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What Are The Similarities Between The Parliamentary And Presidential Systems Of Government?

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Mark Henderson answered
Parliamentary and Presidential forms of democratic government are very different systems of governing a state. However, they do have some aspects in common:

Similarities Between the Parliamentary (Westminster) system and Presidential (Washington) systems.
  • Both are ruled by some form of constitution, which defines how the state should be governed and enshrines the rights of citizens in the law. 
  • Parliamentary and Presidential systems both use a method of representative democracy. This means that the people elect a politician to represent their views in an elected house.
  • Both systems have a head of state, albeit in different forms.
  • The Westminster and Washington systems both utilize bi-cameral models of governance.
Differences between the systems.
  • The Westminster system employs a head of state (the monarch) and a head of the government (the Prime Minister) - whereas, in the Presidential system, these roles are both undertaken by the President.
  • The Washington system employs a strict separation of powers, whereas the Westminster model promotes joined-up governance.
  • The legislative process is usually quicker and involves less scrutiny in the Parliamentary system.
  • Most Parliamentary systems use a flexible term of government, whereas Presidential terms are almost always fixed at four years.
  • Parliamentary systems usually have uncodified constitutions which have evolved over time. Presidential systems almost always use a codified constitutional document.
The Parliamentary and Presidential forms of democracy are the two basic systems used by democratic states across the world, and both have benefits and pitfalls. The Westminster system was developed over time in Great Britain and has taken centuries to evolve, whereas the Washington system came about through revolution and was founded on liberal beliefs.

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