First of all, in the scope of this paper, it is essential to put an emphasis on the fact that there is a set of scientific researches, dedicated to the investigation of the question of whether the difference between parliamentarism and presidentialism matters. This question is considered to be critical for the set of the issues - such as the major reasons for democratic collapse, whether democratic consolidation is more likely to be promoted by certain institutions or not and whether regime type matters for governability and policy output (Samuels and Eaton 2).
While conducting an analysis of the democracies, it is possible to make a statement that with the exception of the United States, where there is a system of separation of legislative and executive power, in the entire set of the countries, which are referred as stable democracies, the constitution, which is parliamentary is adapted at least to some extent.
The major characteristics of the parliamentary constitution may be represented in the following manner: fusion of legislative and executive powers is achieved by the fact that the confidence of a major part of the legislative assembly is needed by the government for coming to power and keeping it.
Parliamentarism is popular among both politicians and academics because of the crucial difference between presidentialism and parliamentarism, which is the following: in accordance with the parliamentarism legislation, the government may be removed via the approving the vote of no-confidence. After passing such votes, either formation of a new government takes its place or new elections are conducted. In the case of presidentialism, in turn, the legislature and the government serve independent and fixed terms in office. It is considered by the experts that the set of the consequences for the ways of functioning of these two systems is posed by this basic difference; for instance:
Deadlocks between the legislature and the government would be common in the case of presidentialism, and it is considered that they would cause a conflict between the two powers.
In the case of presidentialism, it is considered that the majority of the legislature is not likely to support the governments because such system does not imply any guarantees that such a majority will exist.
Anderson (1995) has made a statement that in presidential regimes, coalitions are thought to be rare. The major reason for such trend is the fact that there are no motivating factors in the system for providing the incentives for individual politicians and consequently, for their political parties for collaboration and cooperation with other political parties and the government.
The process of decision-making in the case of presidentialism is usually considered to be decentralized. In other words, the president simply generates the responds to offers, originated in the legislature. This process is usually organized in such manner that it allows the politicians to pursue individualistic strategies instead of partisan. Thus, the ability of the government to make an influence on the policy and its practical implementation is reduced, and that is why there is a higher probability of the “crises of governability” occurrence.
- After conducting an analysis of the major characteristics of the parliamentarism and presidentialism, it is possible to make a statement that those countries, which are tending to establish a durable and effective democratic order, should establish the parliamentary form of government. At the same time, none of the arguments, listed above, is sufficient for referring a presidential regime as unattractive one.
For instance, it is essential to put an emphasis on the fact that in the countries with a low income per capita, equally high risks are faced by both types of democracy. Thus, the form of government in this case, makes little difference for the survival prospects of democracy. That is why, it is possible to make a statement that the experience of democracies, which are currently considered as stable ones, and are represented by the wealthiest countries in the global scales, becomes less relevant argument. More than that, such reasons, that are specific for the particular countries, such as preferences of current leaders or historical precedents, may matter more for the process of choosing the form of government for a particular country.
- At the same time, even in the case of taking into account experience of currently democratic countries, there is a set of arguments for considering that better survival record, represented by parliamentary democracies in comparison to presidential democracies is not mainly related to constitutional principles of these systems.
- In order to support this statement, the following arguments may be represented. First of all, it is a false conclusion that the presidential democracies chronically suffer to deadlocks between the legislative and the executive. The best estimate is that the deadlock situations occur in the cases when the bill, which has been previously vetoed by the president, is approved by the legislation and at the same time, the presidential veto cannot be overcome by legislature (Linz and Valenzuela 119-121).
It is a false estimate that the deadlock is not experienced by parliamentary democracies; deadlock under parliamentarism differs from the deadlock under presidentialism, such cases also take their places. That is why, under parliamentarism deadlock take its place as elections are held, and as a result, no clear majorities are represented in the legislature. Thus, the weak legislative support is provided to the government, and the government, in turn, faces a vote of no-confidence. As a result, formation of the new government takes its place. There is a high probability that such government would face with the same problems as previous one, and thus, there would be no majority for supporting the government policies.
It is a false conclusion that in presidential regimes political actors will have no incentives for forming the coalitions. The notion that in the case of presidentialism, political parties have an overwhelming reasons for playing it alone, and that there would be no cooperation between the political particles, or they will not support the president, even in the cases when they are the part of the government, is not correct (Elgie 7-10).
The latest researchers, conducted in the political science, have revealed that incentives for forming a coalition are less or more similar under the two regimes; there is an option of the legislative paralysis occurrence, but only in the case if very specific institutional conditions and, in addition, only in the cases when the status quo is preferred by one of the parties to the conflict. The difference in formation of the coalition between presidential and parliamentary democracies is represented in the numerical rather than qualitative indexes.
Gerring and Thacker (2002) have claimed that contrary to one belief which is strongly held by significant quantity of people, presidential regimes are not incompatible with systems of multiparty. It is obvious that such regime faces with the higher risk of becoming an authoritarian regime (which is mainly characterized by the moderate quantity of parties), the propensity for forming the coalition increases in both presidential and parliamentary regimes in the cases when the quantity of political parties increases.
It is also known, that a decentralized decision-making mode is not inherent feature of presidentialism. There are several ways for structuring the process of decision-making in presidential democracies in such manner that it would neutralize the major part of centrifugal forces, which are able for operating in these regimes.
Finally, there is a high probability that a major reason for better survival record in parliamentary regimes in comparison to presidential regimes is attributed to the conditions, for the creation of the lion share of presidential democracies.
- Even while taking in consideration the fact that the arguments, listed above, are still under research, there are some evident facts, which support the statement that presidentialism emerged in those countries, where the relatively high propensity belonged to military and thus, it has intervened into politics (Cheibub 1-3).
- That is why, those issues, which cause more frequent breakdown within the presidential democracies, are not mainly related to the fact that such democracies are presidential. This trend is more related to the fact that breakdowns taken their places in societies where any type democracy represents the higher probability of collapsing. This means that presidential regimes have the potential of being effective in their work in the case of well-grounded and wise approach towards the policy making process.
Anderson, C. “The Dynamics of Public Support for Coalition Governments.”Comparative Political Studies 1995 28(3):350-383 in Samuels, D. and Eaton, K. Presidentialism and, Or, and Versus Parliamentarism: The State of the Literature and an Agenda for Future Research. 2002 <http://www.academia.edu/1201692/Presidentialism_and_or_and_versus_Parliamentarism_The_State_of_the_Literature_and_an_Agenda_for_Future_Research\>
Cheibub, J. Systems of Government: Parliamentarism and Presidentialism. 2011. <http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/pnorris/Acrobat/stm103%20articles/Cheibub_Pres_Parlt.pdf>
Elgie, R. Semi-Presidentialism: Sub-Types And Democratic Performance Comparative Politics. Oxford University Press, 2011. Print
Gerring, J., and Thacker, S. “Political Institutions and Governance: Pluralism versus Centralism.” Unpublished manuscript, Boston University. 2001 in Samuels, D. and Eaton, K. Presidentialism and, Or, and Versus Parliamentarism: The State of the Literature and an Agenda for Future Research. 2002 <http://www.academia.edu/1201692/Presidentialism_and_or_and_versus_Parliamentarism_The_State_of_the_Literature_and_an_Agenda_for_Future_Research\>
Linz, J. J., Valenzuela, A. The Failure of Presidential Democracy. JHU Press, 1994 Print
Samuels, D. and Eaton, K. Presidentialism and, Or, and Versus Parliamentarism: The State of the Literature and an Agenda for Future Research. 2002 <http://www.academia.edu/1201692/Presidentialism_and_or_and_versus_Parliamentarism_The_State_of_the_Literature_and_an_Agenda_for_Future_Research\>