35 terms

PSC 001 Chapter 8

leading models of representative democracy
presidential system (USA), parliamentary system (GB), presidential-parliamentary system (france and russia)
three main branches
executive, legislative, judicial
president is the sole effective head of government, constitutionally armed with real decision-making powers
core principles of the constitution
the president and congress are elected separately; lawmaking depends on a balance of congressional and presidential powers; the supreme court may strike down laws as unconstitutional; the president, the congress and, and the states can together override decisions of the supreme court
parliamentary system of democracy
most widely used form of democracy.
head of government in parliamentary system
usually prime minister or premier; and various ministers of the executive branch; plus the bureaucracies directed by respective cabinet minsters
ceremonial head of state
a constitutional monarch or president who possesses few, if any, real decision-making powers and whose main job is to symbolize the country's unity or the continuity of its history
parliamentary government
the government is selected in a two step process: 1. people elect national legislature 2. national legislature elects or approves the government. no separation of powers/there is a fusion of powers between executive branch and legislature
how parliamentary system works
legislature elects (or approves) the government; the prime minister and other government ministers serve simultaneously as members of the legislature; the gov. must present and defend its policies before the legislature; the legislature can vote the government out of office;
investure vote
formal vote of the legislature to formally approve (elect) a new government
vote of confidence
a showdown vote in the legislature to determine if the government still has the support (confidence) of a voting majority of legislators
single-party majoritarian government
one party wins and absolute majority of seats in the national legislature and forms the governmnet
party discipline
maintained when the parliamentary deputies of a particular party vote together unanimously as a bloc
hung parliment
if no party succeeds in winning an absolute majority of legislative seats (alternates are majority coalition or failing that, a minority government)
coalition government
consists of two or more parties that agree to share cabinet posts, usually in order to form a voting majority in the legislature
most characteristic features of coalition government
it provides small parties with an opportunity to participate in the executive branch of government
essential features of parliamentarism
provide for a system of governmental dependence on the legislature
Parliamentary system: how the legislature elects/approves the government
1. single party majoritarian government 2. majority coalition government; 3. minority government
advantage of coalitions
expands representation in the executive branch of government, increase level of bargaining and compromise in the executive branch, flexibility and adaptability (can reform without a new election)
disadvantages of coalition
inefficiency (harder for two parties to agree), ineffectiveness (same), governing coalitions fall apart and must be replaced fairly frequently
governmental instability
governing coalitions fall apart and must be replaced fairly frequently
minority government
consists of one or more parties whose delegates do not constitute a majority of the legislative house
how minority governments legislate
parliamentary alliance, on a vote by vote basis, abstain from voting
parliamentary alliance
when two or more parties agree that they will not share cabinet posts, but their legislators will vote together to support the government and pass legislation
anticipated elections
parliamentary elections that take place before the expiration of the legislature's full term aka snap elections
circumstances under which anticipated elections can take place
no government can be formed in the national legislature, public pressure demands immediate elections, government wants snap elections so as to solidify a parliamentary majority
presidential-parliamentary system
aka semi-presidentialism. features a president and a prime minister who each have significant decision-making powers. (dual-executive system)
single member district/plurality method
country is divided into electoral districts for elections to a particular legislative chamber
single member district (SMD)
also known as the mandate system. one person is elected to represent each district. in each district, the candidate who wins a plurality of votes-that is, the most votes-wins the legislative seat
simple majority
multimember district
sends two or more representatives to the national legislature
plurality election systems
also called majoritarian electoral systems
potential problems with SMD/plurality system
1. can lead to a disparity between a party's share of the vote on a nationwide basis and its share of the seats in the legislature. 2. also, tends to punish small parties 3. a result that is fair at the local level may turn out to be unfair at the national level
proportional representation (PR)
a party's share (percentage) of its seats in the legislature exactly or approximately equals its share of the popular vote nation-wide. voters vote for THE PARTY, not the individual candidate
problems with PR
1. can lead to a fairly wide proliferation of political parties represented in the legislature 2. often results in a multiparty coalition government or a minority government