Comparative Politics February 16th, 2010 ? Notes Homework: Take Home Quiz On Sakai -Political Institutions -Presidential Systems -Key characteristics: -President who is directly elected by the people -Fixed term -Separation of Power -President and his cabinet are completely separate of legislative branch -Dependent on legislature to pass laws -Presidential Roles: -Head of Government ? Executes laws the legislative branch makes -Head of State ? Representative of our country to the world -Weakness of a Presidential System: -Deadlock ? Different ideologies with legislative branch, tough to get anything done because of dependence on legislative branch to pass laws -Difficult to remove from office ? Impeachment process -May cause regime instability -Mandate that maybe overriding -Dual role of head of government and head of state -Balancing competing interests -Strengths of a Presidential System: -Difficult to remove from office ? may contribute to regime stability -Mandate that maybe overriding ? may contribute to national unity -Parliamentary Systems -Key characteristics: -Prime Minister is selected by governing coalition or majority party -Prime Minister is in power until the coalition breaks -Governing coalition is no longer the governing coalition -Or prime minister can be voted out by a vote of ?no confidence? Stay in power as long as governing party or coalition in power and/or retains the confidence of the parliament and/or cabinet -Interdependence -Prime minister and cabinet have some say in legislative functions -Prime Minister Roles -Serves only as Head of Government -Does not serve as Head of State -Weaknesses of a Parliamentary System: - -Strengths of a Parliamentary System: -Cooperation between Prime Minister and Parliamentarians -Proportional representation allows for a diversity of interests in parliament -Flexibility -Semi-Presidential System -Both President and Prime Minister -Examples: France, Portugal, Lithuania, Slovenia -Eastern Europe adopted semi-presidential system because they needed strong leadership wanted a president to unite the country -President has a lot of power to unite many interests, along with having a prime minister and parliament -When President and Prime Minister are from different parties cohabitation -Key is to figure out what the best system is given the conditions -Reading Lintz: -Main Point: Parliamentary systems have shown to provide for more stability than Presidential -Especially relevant for emerging democracies -Because it is necessary to adopt political institutions that are stable, enduring, and are able to deal with social conflict -Many of these new regimes have extreme parties -You want to mitigate effect of extreme parties on political process -New Regimes: -Tend to have many political parties -Tend to have deep political cleavages ? political and social interests in society have very different roots ? Ex. Liberal v. Communist, rural v. urban sectors -Consensus is extremely tough to come by in these societies -Two roots of problems in a Presidential regime (Constitutional): 1) Separation of powers -Both President and Legislative are elected by the people -Therefore can both claim democratic legitimacy -Both branches claim the people want their policies installed -No constitutional way of resolving this 2) Fixed term in office -Winners and losers are defined for a specific period of time -Informal Problems within Presidential Systems: -Zero-Sum Politics -Comes out of winner-takes-all philosophy -If someone wins election, the other has no say in office -Affects how political competition is structured -When President wins, they feel that they have a mandate from the people -Mandate ? the people have given him a responsibility -He is now commissioned to carry out their policies -By voting for him, believes they have given him authority to pursue policies and carry out campaign promises -Problem: people may not approve of policies even if you got their vote -Also, may not be a significant majority or majority at all -Duel Role between head of state and head of government -Affects style of politics -There is little incentive for the President to cooperate -Might not respect the limits of his mandate -In which power is exercised and conflict is resolved -Instability -Affects the way power is exercised -Government stability v. Regime stability -There are mechanisms within parliamentary system that allows a conflict to diffuse this is missing in Presidential -Example: -Call for new elections or new leadership
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