What Is More Effective Form Of Government? Presidential Or Parliamentary?


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This is a subjective question based on how you wish to measure their respective achievements.

They have their pros and cons. Parliamentary government often leads to coalitions, which means that more people's votes are given a stronger say as their party will probably have a say in policy making. It also leads to parties having to co-operate rather than argue - you can see this in countries such as Scotland, the Netherlands and Germany where coalitions are regular. Thus, the policies that come out have probably been worded to suit all parties and, therefore, more people in general.

However, there is no guarantee that parliamentary government leads to coalitions. Westminster is the best example where for the past 10 years Labour have been able to push through legislation with no opposition based on their majority in government. This means that other parties are next-to-powerless in having a direct say in these policies. This trend will likely continue if the Conservatives are to win a majority in 2010.

Presidential government is not really a government style, as one needs to look at the USA where it is Congress that largely decides the domestic policy in their respective states. The president himself appears to be more of an international spokesman who spearheads foreign rather than domestic policy. It can be effective in that the president is able to veto legislation as a counterweight against Congress, and he is in turn kept in check by the Supreme Court. Thus, presidential government based on the US system is fairly balanced, but it is Congress where most of domestic policy is decided.

To answer your question directly, it really depends on your own view. Personally I prefer parliamentary style as it is a greater representation of democracy, and as one sees in the US, it is more Congress, a parliamentary-style organ, that regulates policy in the country. You also need to compare statistics such as teenage pregnancies, crime rates etc in European countries that largely use parliaments rather than presidential styles of government - that, to me, is a good way to measure their respective effects.

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