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Political Science
Joseph Roman

January 24, 2013 1) Studying executives and legislatures 2) Parliamentory systems of government: their main features 3) Presidential systems: their main features 4) The roles Studying Executives and legislatures - Executive sets agenda, legislature scrutinizes it - Key feature of parliamentarianism rests with the executive and the legislature o Executive and legislature are fused o Important implications o Executive is drawn from the legislature o Prime minister becomes the prime minister by being the leader of a party which has won the most number of seats in parliament o Head of state is not also the head of government  The two are separate o Head of gov = pm o Head of state= president  Always seen as being above politics  Comes in the form of a monarch or president  Some forms- pres might be elected (not always)  Because of that he/she lacks substantial political power • If any at all  Largely ceremonial  Sometimes the head of state can try and push politics in a particular direction o Executive and legislature are dependent on each other for survival and progression of their career o legislature have a clear interest in the executive—showing their loyalty  if you’re committed enough one day you’ll get to make the decisions and be the executive o glue that hopes it all together  party discipline Parliamentary Systems of Government Three forms this relationship can take … 1) Cabinet Government 2) Prime Ministerial Government 3) Ministerial Government Benefits of a parliamentary form of government - Policy making tends to go more smoothly o Goes back to the relationship between the executive and legislature - Tends to be more continuity o Terms aren’t fixed o Since the PM is the leader of the party with the most seats, whenever there is a new PM things don’t get turned upside down o Ie. With the new leader of the liberal party things won’t get turned upside down, however in the states between Bush and Obama there was a massive change - Tends to be more flexible and adaptable to change o Goes back to relations o Cabinet is who makes policies o As a result it can do things quicker during times of crisis o Because of party discipline the cabinet can force the party to toe the public line o Don’t want to get kicked out of the caucus o Can even do this during a minority government Criticisms - Largely party based o Has a tend to lend to gov instability o With the exception of the UK o More than 3 parties  Employ a representational system  Leads to coalition governments  Fact that you have to build a coalition gov is not an easy thing to do  Difficult to maintain  More specifically minority governments - Because of the fusion of the legislature and the parliament, under the conditions of a majority gov the legislature may be reduced to a mere something role o Often a sense of ‘we can do what ever we want’ o Legislature has to follow the party line o During the Chretien gov. ministers were there to rubber stamp things o Goes back to the institution of party discipline Presidential Systems of Government - US is the outlier - Basically reflective of the logic that developed after the American Rev olution - The Americans didn’t want another King George - Wanted to avoid giving an executive too much power - This shaped the relationship between legislatures and executives - In a pres. System there is a series of cheques and balances o There is a lot of bargaining between the Executive and Legislature - Executive and legislature are separate o An executive cannot sit in the legislature o Cannot be a member of the legislature and the executive - Presidents are heads of State and Government - Adv. Of being pres in this system= he/she can claim to be above politics - The pres is the only figure who is elected by every citizen o Legislatures are only subject to local votes o Important bargaining chip o Pres “I’m doing what is the best benefit of the country”  Looking out for everyone rather than their own interests - Presidents appoint their cabinets to advise them and run their bureaucracies o Formed differently than in the parliamentary system o Appoint them based on expertise in particular areas  Academics, business leaders, labour leaders, activists, sometimes legislatures (but they then give up their post in the legislature)  Bureaucracy= executive o Initiates a law of domestic legislation  can point the country in a particular direction o IMPORTANT: they are institutionally separated  Neither can bring the other down—elected for a fixed period of time, and have to work together  Bad news bears when there is a republican executive and a democrat legislature o Only way an executive can be removed before the end of their term is death, resignation or legislative removal (impea
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