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Module 2

Forms of Government

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Contents
Forms of Government Unitary and Federal form of Government Features,Merits,Demerits Parliamentary form of Government One party democracy Military Rule

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Parliamentary Form
Also known as Cabinet Form, Ministerial Form or Responsible form e.g. India People Elect Members of Parliament. They in turn Elect the Prime Minister. The intimate relationship between the executive and legislative branches of government is the essence of Parliamentary System. In this form the executives are constitutionally inter related to the legislature in respect of duration of the tenure and responsibility of all the political policies.
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Features of Parliamentary
Nominal Head of State Responsible Council of Ministers No fixity of term of office Prime Minister as the Head of Council of Minister Principle of Joint Responsibility

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Parliamentary Government - Features


1. Head of the state exercises nominal powers In this type of Government, there is a Head of State. He may be the President, the Governor General ,the King or the Queen. Presidents are the Heads of State in India, France, Austria, Italy, etc. There are Governor generals in Canada,Australia,and New Zealand. The Kings or Queens are in Japan, The Great Britain,Denmark,Holland,Belgium,Sweden and Norway.

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2. Clear and stable majority the administration is run by the majority party.The head of the State invites the leader of the majority party,who becomes the Prime Minister and he submits a list of his colleagues to the Head of the State.The Head appoints them as ministers.In this way a cabinet is formed.The ministers remain in office so long as they have the majority support in the Lower House.In the event of losing the majority support they tender resignation.

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3. Collective Responsibility the cabinet is collectively responsible to the Parliament. It means that once a decision is taken by the Cabinet, it becomes the responsibility of each minister to support it in and outside the Parliament. 4. Individual Responsibility Whereas the ministers are collectively responsible to the Parliament, they are also responsible individually for their respective departments. The members of the Parliament can put questions and also criticize his department, as a result of which the minister can tender resignation, if he so desires.

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5. Membership of the Parliament it is essential for the


ministers to be the members of the Parliament.If anyone, who is not the Member of the Parliament,is appointed by the Head of the State on the recommendations of the Prime Minister,he or she has to seek membership of Parliament within a fixed period.In India,this time period is six months.

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6. Leadership of the Prime Minister the main characteristic of


Parliamentary government is the leadership of the Prime Minister over the Cabinet. The Head of the State appoints the minister on his advice.He presides over the meetings of the Cabinet and also fixes dates and prepares agenda for the meetings.Though he acts on the advice of the Cabinet,yet in controversial matters his decisions are final.

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7. Political Homogeneity It means all ministers act like a team in the Cabinet and they do not disclose their differences in the public. Incase of differences in the coalition Governments, minister of one party or other leave the coalition, which results in dissolution.

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8. Secrecy At the time of appointment,the ministers take the oath of allegiance to the constitution and secrecy of the office.The ministers are given severe punishment under the law of land for disclosing any secrets to the enemy. 9.Mutual toleration between the political parties the majority party in the Parliament forms the government. The other parties form the opposition. It is the duty of the opposition party to criticize the policies of the government and to impose a check on the autocratic tendencies of the government.
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Merits
1. Cooperation between Parliament and the Cabinet is generally available in this system the majority party forms the government.The leader of that party is appointed as the Prime Minister by the President or the King and the rest of the ministers are appointed on the recommendations of the Prime Minister.In this way,PM has a control over the House and Cabinet. And he is a leader of both.

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2. Responsible government the cabinet is responsible to the Parliament for administration and policy.In this way,the Parliament has a day to day control over the government for its administration and policies. 3. The government does not become autocratic- the executive cannot become autocratic because the government is always responsible to the Parliament.The Parliament can remove the government by a vote of no -confidence.

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4. Adjustable according to the changing circumstances Parliamentary government can be changed according to the circumstances,but Presidential government cannot be changed so easily.During the second world war Chamberlain did not prove a successful Prime Minister and the ruling conservative party removed him.Sir Winston Churchill was appointed Prime Minister in his place. Churchill brought victory to England in the war. 5. Head of the State gives impartial advice in Parliamentary government,the Head of the State,President,King or Governor General is completely impartial because he is not related to any political party.

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6. Parliamentary Government is responsive to the public opinion ministers try to act as per the wishes of the people,because they are related to majority party and it becomes their duty to fulfill the promises given by their party to the people at the time of elections.If the ministers fail to fulfill those promises,their party faces great difficulty in winning elections again.

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7. It has changed the absolute monarchy into democracy two types of arrangements are seen in this system, the Head of the State is different from the Head of the Government. The Head of the Government is the Prime Minister and Head of the State is the King, the President or the Governor General. The hereditary monarchy is there in Japan, England, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium and Malaysia. In the absence of these two systems democracy would not have been possible there.

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8. This system provides for an alternate Government in case the ruling party loses the majority,it has to submit its resignation.In such a situation the Head of the State invites the leader of the opposition party to form the government.This means the opposition party is not only for the opposition but in the event of the failure of the government,it is also an alternative government.

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Demerits
1. There is the apprehension of the dictatorship of the cabinet : if the Cabinet has sufficient majority support in the Lower House, there is apprehension of its acting arbitrarily in many matters. Laski also apprehends this danger when he says ,that it certainly gives the executive an opportunity for tyranny .It can, if it so pleases, make the most minor issue a question of confidence, and so prefer the alternative either of a support that is not wholehearted, or a dissolution which will prove inconvenient.
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2. The Government becomes unstable if the ruling party does not command a clear or absolute majority in the legislature. 3. Frequency in the change of Government leads to uncertainty of policy. 4. Formation of the Government becomes difficult in a multi party system. 5. This system is against the theory of Separation of Powers Many people are of the view that without the Separation of Powers, freedom cannot be protected and this is possible in a Parliamentary systems, because the executive is under the legislature. But this type of criticism is not completely valid.
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6. This system leads to perpetual conflicts there is always a volley of charges and counter charges between the ruling party and the opposition to gain control of the administration. This makes the atmosphere very poisonous. 7. National interest are sacrificed sometimes at the altar of party interests Every party strives to win the elections and to gain control over the government. The ruling party does not care much for the national interests and makes efforts to have a control on the government at all costs. For this purpose, the party may also use underhand means.

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10. In this government the bureaucracy acquires influence the Prime Minister takes ministers in his Council of Ministers not on the basis of their ability but on the basis of their political influence. Since the ministers are not expert in their job, they have to depend on the permanent secretaries for the performance of their official duties.

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Presidential Government
According to Dr. Garner, Presidential Government is that system in which the executive (including both the Head of the State and his ministers) is constitutionally independent of the legislature in respect to the duration of his or their tenure. In such a system the Chief of the State is not merely the titular executive but he is the real executive and actually exercises the powers which the constitution and laws confer upon him.
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Features of Presidential government


1. 2. There is a Separation of Powers in the Presidential government. The President is the Head of the State as well as of the government while in a Parliamentary government ,the Head of the State is President, King or Governor General and the Prime Minister is the Head of the government.

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3. In a Presidential government, the President enjoys real powers of the administration and he exercises all those powers, which are given to him under the constitution and the law. 4. The President and the secretaries are not responsible to the legislature. The legislature cannot remove them through a vote of no confidence. Moreover they are not bound to attend the sessions of the Parliament.

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5. In a Presidential government, the President is elected for a fixed tenure and except impeachment for the violation of the constitution, he cannot be removed from his office before the expiry of his term.

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Merits of the Presidential Government


1. It ensures stable government the President is elected for a fixed tenure and he cannot be removed from his office through a vote of no-confidence. He can be removed from his office through the process of impeachment, incase he violates the constitution. This system of government is most suitable for emergencies real powers of the government are in the hands of the president. During war and emergency, after consulting his secretaries, he can take a number of decisions independently.

2.

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3. It leads to the efficiency in administration since the President appoints their secretaries on the basis of ability and not on political basis, they are responsible to the President and not to the parliament. 4. Less influence of parties the reason for this is that the entire administration is in the hands of the President ,who, after having been elected, does not depend upon the majority support in the Parliament.

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5. This type of government is based on the theory of Separation of Powers for maintaining independence of each organ of administration the separation of powers was considered essential in America. Thus in America every organ of the government performs its own function. 6. Most suitable for multi party system where there is a multiple party system, the government changes very often. But in a presidential, the governments do not change so quickly.

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Demerits of Presidential Government


1. 2. In this system of Government the President enjoys wide powers and he can have his own way in many matters. Since the Constitution is very rigid, it becomes very difficult to make amendments in it according to the changing times.

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Conclusion
Presidential government is quite suitable in countries where the government is not stable due to multi party system. Otherwise Parliamentary government is better than Presidential government, because in the former the executive is responsible to the Parliament for its day-to-day administration.

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