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AP Comparative Governments: Iran, Mexico, UK, Nigeria, China, Russia
Terms in this set (101)
civil society in Iran
Since the revolution, Iran has been slow to develop a functioning civil society. Government insistence that all activities in Iran are in accordance with Islamic teachings is largely responsible for this fact.
As is true in China, the revolutionary credentials of the leadership
are an important source of legitimacy for the current Iranian regime. The use of competitive elections in choosing many key government officials further bolsters that legitimacy.
Sovereignty lies in
Political Participation in Iran
Citizens of Iran can join political parties that are approved by the government, run for elective office if approved by the government, petition the government on a limited range of issues, form interest groups if they are acceptable to the government, and vote for some government officials from lists of government-approved candidates.
Level of Transparency in Iran
Although some of the decisions of the Iranian government are made in a public way, the decisions of the Supreme Leader are open to little public scrutiny. In addition, questions remain about the independence of the judiciary as well as the inappropriate use of prosecutorial power for political ends.
a government ruled strictly by religion
the belief that religion and government should be separated.
Revolution of 1979
events involving overthrow of Iran's monarchy and its replacement with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution
Iranian religious leader of the Shiites; when Shah Pahlavi's regime fell Khomeini established a new constitution giving himself supreme powers (1900-1989)
Former shah of Iran, "Puppet Shah", Pro-Western led to Islamic revolution
Assembly of Religious Experts
elects and can dismiss the Supreme Leader
"represents the nation"
enacts ordinary laws (not sharia)
investigates and supervises affairs of state
approves or removes cabinet members
appoints half the members of the Guardian Council
from a list presented by the chief judge
can approve budgets, foreign loans, treaties
resolves conflicts between Majlis and Guardian Council
meets in secret
is the "vital link" between branches of government
determines the "interests of Islam"
can dismiss the president
is the commander-in-chief of the military and can appoint and dismiss officers
nominates and can remove judges and prosecutors
appoints half the members of the Guardian Council
appoints the Minister of Justice
appoints Imam Jum'ehs at principal city mosques
appoints the director of national radio and television
directs a staff of over 600
presents annual budget to Majlis
supervises economic matters
proposes legislation to Majlis
is chair of the National Security Council
appoints vice president(s) and cabinet (except Justice Minister)
appoints local governors and mayors
Elected Leaders in Iran
Assembly of Religious Experts
Unelected Supreme Leader
Directors of Bonyads
Unelected leaders of Iran
Revolutionary Guard Officers
Nuclear Weapons and Iran
Iran is facing international scrutiny over the possibility that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Although Iran has stated that it wishes to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, as is its right under international law, it has also stated that it is not fair that five powers have the legal right to nuclear weapons while the rest of the
world does not. This, despite the fact that Iran is a party to the NNPT (Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty), which allows the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to legally possess nuclear weapons, while banning the further spread of nuclear weapons.
Key Social Cleavages
Religious, Ethnic, Regional, Reformist/Conservative, Rich/Poor
Cleavages - Ethnicity
Although a majority of Iranians are ethnically Persian, Iran is actually ethnically diverse. The breakdown of the population by ethnicity is as follows: Persian 51%, Azeri 24%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 8%, Kurd 7%, Arab 3%, Lur 2%, Baloch 2%, Turkmen 2%, other 1%. Iran's main ethnic minorities, especially the Azeris, Balochs, and Kurds continue to struggle against the Iranian government's failure to uphold their economic, social, and cultural rights as well as their civil and political rights.
Cleavages - Religion
Although 98% of the Iranian population is Muslim, religious tensions have a significant impact on the Iranian political landscape. The official religion in Iran is Shi'a Islam,
specifically the Twelver Ja'fari school of Shi'a Islam. Yet, the constitution requires that all other schools of Islamic thought be given full respect. The Iranian constitution also recognizes three historically present religious minorities - Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians. The largest non-
Muslim religious minority in Iran, the Baha'i, is not officially recognized.
Union of political and religious authority is a central component of Iranian political culture
Union of political and religious authority- From the days
of the ancient Persians, political and religious leaders were often one and the same. However, starting with the rule of the Qajars (1794-1925), the two types of authority were separated, only to be brought back together by the Revolution of 1979.
Shiism and sharia are central components of Iranian political culture
Shiism and sharia as central components - Today almost
90% of all Iranians identify themselves as Shiite, a fact that
links citizens to the government, which is officially a theocracy. Islamic law, the sharia, is an important source of legitimacy that the modem government particularly emphasizes.
the principle advanced by Ayatollah Khomeini that the clerics have authority over the Islamic community because of their understanding of sharia
Strong sense of Iranian nationalism is a central component of Iranian political culture
Public opinion surveys show that Iranians in general have a stronger sense of national identity than do citizens of most Arab countries. As a result, they are more likely to identify themselves as Iranians first and Muslims second. Their Persian roots encourage the perception that Iran is a distinct culture, and pride in being Iranian is quite pronounced.
Cleavages - social class
The peasantry and lower middle class are sources of support for the regime, partly because they have benefited
from the government's social programs that have provided
them with electricity and paved roads. However, middle and
upper-middle class people are largely secularized, and so they tend to be highly critical of the clerics and their control of the society. Many middle-class people have not fared well economically during the years since the Republic was founded. As a result, their cultural and political views of secularism are reinforced by their economic problems, creating discontent and opposition to the regime.
Cleavages - Pragmatic conservatives v. radical clerics
The complicated set of cleavages in Iran is made more complex by distinct divisions among the clergy that have led to many important disagreements at the top levels of policymaking. Pragmatic conservatives are clergy who favor liberal economic policies that encourage foreign trade, free markets, and direct foreign investment. They base their points of view on strong personal ties to middle-class merchants (bazaaris) and rural landowners
who have long supported mosques and religious activities.
Conservatives argue that private property and economic
inequality are protected under Islamic law. They are generally willing to tum over economic management to liberally inclined technocrats. Radicals are more numerous among younger and more militant clerics, and they call for measures to enhance social justice, especially in terms of providing welfare benefits to Iran's poor. Radicals generally endorse state-sponsored wealth redistribution and price controls.
Cleavages - Reformers v. conservatives
A fundamental cleavage in the political culture since the founding of the Republic has to do with a debate about the merits of a theocracy v. a democracy. The conservatives want to keep the regime as it is, under the control of clerics and sharia law, and the reformers would like to see more secularization and democracy. Most reformers do not want to do away with the basic principles of an Islamic state, but they display a wide array of opinions about how much and where secularization and democracy should be infused into the system.
He was elected as Iran's President in 2005. He was a religious conservative who supported the system of ruling clerics. Main ideas were stamping out corruption and providing aid to the poor. He also strongly defended Iran's right to a nuclear program.
current Iranian President, seen as a moderate more willing to engage the West,
Like the systems of China and Iran, the Mexican system came to be as the result of a revolution. And, as is true in those two countries, the legitimacy of the system rests at least in part on the legacy of the revolution. However, in recent years, what was once only a procedural democracy, or a "democracy in name only" has steadily moved toward being a true substantive, liberal democracy, and in the process the legitimacy of the system has increased in the eyes of many Mexicans, and international observers as well.
Civil Society in Mexico
Mexico had a limited civil society under the corporatist system in place during most of the 20th century. A few key interest groups that cooperated with the government - including the Catholic Church and key labor unions - operated fairly freely during that time, but many others were silenced or ignored. Today, Mexico is in the process of building the type of civil society needed to have a fully-functioning liberal democracy.
Legislative Electoral Systems
Popular elections with universal adult suffrage. Ninety-six seats in the Senate are filled by plurality vote in 32 multi-member districts (each of the 31 states and the Federal District). The remaining 32 seats are filled through a system of proportional
representation using a country-wide party-list. In the Chamber of Deputies, members are chosen using a system of parallel voting. Three-hundred members are directly elected through a single-member district plurality system, while 200 are selected from five electoral regions through a proportional representation system.
Transparency in Mexico
Under the corporatist regime of the 20th century. much of what happened in Mexico occurred as a result of private deals struck between the ruling PRI and its key allies. Corruption was common. Today, major reforms are in place, or planned, that are
designed to open up the political process to greater public scrutiny. The implementation of FOIA, the vetting of all police, and a series of judicial reforms are all examples of this process.
Chinese Communist Party
Peoples Republic of China
The concept of _____ cannot be easily defined in English. It is deeply rooted in Chinese culture and influences how every aspect of Chinese society operates, including those related to government and politics. ______ describes a personal connection between two people that allows one to ask a favor of the other. ____ also describes a network of contacts which an
individual can ask to do a favor, or can call upon to exert influence on behalf of a third party. _____ can also describe the idea that the relationship between two people is such that they
needn't speak their needs for the other to take them into consideration before acting. No matter the formal structures in place, much decision making in China still occurs on the basis of ______.
_______ is the system of internal political organization used in China. The term was first used to describe the Marxist/Leninist system used in the U.S.S.R. Under the theory of ______, members of the ruling party in a single-party state are allowed to
debate policy, but once a decision has been reached by majority vote, all members are expected to follow the decision. In the words of Vladimir Lenin, _______ requires "freedom of discussion, unity of action." In systems that employ ______, the government is usually subordinate to the party. This has been the case in China since the founding of the PRC.
Although over 90% of people living within the People's Republic of China are Han Chinese, China must still deal with significant ethnic cleavages in some regions of the country. To address these cleavages, the Chinese government has set up five autonomous regions within the PRC. The five autonomous regions in the PRC are:
~ Inner Mongolia
Despite the theoretical autonomy of these regions, separatist movements operate within each of them. Both peaceful and violent protests are common in some of these regions. The government in Beijing frequently calls on the military to quell these protests.
Gender as a cleavage
Traditional Chinese culture places far greater value on male children than on female children. At times throughout China's history, this has led to parents killing female infants. Although it is illegal under current Chinese law, the use of sex-selection abortions is a modern incarnation of this ancient issue in Chinese society.
Political Socialization in China
The CCP is the main agent of political socialization in China. The CCP is involved in nearly every official structure in Chinese society; from the media and schools to scout troops, and the CCP uses all of these structures to indoctrinate and educate the people of China in the socialist system of the country.
Political Participation in China
Although electoral politics are not a big part of the Chinese system, the government has experimented with elections at the local level. Since the period of reforms that began in the late 1970s, however, many more avenues of political participation have opened up for the average citizen. Especially at the local level, it is common for leaders to meet with citizens to discuss their concerns.
Political Party System in China
The PRC effectively operates under a single-party system. Unlike the other countries covered in this course, the PRC is run by the parallel structures of the CCP and the government. The CCP sets the ideological and policy agenda in the PRC and party members populate virtually all government positions of real authority. The CCP has ultimate control of many of the key agents of political socialization in China, including the media, schools, and the government. Although other political parties are allowed to exist, all legally operating parties in the PRC must be approved by the CCP. Parties that challenge the supremacy of the CCP rarely, if ever, gain official approval.
National People's Congress
In theory, the party's highest body is the _____________. In practice, the Party Congress is too large and meets too infrequently - once every five years - to exercise any real authority. Instead, it functions primarily as a "rubber stamp" of broad policy decisions made by smaller and more powerful party structures.
party general secretary
Traditionally, the nine-member Politburo Standing Committee holds the most power within the CCP, usually setting the direction of party policy. The Standing Committee of the Politburo holds weekly meetings chaired by the party general secretary. The _____________ is usually the single most powerful political figure in China.
______ consists of 25 full members, including the members of the Politburo Standing Committee. The ______ consists of the key decision makers in China. Selects candidates for Central Committee membership before meetings of the National Party Congress.
_____ - the permanent bureaucratic body of the CCP. Administers party actions, provides staff support to the Politburo, and turns Politburo policies into rules and instructions for subordinate parts of the party apparatus.
Central Military Commission
__________ - although the chairman of the _________n of the PRC (the government) is technically commander-in-chief of the
Chinese military, the ________ of the CCP really controls military policy in the PRC.
The ___________ - consists of about 300 members chosen by the National Party Congress. Members all hold positions of significant power around the country. Theoretically, the ______ is the body that chooses the members of the Politburo, its standing committee, and the general secretary of the party. The ______ exercises the authority of the National Party Congress when that body is not in session, approving party policies. The ______ often plays a crucial role in party policy-making because it is the organ of the CCP in which true political debate between party elites occurs.
Discipline Inspection Commission
The _______________ - has the job of finding corruption within the party, enforcing standards of conduct (including ideological standards), and disciplines party members who do not follow the standards or engage in corruption.
Chinese Governmental System
The role of the government of the PRC is to implement the policies of the CCP. Nothing of significance is done by the government of China without approval of the CCP. China operates under a unitary system of government with all power ultimately resting in the capital, Beijing. There is no American-style separation of powers or checks and balances built into the Chinese government's structures.
President of China
The President of the PRC is largely a ceremonial position. All official actions of the president must be done under orders of the NPC and its Standing Committee. The office has no power of its own. The office of president is term limited; the president may not serve more than two consecutive five-year terms.
While the office of the president has no official power in the government, it has been traditional since the 1990s for the president to also be the general secretary of the CCP. Since the president is head of state of China, the office represents China to the world. By making the general secretary of the CCP the president, the most powerful political figure in China has also been its public and diplomatic face to the world. As a result, the presidency is a powerful position in China despite the lack of official governmental powers.
Supreme People's Court (SPC)
Under the Chinese constitution, the ___________ is responsible to the NPC, and therefore is not a truly independent body, nor does it have the power of judicial review. The ___ is responsible for administering courts of all levels and in all regions of China. Like most supreme courts around the world, the _________ is a court of last resort and has appellate jurisdiction over cases heard in the local courts and the special courts.
People's Liberation Army (PLA)
The __________ is the unified land, sea, air, and missile forces of the PRC.
Oppressive Nigerian military dictator from 1993-1998 who came to power through a military coup.
Military ruler of Nigeria from 1985-1993 who sought to establish the failed Third Republic.
Formula for distributing percentage of oil revenues between national and local government in Nigeria.
Federal Character Principle
Nigerian quota system designed to ease ethnic tension by requiring the president to appoint ministers and civil servants from each Nigerian state.
Nigerian parliamentary regime that followed independence (1960-66)
Nigerian Parliamentary democratic regime (1999 to now)
North, Muslim ethnic group
North, Muslim ethnic group
House of Representatives
Lower house of National Assembly
South East, Christian, failed to secede
MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta)
Militant seperatist group from the Niger Delta.
MOSOP (Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People)
Ethnic association founded by Ken Saro-Wiwa to promote the interests of ethnic Ogoni in the Niger Delta.
NEEDS (National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy)
Reform program to improve economy (stems government corruption and enhance economic infrastructure).
World's third largest wetland and source of Nigerian oil and economic and ethnic conflict.
Military ruler from 1976-1979 and two term elected president, from 1999-2007
Arrangement whereby a ruler depends on a collection of supporters within the state who will gain direct benefits in return for enforcing the ruler's will.
People's Democratic Party
Political party that dominated Nigerian since it's 1998 formation; its base was originally the Hausa Muslims.
Republic of Biafra
Igbo-dominated Eastern Region that tried, and failed, to secede from Nigeria in 1967.
only one available resource to make money off from (oil) (natural resources take over the economy).
Noted Nigerian playwright and environmental activist, executed in 1995 for his defense of the land and peoples of the Niger Delta.
Scramble for Africa
When all the Europeans wanted to have territory in Africa and drew lines on a map
Short lived Nigerian democratic regime from 1979-1983, in which the former parliamentary system was replaced with a presidential regime.
Islamic Law in North
Democratic regime proposed by General Ibrahim Babangida in 1993, but precluded by Abacha's military coup in the same year, following anulled elections
President before Jonathan
South West, Christian, Muslim, Animist
PDP idea to try to keep things fair between the north and south (every two terms the president has to come from a different location to keep the populated North from being really powerful, so a president who is a Northern Muslim can serve two terms, then the next president has to be a Southern Christian)
the lower house of the Russian legislature.
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.s.s.R.)
the Russian word for restructuring. Used to describe the
liberalization of government structures in the Soviet Union under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev.
the Russian word for openness. Describes the policy of increased political openness seen near the end of the U.S.S.R.
the first document that limited the power of the English monarch.
British society is characterized by numerous cleavages. Most of these cleavages are crosscutting rather than coinciding cleavages.
Some of the key cleavages in British society include:
- Wealth and income
- Social class
- Race and ethnicity
- National identity
Sources of Legitimacy
The legitimacy of the British government rests mostly in the rule of law and competitive elections. However, hundreds of years of tradition also play a role in making the British government one of the most stable and legitimate in the world.
The Crown-in-Parliament (Which rules on the behalf of the people)
With a strong protection of individual civil liberties at its core, the British system has encouraged the development of a strong civil society within the United Kingdom. Voluntary organizations off all types operate freely within the country.
Legislative Electoral Systems
Members of the House of Commons are chosen by popular election with universal adult suffrage, using an SMDP voting system. Members of the House of Lords are appointed to office.
Operating under the rule of law, the British system is the most transparent system covered in this course. Political decisions are publicly and freely debated, the courts are independent, and the government largely operates as the law requires.
The _______ consists of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Distinct administrative institutions exist in Scotland and Wales. Recently there has been devolution of power to Scotland and Wales, both of which now have their own
assemblies. The parliament in Scotland has the power to tax and spend on its own, and its members are elected by proportional representation.
Britain has an __________. This means that the "constitution" in Britain consists of several acts of Parliament that have been in place for many years and that are widely supported by the public. In Britain the final authority on the Constitution is the Parliament, and items in the unwritten constitution can be changed by an act of Parliament or simple majority vote. English courts claim no power to declare acts of
The ___________ is the leader of the majority party in Parliament. The _______ must be elected leader of his or her party. Once he is elected he must also retain the
confidence of the party. He can do this by maintaining high levels of popularity and using patronage to silence opposition or reward loyalty. If the ________ proposes legislation that is not supported by his party, he is expected to call for a vote of
confidence in which a new government may be elected. The _____ appears in the House of Commons weekly for "question time," which is an intense session of questioning by the opposition party.
The ____ symbolizes the authority of the government; however, it really holds only ceremonial power.
What is most important in British politics is the ______, which refers to the majority in Parliament.
The executive agencies of the government are referred to as _____.
The prime minister's residence is located on ________.
The _____ are both Members of Parliament (MPs) and heads of departments. They are appointed by the prime minister, usually after a vote of confidence. A _____ minister may hold many roles, including initiating policies, overseeing actions of thousands of civil servants, and interaction with the media.
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