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Lecture

lec. jan. 31

10 Pages
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Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL201Y1
Professor
Sophia Moreau

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POL201 JAN 31
PRESIDENTIALISM AND PARLIAMENTARISM
The essay is due the Monday after winter break.
The first thing to focus on, is the nature of the question, is this a transition to democracy? In
Tanzania, it is that you can’t tell it’s a transition to democracy until long after the transition is
finished.
-whats happening in the middle east could be anyting, its clearly upheavel, protest, anti-
govenremnt, but whether it ends up in democracy is an OPEN QUESTION, so there is no say
that it is a transition to democracy, but it is a transition from the previous govnerment to
something else.
-ther eis nothing that happens in a transition period that shows us x is going to be the end result.
-so the TRANSITION LITERATURE LOOKS TO THE PAST, NOT THE PRESNT OR
FUTURE.
-everythuing you read about the middle east, is how its travelling from country to country, the
way the web is being used in different ways, and to what extent can technology be a democratic
tool, technology is empowering, provides info to people that otherwise don’t have it, where
information and capacity to community can be opened up and disable states and makes them
unable to control technology and the flow of information, information is empowering.
---but now people say govnerments are using technology to disempower people, so that’s another
interesting point.
-the transitions literature assumes trechnology is empowering, and new forms of communicatinos
are empowering to democratic movements, but it can also be used as tools of authoritarianism.
-the third thing that’s interesting, is that the transitions literature is, going back a step – the
question was last week, how do we get more democracy, how do we get more democratic states,
the link between modernization theory and transitions theory is how do we get more democratic
countries.
-
The reason people are interested in US and Europe of how coutnries get more democratic, is
because it is assumed that democratic countries are allied with the west, they are in the western
sphere of influence, so in the whole communist democracy way of thinking of the world,
demcoracies were allies of the US, the whole reason we wanted to know how more countries can
become democratic, is because we wanted more countries to become allies with the US.
-infact, if more coutnries in the middle east become democractic, they are more likely to become
anit-democratic. The authoritative leaders are more cooperative with the US and are more on
their sides, than would be if the people elected a leader, for that leader would have to be more
www.notesolution.com
anti-US in order to become elected by the people. If states in the middle east become
morerepresentative, they are more likely to become anti-democratic.
SO TODAY:
We are discussing presidential and parliamentary systems of government.
-its not very interesting.
-there are two forms of democratic govnemrent, parliamentary and presidential.
-basically its best to think about these as two different ways of organizing power, that’s whats
the difference.
Power is differently concentrated and organized and dispersed in each system, decisions are
differently processed, they are made through mechanisms which give different people more
power than the other system.
In general, neither systemis considered to be more or less DEMCORATIC, theya re difefeent
ways of organizing power. The first question is which countries are presidential, which are
parliamentary, and why.
Historically, the most influential and best known parliamentary system is the BRITISH
WESTMINISTER SYSTEM
-almost all former british colonies adopted the westminister system when they gained
independence.
France has a presidential system, and most former French colonies also have presidential system.
-so one important indicator of whether a govnerment has parliamentary or presidential system of
govnerment, is what form of govnerment the colonizing power has.
So france and Britain played a large role in what form of govnerment their colonies have.
The US is the most infleuential presidential system. Those countries that adopted the same
presidential sytem, are south America, and parts of Africa.
-they are not randomly distributed across the globe. This is an instance in which the
demconstartion effect is at work. Countries either copy the stystem because theya re regionally
dominant or because they are copying their colonial powers.
THE PARLIAMETNARY SYSTEM
Its called a UNITARY SYSTEM OF GOVNERMENT, voters elect members of parliament, and
the leader party, chooses the party leader of the biggest party as prime minister. Voters do not
elect the primeminister, they elect the party. The party with the highest votes gets to be prime
minister.
The governor general is the rep. of the crown in cananda, the govnerment is theexecutive branch
of govnerment made up of cabinent ministers and the prime minister.
www.notesolution.com
POSSIBLE ELECTION OUTCOMES
Majority govnerment- when 1 party wins the majority seats in parliament. The govnermenor
general will then ask that party to form a government.
Minority Governmentif the winning party has won more than any other party, but still
doesn’t have half the number of seats – 151 – it can iehter form a minority govnerment, or form a
coalition that will form the majority, a minioority gogovnerment isweaker, it may be harder for
that govnerment to get enough votes to get policies past. A minority govnerment can still govern
as long as it doesn’t get a no confidence vote.
A no confidence vote is when members of parliament call for a vote for confidence of the
minority govnerment, if enough MPs join the vote, then the government gets dissolved. If an
opposition party calls for a cote of no confiedence, and looses the vote, then its reputation is
damaged even further. So an opposition party only calls for such a vote if it is sure the MPs
would vote for no confidence, so it cannot do a vote of no confidence whenever it wants, it has to
do it strategically.
Coalition Govenremnt – this is the second thing that can happen if no party forms the majority.
The largest party might decide instead of ruling as minority govnerment, they might call for
another party to form a coalition in order to form a majority, so they are less likely to face a vote
of no confidence because most of the MPs of the parliament is of the govnerment. However a
coalition government means compromise, the party that previously had the largest seats but not
the marjoity, will have to yield on many issues to the smaller party. The larger party have to
give things up, they would have to negotiate policy commitments, so in countrires where there
are a couple of large parties and a few smaller ones, then they might naturally form coalitions in
every election. In candanda for example, if the conservative party wins, neither the ndp or
liebrals are coalition partners, so the conservatives are more likely to form a coalition
govnerment. The liberals are more likely coatlition parters with the ndp than conservatives,
because their agenda and ideology is more similar than with conservative.
One of the flaws in parliamentary systems, is that coaltion govnemrents are always formed after
the vote, it doesn’t matter if its 2 days after the vote or 1 year after the vote. You voted for
liberal, not ndp, but after the election the liberal forms coalition with ndp, and you did not vote
for ndp, and so this is a flaw of parliatmmary stystems and henceforth democracy, when you
form coalitions they always happen after the vote.
www.notesolution.com

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Description
POL201 JAN 31 PRESIDENTIALISM AND PARLIAMENTARISM The essay is due the Monday after winter break. The first thing to focus on, is the nature of the question, is this a transition to democracy? In Tanzania, it is that you cant tell its a transition to democracy until long after the transition is finished. -whats happening in the middle east could be anyting, its clearly upheavel, protest, anti- govenremnt, but whether it ends up in democracy is an OPEN QUESTION, so there is no say that it is a transition to democracy, but it is a transition from the previous govnerment to something else. -ther eis nothing that happens in a transition period that shows us x is going to be the end result. -so the TRANSITION LITERATURE LOOKS TO THE PAST, NOT THE PRESNT OR FUTURE. -everythuing you read about the middle east, is how its travelling from country to country, the way the web is being used in different ways, and to what extent can technology be a democratic tool, technology is empowering, provides info to people that otherwise dont have it, where information and capacity to community can be opened up and disable states and makes them unable to control technology and the flow of information, information is empowering. ---but now people say govnerments are using technology to disempower people, so thats another interesting point. -the transitions literature assumes trechnology is empowering, and new forms of communicatinos are empowering to democratic movements, but it can also be used as tools of authoritarianism. -the third thing thats interesting, is that the transitions literature is, going back a step the question was last week, how do we get more democracy, how do we get more democratic states, the link between modernization theory and transitions theory is how do we get more democratic countries. - The reason people are interested in US and Europe of how coutnries get more democratic, is because it is assumed that democratic countries are allied with the west, they are in the western sphere of influence, so in the whole communist democracy way of thinking of the world, demcoracies were allies of the US, the whole reason we wanted to know how more countries can become democratic, is because we wanted more countries to become allies with the US. -infact, if more coutnries in the middle east become democractic, they are more likely to become anit-democratic. The authoritative leaders are more cooperative with the US and are more on their sides, than would be if the people elected a leader, for that leader would have to be more www.notesolution.com
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