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Presidential system and Parliamentary system

Date: 26 July 2020 Tags: Constitution


Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has said that the parliamentary system we borrowed from the British has not worked in Indian conditions and it was time to demand a change.



Problems associated

  • The parliamentary system has created a unique breed of the legislator, largely unqualified to legislate, who has sought election only in order to wield executive power.

  • It has produced governments dependent on a fickle legislative majority, who are therefore obliged to focus more on politics than on policy or performance.

  • It has distorted the voting preferences of an electorate that knows which individuals it wants to vote for but not necessarily which parties.

  • It has spawned parties that are shifting alliances of selfish individual interests, not vehicles of coherent sets of ideas.

  • It has forced governments to concentrate less on governing than on staying in office and obliged them to cater to the lowest common denominator of their coalitions.


Advantages of Presidential form

  • A directly elected chief executive in New Delhi and in each state, instead of being vulnerable to the shifting sands of coalition support politics, would have the stability of tenure free from legislative whim, be able to appoint a cabinet of talents, and above all, be able to devote his or her energies to governance, and not just to government.

  • The Indian voter will be able to vote directly for the individual he or she wants to be ruled by, and the president will truly be able to claim to speak for a majority of Indians rather than a majority of MPs.

  • At the end of a fixed period of time, the public would be able to judge the individual on performance in improving the lives of Indians, rather than on political skill at keeping a government in office.


Presidential form of government

  • A presidential system is a democratic and republican government in which a head of government leads an executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch.

  • 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 president has a fixed term of office. Elections are held at regular times and cannot be triggered by a vote of confidence or other parliamentary procedures, although in some countries there is an exception which provides for the removal of a president who is found to have broken a law.

  • The executive branch is unipersonal. Members of the cabinet serve at the pleasure of the president and must carry out the policies of the executive and legislative branches. Cabinet ministers or executive departmental chiefs are not members of the legislature.

  • A president generally can direct members of the cabinet, military, or any officer or employee of the executive branch, but cannot direct or dismiss judges.


Parliamentary form of government

  • A parliamentary system is a democratic form of government in which the party (or a coalition of parties) with the greatest representation in the parliament (legislature) forms the government, its leader becoming prime minister or chancellor.

  • Executive functions are exercised by members of the parliament appointed by the prime minister to the cabinet.

  • The parties in the minority serve in opposition to the majority and have the duty to challenge it regularly.

  • Prime ministers may be removed from power whenever they lose the confidence of a majority of the ruling party or of the parliament.

  • The head of state appoints a prime minister who will likely have majority support in parliament. He is usually the leader of the party with majority.

  • The members of the cabinet or ministers should also be members of the legislature. This is unlike the presidential form.

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