Chapter 16

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Political Science
Fiona T Rahman

Chapter 16- The Political Executive 16/12/2012 10:24:00 AM The political executive is the core of government; it forms the top tier of government. It directs the nation‟s affairs, supervises the execution of policy, mobilizes support for its goals and offers crisis leadership.  Ex) presidents, ministers, prime ministers and cabinets. Branches of government: Executive branch, Legislative branch, and judicial branch. The Political Executive- 3 Types Presidential government:  Popular election of president  President steers government and makes appointments to it  Fixed terms of office for president and legislative assembly  Neither president nor assembly can easily bring the other down  No overlap between members of executive and legislative branches  President is head of state Separations of Power in the US System:  Congress (legislative branch) not president controls the budget  President can veto legislation; but legislature can override the president‟s veto (2/3 majority in each house)  President can recommend policies but cannot introduce or assure policies are enacted.  President appoints members of gov‟t/signs treaties but needs approval of Senate (upper house of legislative branch)  President is commander in chief but Congress has power to declare war  Any executive act maybe struck down by the US Supreme Court if they deem it unconstitutional (judicial review)  Even if president‟s own party controls Congress, the president may still struggle to get his policies enacted  Presidents power is the “power to persuade” o Direct persuasion of Congress: going Washington o Indirect persuasion of Congress: going public Separation of Powers in Brazil  Presidential powers are strong  President can issue decrees on some issues  President can force Congress to deal with issues by declaring them urgent  President can initiate legislation  President can propose own budget if Congress hasn‟t presented one.  Division between executive and legislative branches more porous (Ministers can resign to vote in legislature and then return to government positions)  Multiparty system (based on PR formula) means president must draw cabinet from different parties and that he/she will face fractious/ fragmented opposition  Line item veto is the ability to override a part- a line- of a bill without rejecting it in its entirety. (US president cannot) Parliamentary government:  Government drawn from the assembly; government needs support of assembly and can be dismissed by vote of no confidence  Traditionally, government is a collegial executive, ex) Cabinet or council of ministers  Prime minister is head of government; someone else is head of state Parliamentary Government Types  Majority o In which two or more parties with a majority of seats join together in government. E.g. Britain  Minority o No party wins a majority of seats in the legislature o Single- party minority (formed by largest party) E.g. Norway and Sweden  Coalitions governments o Majority coalition (coalition of parties that together occupy a majority of seats) E.g. Belgium, Germany o Minority coalition (parties unite to form largest block, but block is still a minority) E.g. Denmark since the 1980s, Italy pre 1990s.  Investiture- agreement of support Who governs in a Parliamentary System?  Cabinet government: discussion in cabinet determines overall policy  Prime ministerial government: the PM is the dominant figure, dealing directly with individual ministers
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