both the houses and either one of them. Apart from all these aspects, there are many nations which have also implemented other additional constitutional checks for exploitation of the presidential power and position. For example, in U.S., the President will never be allowed to retain the position for one or two consecutive terms. 

Parliamentary government 

On contrary to the presidential systems, often the parliamentary systems are characterized by the fusion of both the executive and legislative branches. The Prime Minister also gets elected in the similar fashion like other legislative members. However, the P.M. is considered to be the chief executive. He is also the party leader who enjoys the majority of legislature’s votes. In fact, he is directly appointed as the parliamentary member who is endowed the power to appoint ministers of the Cabinet. Both the legislature and executive’s constituency are same. For instance, the executive gets altered if the ruling party of the legislature is voted out. As a result, the government cannot thrive without the continuous cooperation between the legislature and executive members. Moreover, the programs cannot be carried out successfully without proper effort from both the sides. In contrast to the presidential system, the supreme power is held by the legislature, in the case of parliamentary regime.
Arguably, there is no such distinction of power between the executive and legislature branches. Hence, hardly any difference in the balances and checks can be witnessed like that of the presidential regime. Furthermore, the head of the state and central are also not the same in the parliamentary system. 

The Prime Minister is subject to removal only via two ways, from his or her office. Firstly, a no-confidence motion can be passed, which is often petitioned by none other than the coalition of two or more parties from the opposition forte. On the second instance, the P.M. can be removed largely by his or her designated party members. 

Nations such as Germany and Australia govern via the parliamentary government form. Australia’s parliamentary form is equivalent to that of the Great Britain. The two houses are House of Representatives and the Senate. On the other hand, it resembles with the U.S.’s political regime. Both the minority and majority parties actually face off almost regularly so as to discuss about the legislation. In fact, taunting and shouting cannot be avoided between them at all. The P.M. also contributes in this process by expressing his heartfelt opinions, for holistic development of the nations. 

A whole lot of advantages associated with the parliamentary government can be witnessed. For example, its effectiveness cannot be denied at all. The parliament and the executives remain unified majorly. As a result, the government can definitely opt for the time saving aspect because of the promptness of actions. The majority is always given more importance. Hence, the “blame game” remains as low as possible, in this scenario. Contradictorily, in the Presidential regime, the Congress and President may represent distinct parties. However, theoretically, it can be accounted as the power check aspect. It can actually lead to gridlock as well. For example, in U.S., during the year 2013, both the Congress as well as the President were not able to come in terms for debt crisis resolution. It can also lead to shutdown of the government as well. Arguably, in the case of parliamentary form of government, if any law is not adequately popular then the entire responsibility is on the shoulders of government. The opposition party cannot be blamed for anything, at any cost. As a result, the citizens of a nation are also likely to know and accuse the one who is in power, i.e., the majority party. Therefore, the opposition is always in the secure zone. On the contrary, the President do possess a lot more power than the Prime Minister, in the system of presidential regime. However, in this case, the President can become more authoritarian. Arguably, if the President is not popular then also he cannot be removed easily. On the other hand, the P.M. has to continuously prove him, in front of both the houses as well as the public to refrain from being impeached. The Prime Minister is often removed overnight, if he or she does not fulfill the public’s expectations or look after the nation’s wellbeing. 

When a single boss represents a nation, it is very difficult to establish fairness. Resultantly, the parliamentary system may prove to be fair enough for the citizens, in the long-run. However, there is always some exceptions to the theories pertaining to the Political Science. For example, United States proved that the unemployment rate, social injustice, and discrimination can be eliminated to a large extent, by a popular President. It is one of those scenarios which was evident during the tenure of Barack Obama. On the other hand, the India’s parliamentary system of politics never sufficed to save the nation from various forms of corruption. The latter one is a case of almost all the developing nations. In fact, the strive to become number one and developed nation is only manifested in the form of maleficent motives of different political leaders.  

The government’s accountability is enhanced in the parliamentary system. As a result, the government’s actions are always scrutinized by the citizens. On the other hand, in presidential regime, misuse of the endowed power is extremely less and thus, the government’s functioning is also quite efficient. Even the political evils are witnessed less. The President always possesses the most amount of power and hence, its distribution is less. When the power is distributed less-frequently, less is its misuse. It is quite effective in the time of implementing policies during the time of wars. The absence of daily administration and excess influence of the parties often lead to the disruption of political functioning. In these types of situations, both the influence and quick decisions of the parties help a country to escape from the political issues easily. 

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Which one is better?

The presidential system is considered to be superior than the parliamentary system from every sphere. For instance, in terms of accountability, voting system, and many more. Even the public do not get the opportunity to select their representatives. They cannot directly intervene in the election process. Most of the tasks are left in the hands of various parties. Other than these, the parties tend to be more selfish and possess malicious motives than the citizens. Right from control over the government to the legislators is prominent in the parliamentary system. Each and every one can elect a nation’s President, like in U.S.; however, some countries allow the parliament’s majority to vote for electing the Prime Minister. On the contrary, this very change leads to a large number of manifestations. For example, the Presidents have the liberty to join from outside, unlike in the case of process followed in a parliamentary regime. Many of the U.S.’s Republican candidates once held the public offices. Hence, it is not necessary to be an insider of the party. Interestingly, this aspect is not only totally absent in the case of parliamentary regime but it cannot be established all together, at least, in the near future. Furthermore, the citizens’ opinions are of prime importance. For example, a majority of the Americans actually want their President to be chosen in this manner. 

Democracy is something which should not only be witnessed in the case of theories and bookish explanations. At least, the citizens of any nation do not want the same. For example, in true sense, democracy is not established until and unless the citizens get the chance to decide what type of representative they want. As a result, it is one of those choices which largely remain absent in the case of parliamentary system. 

Alternatively, it cannot be argued that corruption may not be there in either of the democratic regime. It is actually studded in a country’s political culture. The best leader is chosen by the party in a parliamentary form while the popularity of the candidate is given more importance in the presidential regime. Election cost spent is extremely high in the presidential elections; one corrupt leader can ruin the entire system. Even though most of the successful countries have the parliamentary form government yet U.S. has reach the zenith of success by following an exceptional regime, i.e., the presidential regime. 

Evaluation in the light of theories 

The advocates of parliamentary system always favor the mechanism of removing all the lousy leaders. It is possible because of the innate structure.  Moreover, according to them, the executives get ample chance to engage themselves in the decision-making process. The same is absolutely absent in its counterpart system. Hence, the end-result is somewhat related to the competency of the members. In most of the cases, the parliamentary system’s politicians tend to remain largely competent in comparison to that of the representatives of the presidential regime. Secrecy can be maintained in the presidential form, vividly, while getting all the beans often get spilled in the parliamentary system. For example, many of the top-secret missions of Obama became successful, in regards to the international relation. On the other hand, nations following the parliamentary system often witness that the news about political actions come to the forefront promptly because of the higher corruption level. There are mainly three forms of democracy; they are substantive, deliberative, and procedure. Furthermore, the traditional theories of democracy mostly promote the idea of majority rule. Even it proclaims how everyone must be included in the election procedure. However, the same is violated to a greater extent in the parliamentary government system. After all, all the citizens are not getting such an opportunity. It is not possible for everyone to join one or the other party. There are many people who have reluctance towards the unpleasantness of politics and the political system. According to the democracy’s elite theory, majority of the influence and political power is actually held by none other than a small group or individuals. Hence, the elites are preferred disproportionately than the common people, in this type of democracy. On the other hand, the common interests are promoted and safeguarded in the pluralist theory pertaining to the democracy, by not letting any single industry, agency, or group to dominate the political regime. Even though the pluralist theory is negated by the presidential government form yet the basic concept of the people’s government is still maintained. On the other hand, the parliamentary government system abides by the regulations and structure of pluralist democracy; however, it cannot establish a people’s government in the true sense. 

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It cannot be denied that both of the governmental regimes have their own drawbacks and merits. As a result, it is important to understand that the less of corruption level is always beneficial for a nation, as in the case of presidential system while public can get a clearer view of the governmental proceedings in a parliamentary system. Hence, it is quite transparent how none of the governmental regime can ever satisfy the citizens’ demands completely. The pluralist theory supports the parliamentary regime while the elite theory corresponds to the presidential government. On the other hand, the latter one truly follows the aspect of people’s government in every sense. In order to establish a political regime, it is more important for the citizens to express their opinions. As a result, once their opinions are evaluated one of the above forms of government can be instituted. However, the success of U.S. is quite envious, which has been possible only because of the preference of the citizens’ choices. Therefore, the presidential government should be opted for providing the maximum value to the opinions of a nation’s citizens. 

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