A presidential system is a democratic and republican system of government where a head of government leads an executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch. This head of government is in most cases also the head of state, which is called president.
In presidential countries, the executive is elected and is not responsible to the legislature, which cannot in normal circumstances dismiss it. Such dismissal is possible, however, in uncommon cases, often through impeachment.
The title "president" has persisted from a time when such person personally presided over the governing body, as with the President of the Continental Congress in the early United States, prior to the executive function being split into a separate branch of government.
Countries that feature a presidential or semi-presidential system of government are not the exclusive users of the title of president. Heads of state of parliamentary republics, largely ceremonial in most cases, are called presidents. Dictators or leaders of one-party states, popularly elected or not, are also often called presidents.
Presidentialism is the dominant form of government in the continental Americas, with 19 of its 22 sovereign states being presidential republics. It is also prevalent in Central and southern West Africa and in Central Asia.
|Systems of government|
In a full-fledged presidential system, a politician is chosen directly by the public or indirectly by the winning party to be the head of government. Except for Belarus and Kazakhstan, this head of government is also the head of state, and is therefore called president. The post of prime minister (also called premier) may also exist in a presidential system, but unlike in semi-presidential or parliamentary systems, the prime minister answers to the president and not to the legislature.
The following characteristics apply generally for the numerous presidential governments across the world:
Subnational governments, usually states, may be structured as presidential systems. All of the state governments in the United States use the presidential system, even though this is not constitutionally required. On a local level, many cities use Council-manager government, which is equivalent to a parliamentary system, although the post of a city manager is normally a non-political position. Some countries without a presidential system at the national level use a form of this system at a subnational or local level. One example is Japan, where the national government uses the parliamentary system, but the prefectural and municipal governments have governors and mayors elected independently from local assemblies and councils.
Supporters generally claim four basic advantages for presidential systems:
In most presidential systems, the president is elected by popular vote, although some such as the United States use an electoral college (which is itself directly elected) or some other method. By this method, the president receives a personal mandate to lead the country, whereas in a parliamentary system a candidate might only receive a personal mandate to represent a constituency. That means a president can only be elected independently of the legislative branch.
A presidential system's separation of the executive from the legislature is sometimes held up as an advantage, in that each branch may scrutinize the actions of the other. In a parliamentary system, the executive is drawn from the legislature, making criticism of one by the other considerably less likely. A formal condemnation of the executive by the legislature is often considered a vote of no confidence. According to supporters of the presidential system, the lack of checks and balances means that misconduct by a prime minister may never be discovered. Writing about Watergate, Woodrow Wyatt, a former MP in the UK, said "don't think a Watergate couldn't happen here, you just wouldn't hear about it." (ibid)
Critics respond that if a presidential system's legislature is controlled by the president's party, the same situation exists. Proponents note that even in such a situation a legislator from the president's party is in a better position to criticize the president or his policies should he deem it necessary, since the immediate security of the president's position is less dependent on legislative support. In parliamentary systems, party discipline is much more strictly enforced. If a parliamentary backbencher publicly criticizes the executive or its policies to any significant extent then he/she faces a much higher prospect of losing his/her party's nomination, or even outright expulsion from the party. Even mild criticism from a backbencher could carry consequences serious enough (in particular, removal from consideration for a cabinet post) to effectively muzzle a legislator with any serious political ambitions.
Despite the existence of the no confidence vote, in practice it is extremely difficult to stop a prime minister or cabinet that has made its decision. In a parliamentary system, if important legislation proposed by the incumbent prime minister and his cabinet is "voted down" by a majority of the members of parliament then it is considered a vote of no confidence. To emphasize that particular point, a prime minister will often declare a particular legislative vote to be a matter of confidence at the first sign of reluctance on the part of legislators from his or her own party. If a government loses a parliamentary vote of confidence, then the incumbent government must then either resign or call elections to be held, a consequence few backbenchers are willing to endure. Hence, a no confidence vote in some parliamentary countries, like Britain, only occurs a few times in a century. In 1931, David Lloyd George told a select committee: "Parliament has really no control over the executive; it is a pure fiction." (Schlesinger 1982)
By contrast, if a presidential legislative initiative fails to pass a legislature controlled by the president's party (e.g. the Clinton health care plan of 1993 in the United States), it may damage the president's political standing and that of his party, but generally has no immediate effect on whether or not the president completes his term.
Some supporters of presidential systems claim that presidential systems can respond more rapidly to emerging situations than parliamentary ones. A prime minister, when taking action, needs to retain the support of the legislature, but a president is often less constrained. In Why England Slept, future U.S. president John F. Kennedy argued that British prime ministers Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain were constrained by the need to maintain the confidence of the Commons.
Other supporters of presidential systems sometimes argue in the exact opposite direction, however, saying that presidential systems can slow decision-making to beneficial ends. Divided government, where the presidency and the legislature are controlled by different parties, is said to restrain the excesses of both the coalition and opposition, and guarantee cross-partisan input into legislation. In the United States, Republican Congressman Bill Frenzel wrote in 1995:
There are some of us who think gridlock is the best thing since indoor plumbing. Gridlock is the natural gift the Framers of the Constitution gave us so that the country would not be subjected to policy swings resulting from the whimsy of the public. And the competition—whether multi-branch, multi-level, or multi-house—is important to those checks and balances and to our ongoing kind of centrist government. Thank heaven we do not have a government that nationalizes one year and privatizes next year, and so on ad infinitum. (Checks and Balances, 8)
Although most parliamentary governments go long periods of time without a no confidence vote, Italy, Israel, and the French Fourth Republic have all experienced difficulties maintaining stability. When parliamentary systems have multiple parties, and governments are forced to rely on coalitions, as they often do in nations that use a system of proportional representation, extremist parties can theoretically use the threat of leaving a coalition to further their agendas.
Many people consider presidential systems more able to survive emergencies. A country under enormous stress may, supporters argue, be better off being led by a president with a fixed term than rotating premierships. France during the Algerian controversy switched to a semi-presidential system as did Sri Lanka during its civil war, while Israel experimented with a directly elected prime minister in 1992. In France and Sri Lanka, the results are widely considered to have been positive. However, in the case of Israel, an unprecedented proliferation of smaller parties occurred, leading to the restoration of the previous system of selecting a prime minister.
The fact that elections are fixed in a presidential system is considered by supporters a welcome "check" on the powers of the executive, contrasting parliamentary systems, which may allow the prime minister to call elections whenever they see fit or orchestrate their own vote of no confidence to trigger an election when they cannot get a legislative item passed. The presidential model is said to discourage this sort of opportunism, and instead forces the executive to operate within the confines of a term they cannot alter to suit their own needs.
Proponents of the presidential system also argue that stability extends to the cabinets chosen under the system, compared to a parliamentary system where cabinets must be drawn from within the legislative branch. Under the presidential system, cabinet members can be selected from a much larger pool of potential candidates. This allows presidents the ability to select cabinet members based as much or more on their ability and competency to lead a particular department as on their loyalty to the president, as opposed to parliamentary cabinets, which might be filled by legislators chosen for no better reason than their perceived loyalty to the prime minister. Supporters of the presidential system note that parliamentary systems are prone to disruptive "cabinet shuffles" where legislators are moved between portfolios, whereas in presidential system cabinets (such as the United States Cabinet), cabinet shuffles are unusual.
Critics generally claim three basic disadvantages for presidential systems:
A fourth criticism applies specifically to nations with a proportionally elected legislature and a presidency. Where the voters are virtually all represented by their votes in the proportional outcome, the presidency is elected on a winner-take-all basis. Two different electoral systems are therefore in play, potentially leading to conflicts that are based on the natural differences of the systems.
A prime minister without majority support in the legislature must either form a coalition or, if able to lead a minority government, govern in a manner acceptable to at least some of the opposition parties. Even with a majority government, the prime minister must still govern within (perhaps unwritten) constraints as determined by the members of his party—a premier in this situation is often at greater risk of losing his party leadership than his party is at risk of losing the next election. On the other hand, winning the presidency is a winner-take-all, zero-sum game. Once elected, a president might be able to marginalize the influence of other parties and exclude rival factions in his own party as well, or even leave the party whose ticket he was elected under. The president can thus rule without any party support until the next election or abuse his power to win multiple terms, a worrisome situation for many interest groups. Yale political scientist Juan Linz argues that:
The danger that zero-sum presidential elections pose is compounded by the rigidity of the president's fixed term in office. Winners and losers are sharply defined for the entire period of the presidential mandate ... losers must wait four or five years without any access to executive power and patronage. The zero-sum game in presidential regimes raises the stakes of presidential elections and inevitably exacerbates their attendant tension and polarization.
Constitutions that only require plurality support are said to be especially undesirable, as significant power can be vested in a person who does not enjoy support from a majority of the population.
Some political scientists say that presidential systems are not constitutionally stable and have difficulty sustaining democratic practices, noting that presidentialism has slipped into authoritarianism in many of the countries in which it has been implemented. According to political scientist Fred Riggs, presidentialism has fallen into authoritarianism in nearly every country it has been attempted. Political sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset pointed out that this has taken place in political cultures not conducive to democracy and that militaries have tended to play a prominent role in most of these countries. On the other hand, an often-cited list of the world's 22 older democracies includes only two countries (Costa Rica and the United States) with presidential systems.
In a presidential system, the legislature and the president have equal mandates from the public. Conflicts between the branches of government might not be reconciled. When president and legislature disagree and government is not working effectively, there is a strong incentive to use extra-constitutional measures to break the deadlock. Of the three common branches of government, the executive is in the best position to use extra-constitutional measures, especially when the president is head of state, head of government, and commander-in-chief of the military. By contrast, in a parliamentary system where the often-ceremonial head of state is either a constitutional monarch or (in the case of a parliamentary republic) an experienced and respected figure, given some political emergency there is a good chance that even a ceremonial head of state will be able to use emergency reserve powers to restrain a head of government acting in an emergency extra-constitutional manner – this is only possible because the head of state and the head of government are not the same person.
Ecuador presented as a case study of democratic failures over the past quarter-century. Presidents have ignored the legislature or bypassed it altogether. One president had the National Assembly teargassed, while another disagreed with congress until he was kidnapped by paratroopers. From 1979 through 1988, Ecuador staggered through a succession of executive–legislative confrontations that created a near permanent crisis atmosphere in the policy. In 1984, President León Febres Cordero tried to physically bar new Congressionally appointed supreme court appointees from taking their seats.
In Brazil, presidents have accomplished their objectives by creating executive agencies over which Congress had no say.
Dana D. Nelson, in her 2008 book Bad for Democracy, sees the office of the President of the United States as essentially undemocratic and characterizes presidentialism as worship of the president by citizens, which she believes undermines civic participation.
Some political scientists speak of the "failure of presidentialism" because the separation of powers of a presidential system often creates undesirable long-term political gridlock and instability whenever the president and the legislative majority are from different parties. This is common because the electorate often expects more rapid results than are possible from new policies and switches to a different party at the next election. These critics, including Juan Linz, argue that this inherent political instability can cause democracies to fail, as seen in such cases as Brazil and Chile.
In such cases of gridlock, presidential systems are said by critics not to offer voters the kind of accountability seen in parliamentary systems. It is easy for either the president or the legislature to escape blame by shifting it to the other. Describing the United States, former Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon said "the president blames Congress, the Congress blames the president, and the public remains confused and disgusted with government in Washington". Years before becoming President, Woodrow Wilson (at the time, a fierce critic of the U.S. system of government) famously wrote "how is the schoolmaster, the nation, to know which boy needs the whipping?"
An example is the increase in the federal debt of the United States that occurred during the presidency of Republican Ronald Reagan. Arguably, the deficits were the product of a bargain between President Reagan and the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tip O'Neill. O'Neill agreed to tax cuts favored by Reagan, and in exchange Reagan agreed to budgets that did not restrain spending to his liking. In such a scenario, each side can say they are displeased with the debt, plausibly blame the other side for the deficit, and still claim success.
Another alleged problem of presidentialism is that it is often difficult to remove a president from office early. Even if a president is "proved to be inefficient, even if he becomes unpopular, even if his policy is unacceptable to the majority of his countrymen, he and his methods must be endured until the moment comes for a new election". John Tyler was elected vice president and assumed the presidency because William Henry Harrison died after thirty days in office. Tyler blocked the Whig agenda, was loathed by his nominal party, but remained firmly in control of the executive branch. Most presidential systems provide no legal means to remove a president simply for being unpopular or even for behaving in a manner that might be considered unethical or immoral provided it is not illegal. This has been cited as the reason why many presidential countries have experienced military coups to remove a leader who is said to have lost his mandate.
Parliamentary systems can quickly remove unpopular leaders by a vote of no confidence, a procedure that serves as a "pressure release valve" for political tension. Votes of no confidence are easier to achieve in minority government situations, but even if the unpopular leader heads a majority government, he or she is often in a less secure position than a president. Usually in parliamentary systems a basic premise is that if a premier's popularity sustains a serious enough blow and the premier does not as a matter of consequence offer to resign prior to the next election, then those members of parliament who would persist in supporting the premier will be at serious risk of losing their seats. Therefore, especially in parliaments with a strong party system, other prominent members of the premier's party have a strong incentive to initiate a leadership challenge in hopes of mitigating damage to their party. More often than not, a premier facing a serious challenge resolves to save face by resigning before being formally removed—Margaret Thatcher's relinquishing of her premiership being a prominent example.
On the other hand, while removing a president through impeachment is allowed by most constitutions, impeachment proceedings often can be initiated only in cases where the president has violated the constitution or broken the law. Impeachment is often made difficult; by comparison the removal a party leader is normally governed by the (often less formal) rules of the party. Nearly all parties (including governing parties) have a relatively simple process for removing their leaders.
Furthermore, even when impeachment proceedings against a sitting president are successful, whether by causing his removal from office or by compelling his resignation, the legislature usually has little or no discretion in determining the ousted president's successor, since presidential systems usually adhere to a rigid succession process which is enforced the same way regardless of how a vacancy in the presidency comes about. The usual outcome of a presidency becoming vacant is that a vice president automatically succeeds to the presidency. Vice presidents are usually chosen by the president, whether as a running mate who elected alongside the president or appointed by a sitting president, so that when a vice president succeeds to the presidency it is probable that he will continue many or all the policies of the former president. A prominent example of such an accession would be the elevation of Vice President Gerald Ford to the U.S. Presidency after Richard Nixon agreed to resign in the face of virtually certain impeachment and removal, a succession that took place notwithstanding the fact that Ford had only assumed the Vice Presidency after being appointed by Nixon to replace Spiro Agnew, who had also resigned due to scandal. In some cases, particularly when the would-be successor to a presidency is seen by legislators as no better (or even worse) than a president they wish to see removed, there may be a strong incentive to abstain from pursuing impeachment proceedings even if there are legal grounds to do so.
Since prime ministers in parliamentary systems must always retain the confidence of the legislature, in cases where a prime minister suddenly leaves office there is little point in anyone without a reasonable prospect of gaining that legislative confidence attempting to assume the premiership. This ensures that whenever a premiership becomes vacant (or is about to become vacant), legislators from the premier's party will always play a key role in determining the leader's permanent successor. In theory this could be interpreted to support an argument that a parliamentary party ought to have the power to elect their party leader directly, and indeed, at least historically, parliamentary system parties' leadership electoral procedures usually called for the party's legislative caucus to fill a leadership vacancy by electing a new leader directly by and from amongst themselves, and for the whole succession process to be completed within as short a time frame as practical. Today, however, such a system is not commonly practiced and most parliamentary system parties' rules provide for a leadership election in which the general membership of the party is permitted to vote at some point in the process (either directly for the new leader or for delegates who then elect the new leader in a convention), though in many cases the party's legislators are allowed to exercise a disproportionate influence in the final vote.
Whenever a leadership election becomes necessary on account of a vacancy arising suddenly, an interim leader (often informally called the interim prime minister in cases where this involves a governing party) will be selected by the parliamentary party, usually with the stipulation or expectation that the interim leader will not be a candidate for the permanent leadership. Some parties, such as the British Conservative Party, employ some combination of both aforementioned electoral processes to select a new leader. In any event, a prime minister who is forced to leave office due to scandal or similar circumstance will usually have little if any ability to influence his party on the final selection of a new leader and anyone seen to be having close ties to such a prime minister will have limited if any serious prospect of being elected the new leader. Even in cases when an outgoing prime minister is leaving office voluntarily, it is often frowned on for an outgoing or former premier to engage in any overt attempt to influence the election (for example, by endorsing a candidate in the leadership election), in part because a party in the process of selecting a new leader usually has a strong incentive to foster a competitive leadership election in order to stimulate interest and participation in the election, which in turn encourages the sale of party memberships and support for the party in general.
Walter Bagehot criticized presidentialism because it does not allow a transfer in power in the event of an emergency.
Under a cabinet constitution at a sudden emergency the people can choose a ruler for the occasion. It is quite possible and even likely that he would not be ruler before the occasion. The great qualities, the imperious will, the rapid energy, the eager nature fit for a great crisis are not required—are impediments—in common times. A Lord Liverpool is better in everyday politics than a Chatham—a Louis Philippe far better than a Napoleon. By the structure of the world we want, at the sudden occurrence of a grave tempest, to change the helmsman—to replace the pilot of the calm by the pilot of the storm.
But under a presidential government you can do nothing of the kind. The American government calls itself a government of the supreme people; but at a quick crisis, the time when a sovereign power is most needed, you cannot find the supreme people. You have got a congress elected for one fixed period, going out perhaps by fixed installments, which cannot be accelerated or retarded—you have a president chosen for a fixed period, and immovable during that period: ... there is no elastic element ... you have bespoken your government in advance, and whether it is what you want or not, by law you must keep it ...
However, supporters of the presidential system question the validity of the point. They argue that if presidents were not able to command some considerable level of security in their tenures, their direct mandates would be worthless. They further counter that republics such as the United States have successfully endured war and other crises without the need to change heads of state. Supporters argue that presidents elected in a time of peace and prosperity have proven themselves perfectly capable of responding effectively to a serious crisis, largely due to their ability to make the necessary appointments to his cabinet and elsewhere in government or by creating new positions to deal with new challenges. One prominent, recent example would be the appointment of a Secretary of Homeland Security following the September 11 attacks in the United States.
Some supporters of the presidential system counter that impediments to a leadership change, being that they are little more than an unavoidable consequence of the direct mandate afforded to a president, are thus a strength instead of a weakness in times of crisis. In such times, a prime minister might hesitate due to the need to keep parliament's support, whereas a president can act without fear of removal from office by those who might disapprove of his actions. Furthermore, even if a prime minister does manage to successfully resolve a crisis (or multiple crises), that does not guarantee and he or she will possess the political capital needed to remain in office for a similar, future crisis. Unlike what would be possible in a presidential system, a perceived crisis in the parliamentary system might give disgruntled backbenchers or rivals an opportunity to launch a vexing challenge for a prime minister's leadership.
Finally, many have criticized presidential systems for their alleged slowness to respond to their citizens' needs. Often, the checks and balances make action difficult. Walter Bagehot said of the American system, "the executive is crippled by not getting the law it needs, and the legislature is spoiled by having to act without responsibility: the executive becomes unfit for its name, since it cannot execute what it decides on; the legislature is demoralized by liberty, by taking decisions of others [and not itself] will suffer the effects".
Defenders of presidential systems argue that a parliamentary system operating in a jurisdiction with strong ethnic or sectarian tensions will tend to ignore the interests of minorities or even treat them with contempt – the first half century of government in Northern Ireland is often cited as an example – whereas presidential systems ensure that minority wishes and rights cannot be disregarded, thus preventing a "tyranny of the majority" and vice versa protect the wishes and rights of the majority from abuse by a legislature or an executive that holds a contrary viewpoint especially when there are frequent, scheduled elections. On the other hand, supporters of parliamentary systems contend that the strength and independence of the judiciary is the more decisive factor when it comes to protection of minority rights.
British-Irish philosopher and MP Edmund Burke stated that an official should be elected based on "his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience", and therefore should reflect on the arguments for and against certain policies before taking positions and then act out on what an official would believe is best in the long run for one's constituents and country as a whole even if it means short-term backlash. Thus defenders of presidential systems hold that sometimes what is wisest may not always be the most popular decision and vice versa.
A number of key theoretical differences exist between a presidential and a parliamentary system:
Presidential systems also have fewer ideological parties than parliamentary systems. Sometimes in the United States, the policies preferred by the two parties have been very similar (but see also polarization). In the 1950s, during the leadership of Lyndon B. Johnson, the Senate Democrats included the right-most members of the chamber—Harry Byrd and Strom Thurmond, and the left-most members—Paul Douglas and Herbert Lehman. This pattern does not prevail in Latin American presidential democracies.
In practice, elements of both systems overlap. Though a president in a presidential system does not have to choose a government under the legislature, the legislature may have the right to scrutinize his or her appointments to high governmental office, with the right, on some occasions, to block an appointment. In the United States, many appointments must be confirmed by the Senate, although once confirmed an appointee can only be removed against the president's will through impeachment. By contrast, though answerable to parliament, a parliamentary system's cabinet may be able to make use of the parliamentary 'whip' (an obligation on party members in parliament to vote with their party) to control and dominate parliament, reducing parliament's ability to control the government.
Italics indicate states with limited recognition.
The following countries have presidential systems where a post of prime minister exists alongside with that of president. Differently from other systems, however, the president is still both the head state and government and the prime minister's roles are mostly to assist the president. Belarus and Kazakhstan, where the prime minister is effectively the head of government and the president the head of state, are exceptions.
A constitutional referendum was held in the Maldives on 15 March 1968. The main question was whether to convert the state from a constitutional monarchy under Sultan Muhammad Fareed Didi, to a presidential system. The referendum was the third on the subject; the first in 1952 had seen the state convert to a presidential system, whilst a second in 1953 reversed the decision and saw the monarchy restored in 1954.
The proposals were approved by over 80% of voters, and a republic was declared on 11 November that year. Prime Minister Ibrahim Nasir would become president.1972 North Korean parliamentary election
Parliamentary elections were held in North Korea on 12 December 1972. Only one candidate was presented in each constituency, all of which were selected by the Workers' Party of Korea, although some ran under the banner of other parties or state organisations to give an appearance of democracy. Voter turnout was reported to be 100%, with 100% voting in favour of the candidates presented.In the first session, between 25 and 28 December 1972, the SPA approved a new constitution, put into force a presidential system, with Kim Il-sung elected as president. Main topics were "The Adoptation of the Socialist Construction and of the Presidential System" and "Let Us Further Strengthen the Socialist System of Our Country".
The election were held synchronously with the elections to the provincial, city and county people's assemblies.Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high-ranking state officials, typically consisting of the top leaders of the executive branch. Members of a cabinet are usually called Cabinet ministers or secretaries. The function of a Cabinet varies: in some countries it is a collegiate decision-making body with collective responsibility, while in others it may function either as a purely advisory body or an assisting institution to a decision making head of state or head of government. Cabinets are typically the body responsible for the day-to-day management of the government and response to sudden events, whereas the legislative and judicial branches work in a measured pace, in sessions according to lengthy procedures.
In some countries, particularly those that use a parliamentary system (e.g., the UK), the Cabinet collectively decides the government's direction, especially in regard to legislation passed by the parliament. In countries with a presidential system, such as the United States, the Cabinet does not function as a collective legislative influence; rather, their primary role is as an official advisory council to the head of government. In this way, the President obtains opinions and advice relating to forthcoming decisions. Legally, under both types of system, the Westminster variant of a parliamentary system and the presidential system, the Cabinet "advises" the Head of State: the difference is that, in a parliamentary system, the monarch, viceroy or ceremonial president will almost always follow this advice, whereas in a presidential system, a president who is also head of government and political leader may depart from the Cabinet's advice if they do not agree with it. In practice, in nearly all parliamentary democracies that do not follow the Westminster system, and in three countries that do (Japan, Ireland, and Israel), very often the Cabinet does not "advise" the Head of State as they play only a ceremonial role. Instead, it is usually the head of government (usually called Prime Minister) who holds all means of power in their hands (e.g. in Germany, Sweden, etc.) and to whom the Cabinet reports.
The second role of cabinet officials is to administer executive branches, government agencies, or departments. In the United States federal government, these are the federal executive departments. Cabinets are also important originators for legislation. Cabinets and ministers are usually in charge of the preparation of proposed legislation in the ministries before it is passed to the parliament. Thus, often the majority of new legislation actually originates from the cabinet and its ministries.Cabinet department
A cabinet department or prime minister's department is a department or other government agency that directly supports the work of the government's central executive office, usually the cabinet and/or prime minister, rather than specific ministerial portfolios. Such a department is present in many parliamentary democracies. The department is roughly equivalent in function to a president's office in a presidential system of government or an office of the council of ministers in a semi-presidential system.
In many countries, such a department is called a Prime Minister's Office. In some other countries, there is a Cabinet Office. In the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister's Office is a part of the Cabinet Office; in Australia and New Zealand, there is a single department called the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. In some countries, such as Germany and Poland, the department supporting the prime minister (the Chancellor in Germany) is called the chancellery.
Self-governing states and provinces within federations that are parliamentary democracies often have similar departments, such as a premier's department or, in Australia, Department of the Premier and Cabinet.Constitution of Mali
The 1992 Constitution of Mali was approved by a referendum on 12 January 1992 after being drawn up by a national conference in August 1991. The constitution provides for multi party democracy within a semi-presidential system.It was suspended after the 2012 military coup and then in 2013.Constitution of the Republic of the Congo
The Constitution of the Republic of the Congo is the basic law governing the Republic of the Congo. In it, it is stated that the Republic of the Congo is a pluralistic, multi-party democracy. A presidential system since 2009, the president’s term was originally 7 years, which has now been reduced to five after a 2015 constitutional referendum that instituted a new Constitution, which also reinstated the position of Prime Minister and moved the country to a semi-presidential system. The Council of Ministers – the government – is appointed by the President.
The country’s parliament is bicameral, made up of a National Assembly and a Senate.
The chief court is the Supreme Court. In addition, Congo has a Constitutional Court which rules on constitutional matters.
Congo is divided into 12 départements (counties or regions), each of which has its own local council.
The old and new constitutions both reference several important texts with reference to basic human rights:
The UN Charter
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights
The 1991 Congolese Charter of National Unity and the Charter of Rights and FreedomsCongo is a decentralised, secular and democratic republic.Divya Himachal
Divya Himachal is a Hindi Newspaper of Himachal Pradesh, having circulation in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttranchal and Chandigarh (UT). The newspaper was launched on 29 December 1997 and now has four editions namely Dharamshala, Shimla ,Chandigarh and Punjab. The newspaper has its head office at Matour which also includes the "Samarpan Printers", the printing press from which DH is published. The second printing press was established in Baddi (HP) and became functional on April 1, 2017, extending the reach further. It covers all the areas of Himachal Pradesh with its two editions Dharamshala and Shimla. It is the only newspaper of the state with separate district pullouts that include Mera Kangra, Mera Bilaspur, Mera Shimla, Mera Solan, Mera Una, Mera Sirmour, Mera Kullu, Mera Mandi, Mera Chamba, Mera Kinnor, and Mera Hamirpur.
The Divya Himachal Group is headed by Bhanu Dhamija, who is also the author of the Amazon bestseller and much talked about, Harper Collins book Why India needs Presidential System that argues for Presidential System for the parliamentarian India. He is the founder and chairman of the Group, which in fact is the largest publishing company in Himachal Pradesh, India. Earlier, in America, Dhamija founded a media company that published trade journals and organized conferences for the magazine publishing industry, becoming in effect a publishers publisher. He was born in Bulandshehar, Uttar Pradesh in 1959, but has lived almost half his life in the United States. After attending Punjab University in Chandigarh, he acquired a postgraduate degree from the Stern School of Business at New York University. He has worked in the financial, computer and media industries in the US and India.Anil Soni is the editor-in-chief of the group. He is also the director of the Divya Himachal's Premier Events. He has previously worked with several large publication houses of the country including Lokmat and Jan Sandesh.Divya Himachal Media Group publishes newspapers for the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Its flagship Hindi Daily, Divya Himachal, is the state’s ‘most credible’ newspaper. Himachal This Week is the state’s only English Weekly. The Group began operations in 1997 and is now Himachal’s largest media group producing its biggest brands in print, social media, web TV, and events. The combined reach of these media properties exceeds 25 lakh people.Elections in Angola
Elections in Angola take place within the framework of a multi-party democracy and a presidential system. The National Assembly is directly elected by voters, whilst the leader of the largest party or coalition in the National Assembly automatically becomes President. The country is currently a one-party dominant state, with the MPLA as the dominant party.Elections in the Comoros
Elections in the Comoros take place within the framework of a multi-party democracy and a presidential system. The President and the majority of the seats in the Assembly of the Union are directly elected.Executive (government)
The executive is the organ exercising authority in and holding responsibility for the governance of a state. The executive executes and enforces law.
In political systems based on the principle of separation of powers, authority is distributed among several branches (executive, legislative, judicial)—an attempt to prevent the concentration of power in the hands of a small group of people. In such a system, the executive does not pass laws (the role of the legislature) or interpret them (the role of the judiciary). Instead, the executive enforces the law as written by the legislature and interpreted by the judiciary. The executive can be the source of certain types of law, such as a decree or executive order. Executive bureaucracies are commonly the source of regulations.
In the Westminster political system, the principle of separation of powers is not as entrenched as in some others. Members of the executive, called ministers, are also members of the legislature, and hence play an important part in both the writing and enforcing of law.
In this context, the executive consists of a leader(s) of an office or multiple offices. Specifically, the top leadership roles of the executive branch may include:
head of state – often the supreme leader, the president or monarch, the chief public representative and living symbol of national unity.
head of government – often the de facto leader, prime minister, overseeing the administration of all affairs of state.
defence minister – overseeing the armed forces, determining military policy and managing external safety.
interior minister – overseeing the police forces, enforcing the law and managing internal safety.
foreign minister – overseeing the diplomatic service, determining foreign policy and managing foreign relations.
finance minister – overseeing the treasury, determining fiscal policy and managing national budget.
justice minister – overseeing criminal prosecutions, corrections, enforcement of court orders.In a presidential system, the leader of the executive is both the head of state and head of government. In a parliamentary system, a cabinet minister responsible to the legislature is the head of government, while the head of state is usually a largely ceremonial monarch or president.Government of Sri Lanka
The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) (Sinhala: ශ්රී ලංකා රජය Śrī Laṃkā Rajaya) is a semi-presidential system determined by the Sri Lankan Constitution. It administers the island from both its commercial capital of Colombo and the administrative capital of Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte.Head of state
A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially represents the national unity and legitimacy of a sovereign state. Depending on the country's form of government and separation of powers, the head of state may be a ceremonial figurehead or concurrently the head of government. In a parliamentary system the head of state is the de jure leader of the nation, and there is a separate de facto leader, often with the title of prime minister. In contrast, a semi-presidential system has both heads of state and government as the leaders de facto of the nation (in practice they divide the leadership of the nation among themselves).
In countries with parliamentary systems, the head of state is typically a ceremonial figurehead who does not actually guide day-to-day government activities or is not empowered to exercise any kind of political authority. In countries where the head of state is also the head of government, the head of state serves as both a public figurehead and the highest-ranking political leader who oversees the executive branch (e.g. the President of Brazil).Former French president Charles de Gaulle, while developing the current Constitution of France (1958), said that the head of state should embody l'esprit de la nation ("the spirit of the nation").Islam and democracy
There exist a number of perspectives on the relationship of Islam and democracy among Islamic political theorists, the general Muslim public, and Western authors.
Some modern Islamic thinkers, whose ideas were particularly popular in the 1970s and 1980s, rejected the notion of democracy as a foreign idea incompatible with Islam. Others have argued that traditional Islamic notions such as shura (consultation), maslaha (public interest), and ʿadl (justice) justify representative government institutions which are similar to Western democracy, but reflect Islamic rather than Western liberal values. Still others have advanced liberal democratic models of Islamic politics based on pluralism and freedom of thought. Some Muslim thinkers have advocated secularist views of Islam.A number of different attitudes regarding democracy are also represented among the general Muslim public, with polls indicating that majorities in the Muslim world desire a political model where democratic institutions and values can coexist with the values and principles of Islam, seeing no contradiction between the two. In practice, political history of the modern Muslim world has often been marked by undemocratic practices in states of both secular and religious character. Analysts have suggested a number of reasons for this, including the legacy of colonialism, oil wealth, the Arab-Israeli conflict, authoritarian secularist rulers, "the mind-set of Islam" and Islamic fundamentalism.Minister-president
A minister-president or minister president is the head of government in a number of European countries or subnational governments with a parliamentary or semi-presidential system of government where they preside over the council of ministers. It is an alternative term for prime minister, premier, chief minister, or first minister and very similar to the title of president of the council of ministers.Parliamentary republic
A parliamentary republic is a republic that operates under a parliamentary system of government where the executive branch (the government) derives its legitimacy from and is accountable to the legislature (the parliament). There are a number of variations of parliamentary republics. Most have a clear differentiation between the head of government and the head of state, with the head of government holding real power, much like constitutional monarchies (however in some countries the head of state, regardless of whether the country's system is a parliamentary republic or a constitutional monarchy, has 'reserve powers' given to use at their discretion in order to act as a non-partisan 'referee' of the political process and ensure the nation's constitution is upheld). Some have combined the roles of head of state and head of government, much like presidential systems, but with a dependency upon parliamentary power.
For the first case mentioned above, the form of executive-branch arrangement is distinct from most other government and semi-presidential republics that separate the head of state (usually designated as the "president") from the head of government (usually designated as "prime minister", "premier" or "chancellor") and subject the latter to the confidence of parliament and a lenient tenure in office while the head of state lacks dependency and investing either office with the majority of executive power.Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of democratic governance of a state where the executive derives its democratic legitimacy from its ability to command the confidence of the legislature, typically a parliament, and is also held accountable to that parliament. In a parliamentary system, the head of state is usually a person distinct from the head of government. This is in contrast to a presidential system, where the head of state often is also the head of government and, most importantly, the executive does not derive its democratic legitimacy from the legislature.
Countries with parliamentary democracies may be constitutional monarchies, where a monarch is the head of state while the head of government is almost always a member of parliament (such as the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, and Japan), or parliamentary republics, where a mostly ceremonial president is the head of state while the head of government is regularly from the legislature (such as Ireland, Germany, India, and Italy). In a few parliamentary republics, such as Botswana, South Africa, and Suriname, among some others, the head of government is also head of state, but is elected by and is answerable to parliament. In bicameral parliaments, the head of government is generally, though not always, a member of the lower house.
Parliamentarianism is the dominant form of government in Europe, with 32 of its 50 sovereign states being parliamentarian. It is also common in the Caribbean, being the form of government of 10 of its 13 island states, and in Oceania. Elsewhere in the world, parliamentary countries are less common, but they are distributed through all continents, most often in former colonies of the British Empire that subscribe to a particular brand of Parliamentarianism known as the Westminster system.President of Cuba
The President of the Republic of Cuba (Spanish: Presidente de la República de Cuba), officially called President of the Council of State (Spanish: Presidente del Consejo de Estado de Cuba) between 1976 and 2019, is the head of the Council of State of Cuba. The office in its current form was established under the Constitution of 2019. The president is the second most powerful position, after the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba.Under the 1901 constitution, Cuba had a presidential system based on that of the United States.
In 1940, a new constitution reformed the government into a semi-presidential system, 18 years before its modern archetype – the French Fifth Republic – came into being.
On 2 December 1976, the executive was reformed again by a new national constitution, this time in emulation of the Soviet Union. The presidential office was abolished and replaced by a collective head of state, the Council of State, elected by the National Assembly of People's Power. However, unlike the USSR's arrangements, where the Chairmen of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet and the Council of Ministers were distinct posts, the Chairman of the Council of State also chaired the Council of Ministers.
Furthermore, unlike English and Russian, Spanish does not distinguish between the terms "chairman/председатель" and "president/президент", translating both as "presidente". Thus, when back-translated into English, the term used was not "Chairman" (on the precedent of similar institutions in countries whose languages have a chairman/president distinction, such as the USSR and East Germany), but rather "President", from the shared etymology with the Spanish "presidente".
The incumbent since 19 April 2018 has been Miguel Díaz-Canel, who took over from Raúl Castro on that date.
On February 24, 2019, another constitution – Cuba's current – was adopted in a referendum. Under it, the government was again re-organized, and the posts of President and Prime Minister were restored. This reorganization, however, has yet to enter into effect.In cases of the absence, illness or death of the President of the Council of State, a vice president assumes the President’s duties.
The position is distinct from the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba; although Fidel Castro held both positions from 1976 to 2008, and Raúl Castro held both positions from 2011 to 2018.
The current president is Miguel Díaz-Canel.Semi-presidential system
A semi-presidential system or dual executive system is a system of government in which a president exists alongside a prime minister and a cabinet, with the latter being responsible to the legislature of a state. It differs from a parliamentary republic in that it has a popularly elected head of state, who is more than a mostly ceremonial/non-executive (the powers, limitations differ in different parliamentary republics, that this type of president would have tended to be 'reserve'/emergency and non-partisan in nature), figurehead (a president in a dual executive system also has political powers), and from the presidential system in that the cabinet, although named by the president, is responsible to the legislature, which may force the cabinet to resign through a motion of no confidence.While the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) exemplified an early semi-presidential system, the term "semi-presidential" was introduced by a 1959 article by journalist Hubert Beuve-Méry and popularized by a 1978 work by political scientist Maurice Duverger, both of which intended to describe the French Fifth Republic (established in 1958).Westminster system
The Westminster system is a parliamentary system of government developed in the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the British Parliament.
The system is a series of procedures for operating a legislature. It is used, or was once used, in the national and subnational legislatures of most former British Empire colonies upon gaining responsible government, beginning with the first of the Canadian provinces in 1848 and the six Australian colonies between 1855 and 1890. However, some former colonies have since adopted either the presidential system (Nigeria for example) or a hybrid system (like South Africa) as their form of government.
The Westminster system of government is often contrasted with the presidential system that originated in the United States, or with the semi-presidential system, based on the government of France.