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Sample Term Paper

Words 1,540

This is a term paper on presidential and parliamentary systems of Government. A presidential system of government is one in which there is a head of government, i.e. the executive branch, who is separate from the legislature and is not accountable to it.

Introduction and Main Distinguishing Features of Both Systems:

A presidential system of government is one in which there is a head of government, i.e. the executive branch, who is separate from the legislature and is not accountable to it. Generally, the legislature does not hold power to dismiss the executive. This system can be traced back to the monarchal system in the medieval ages which countries such as France, England and Scotland followed where the Crown held all executive powers and not the parliament. When the office of the President of the United States was created, this system of separate powers of the executive and legislature was replicated in the U.S. Constitution.

In contrast, a parliamentary system is different from the above because its executive branch of government needs the direct or indirect backing of the parliament to stay in power, which is generally expressed through a vote of confidence. However, the mechanism of checks and balances is different from one found in a presidential republic because there is no distinct separation of powers between the legislature and the executive. In parliamentary systems, the head of government and the head of state are distinct entities, where the former is the prime minister and the latter is an elected president or a hereditary monarch. The U.K. follows a parliamentary form of government, where the prime minister and the cabinet govern using their executive power on a daily basis, but actual authority is held with the head of state.[1]


[1] Mainwaring, Scott and Shugart, Matthew. 1997. Juan Linz, Presidentialism, and Democracy: A Critical Appraisal. Comparative Politics 29(4): 449-471.

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