Parliamentary and Presidential Democracy Discussion

Table of Contents

Parliamentary democracy

At the beginning of the 21st century, parliamentary and presidential democracies are the main forms of power. Parliamentary democracy is a structure of state power wherein the state leaders of the executive branch are appointed by the legislature. In a parliamentary democracy, legislative and executive branches of power are closely connected. Moreover, the presence of representatives of the central state in the (ministerial field services ensures that decisions taken at the local level are supervised and coordinated. Overall, the leadership capacities of the government institutions are not formally restricted by the powers of the local governmental agencies (for the structure of local power), Furthermore, the ordinary person looks towards the central state for guidance and the resolution of the problems (Hague et al 1998). In contrast to presidential democracy, in parliamentary democracy, there is a clear distinction between the head of the state and the head of the government. The myth of all-powerful governance is ingrained in the national political culture. In the political tradition, the state does not represent divisive, sectional interests, but the common good. It represents the will of the population, legislating on its behalf and implementing legislation in a way that is rational and impartial. The government defends the individual against potentially harmful private interests (Plattner, 2007).

Presidential democracy

In contrast to parliamentary democracy, the executive branch is separated from the legislature in a presidential democracy. The head of the state, the President, protects the system from centrifugal tendencies, which would otherwise threaten to tear the country apart. presidential democracy allows a long-term perspective to prevail over short-term expediency. For all these reasons, there is a widespread belief that political leadership is exercised from the center. Only political leaders at the central level have the authority to take the initiative and to exercise leadership. Therefore, both constitutionally and politically, the remit of political leaders at the central level is both legitimized and unbounded by territorial constraints. At the same time, while in a formal sense center-periphery relations are similar to those found in a presidential democracy, in practice the role of local government is more influential than its presidential democracy counterpart (Hague et al 1998).

Discussion section

Amongst other reforms, the powers of presidential democracy enjoyed by the state-appointed ministers over local councils are reduced; a new tier of elected local authorities at the regional level was introduced, and more powers were given to the mayors of municipal councils. Overall, parliamentary democracy has served to increase the role played by local authorities in the political system. The central government is the main partner in the relationship with the localities, but a new and more equitable distribution of power has been established between the two levels of government. Apart from presidential elections, parliament remains the principal arena where the main political, economic, and social issues of the day are debated. Its members retain the potential to embarrass the government, for example, during the questions to the government in the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoons. Moreover, senators and deputies still retain certain powers to obstruct the passage of government legislation (Plattner, 2007). If the degree of obstruction is sufficiently determined, then the government may have to give in to the demands of the parliamentarians. Nevertheless, although these points mean that members of the executive branch of government in presidential democracy cannot simply ignore the wishes of those in the legislative branch, the Constitution presents them with a raft of constitutional resources with which to exercise leadership.


  1. Hague, R., Harrop, M., Breslin, S. 1998, Comparative Government and Politics- An Introduction. Palgrave Macmillan; 4th Revised edition edition.
  2. Plattner, M. F.2007, Democracy Without Borders?: Global Challenges to Liberal Democracy. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

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