AP Comparative Government Final Exam Set #2
These are terms specific to the core countries.
Terms in this set (65)
In the earliest years of the 21st century, the legitimacy of the Russian government was at very low ebb, partly because the regime change was so recent, and partly because the change appeared to be a drastic departure from the past. However, there is growing evidence that the system has stabilized since Vladimir Putin was first elected president in 2000, and since then, Putin and his successor, Medvedev, retreated from democratic practices to reestablish some of the old authoritarianism from Russia's traditional political culture.
Historical Influences on Political Traditions: Absolute, centralized rule
From the beginning, Russian tsars held absolute power that they defended with brutality and force. One reason for their tyranny was geography: the Russian plain was overrun and conquered by a series of invaders, including Huns, Vikings, and Mongols. The chaos caused by these takeovers convinced Russian leaders of the importance of firm, unchallenged leadership in keeping their subjects in control. Centralized power also characterized the Communist regime of the 20th century. Many observers believe that Vladimir Putin has steered the country back to this style of leadership.
Russia's Conflictual Political Culture
The idea that the rights of the nation are supreme over the rights of the individuals who make up the nation.
The 450 members of the _____ are selected by popular election using a party-list voting system. Members serve for a term of four years, although starting with the 2012 election cycle, the term will be extended to five years.
The 166 member _______ represent the 83
recognized regional governments within the federation. Each regional government selects two members of the council. One representative of each region is selected by that region's
governor with the consent of the regional legislature, while the other is directly elected by the regional legislature. There is no formal term limit for members of the ________.
Powers of the Duma
>- Consenting to the appointment of the Prime Minister
>- Hearing annual reports from the Government of the Russian Federation on the
results of its work, including on issues raised by the State Duma
>- Issuing votes of confidence on the Government
>- Appointing and dismissing the Chairman of the Central Bank of Russia
>- Appointing and dismissing the Chairman and half of the auditors of the Accounts
>- Appointing and dismissing the Commissioner for Human Rights
>- Impeaching the president by a two-thirds majority
>- Adopting decrees by a majority vote of the total number of deputies of the State
Powers of the Federation Council
In addition to this important power, the Federation Council also has these additional powers:
>- Approving changes of borders within the Russian Federation
>- Approving presidential decrees invoking martial law
>- Approving presidential decrees of states of emergency
>- Deciding on the use of the armed forces outside the territory of the Russian Federation
>- Declaring the election of the president
>- Removing the president, following impeachment by the State Duma
>- Approving the president's nomination of judges of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, and of the Higher
Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation
~ Approving the president's nomination of the Attorney General
~ Appointing the Deputy Chairman and half the auditors of the Accounting Chamber
How the Federation Council and the Duma Interact
Most bills in Russia originate in the State Duma and, if passed there, are sent to the Federation Council for its approval. A majority vote is required for bills to pass the Federation
Council. When the Council rejects a law passed by the State Duma, the two chambers are required to form a Conciliation Committee to form a compromise document, which is then
voted on by both houses of the legislature. In addition, the State Duma may override the Federation Council's veto of legislation by passing a bill by a two-thirds majority.
Chinese Communist Party
Peoples Republic of China
Ethnic Cleavages China
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 China
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 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.
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.
Many of China's recent leaders come from the "princeling" class, an aristocracy of families with revolutionary
credentials from the days of Mao Zedong. Their policy
preferences are not always clear: some have been big beneficiaries of China's economic reforms, using their political connections and Western education to build lucrative business careers. Other princelings are critical of China's stark inequality
and call for a return to socialist principles. Former President
Hu Jintao's son, Hu Haifeng, who headed a big company that
produced airport scanners, is a prominent princeling, as is Xi
Jinping, who took over as party chief in 2012 and as president
in 2013. Another princeling is Wen Yunsong, a financier who
is the son of Wen Jiabao, the former prime minister.
legitimacy in Nigeria
The legitimacy of the current Nigerian government system rests mostly in its design. With a federal structure and requirements for competitive elections, the Nigerian system is built to assure that all portions of Nigeria's highly diverse population have a say in its governance. In reality, the ineffectiveness of the current government and prior governments as well, greatly undermines this legitimacy. During periods of military rule, the legitimacy of those governments rested heavily in the fact that the religious and ethnic cleavages, which create so much turmoil in Nigerian society, tend to have a smaller impact on the functioning of the military.
civil society in Nigeria
Deep cleavages across Nigerian society have greatly hampered the development of a vibrant civil society within the country. Mistrust among the various ethnic and religious groups within the society remains a significant problem.
legislative electoral systems
Popular elections with universal adult suffrage. Members of both the House and the Senate are chosen by an SMDP system.
transparency in Nigeria
Corruption remains a serious problem in Nigeria. The courts are not independent and little happens in Nigeria as the constitution says it is supposed to. As a result, despite government attempts at reform, the decision-making process in Nigeria is frequently hidden from the public's view.
the primary sector
includes farming, fishing, logging, mining and other industries in which raw materials are grown or extracted.
The secondary sector
involves the transformation of raw materials and natural resources (from the primary sector) into finished products. (industrial societies)
The portion of the economy concerned with transportation, communications, and utilities, sometimes extended to the provision of all goods and services to people in exchange for payment.
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.
Level of Transparency 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.
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 initiates legislation
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.
Cleavages - Ethnicity Iran
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 Iran
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
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.
Cleavages - social class Iran
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 Iran
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.
current Iranian President, seen as a moderate more willing to engage the West,
a. Nigeria has strong impulses toward fragmentation, or the tendency to fall apart along ethnic, regional, and
b. Ironically, the military is one of the few truly national
organizations in Nigeria, so despite the problems that it has posed for democracy, it is also an important source of stability in an unstable country.
c. That stability lends legitimacy to the military's right to rule, and explains why, despite the fact that the last three presidents of Nigeria have been civilians, one (Olusegun Obasanjo) was formerly a military general. Most major candidates for the presidency in recent years have also been drawn from the military.
a. an extremely personalized system of rule in which all public offices are treated as personal fiefdoms.
b. By creating large patronage networks based on personal loyalty, civilian officials have skewed economic and political management to such an extent that they have often discredited themselves.
c. Local government officials gain support from villagers through dispensing favors, and they in tum receive favors for supporting patron bosses. Of course, most favors are exchanged among the political elite, but the pattern persists on all
Nigeria has one of the most fragmented societies in the world, with important cleavages based on ethnicity, religion, region, urban/rural differences, and social class.
Nigerian Cleavages - Ethnicity
Nigeria has between 250 and 400 separate ethnic groups with their own array of customs, languages, and religions.
The three largest groups- the Hausa-Fulani, lgbo, and
Yoruba - have very little in common, and generally cannot
speak one another's languages. They live separately in their
own enclaves, and virtually no contact take place among the
Nigerian Cleavages - Social Class
The division between elites and ordinary people runs deep in Nigeria. The wealth of the elites stems from control of the state and the resources of the country. They have maintained power through appealing to ethnic and religious identities of the people. Elites generally have found it difficult to abandon their access to the government's treasury for personal gain, and yet many educated elite would like to see Nigeria transformed into a modem nation based on democratic principles.
Nigerian Cleavages - regional
Although Nigeria's ethnic divisions are multiple, the country was divided into Three Federated Regions in 1955, five years before independence was official. These regions follow ethnic and religious divisions, and they are the basis for setting election and legislative procedures, as well as political party affiliations. Another way to divide Nigeria by region is north vs. south, with the north being primarily Muslim, and the South mainly Christian.
Nigerian Cleavages - Urban/rural differences
As in many other countries, significant urban/rural differences divide Nigeria. Political organizations and interest groups exist primarily in cities, as well as newspapers and electronic media sources. Although their activities were suppressed by the annulment of the election of 1993 and the execution of rights activist and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995, most organized protests have taken place in cities.
Nigerian Cleavages - Religion
In China and the former Soviet Union, ethnic tensions are (were) managed by imposing communism on the society
so that some unifying ideology held the people together.
Nigeria has had no such ideology, but instead its political culture
is made more complex by competing religions. About
half of all Nigerians are Muslim, 40% are Christian, and the
remaining 10% affiliate with native religions.
Body of Islamic law that includes interpretation of the Quran and applies Islamic principles to everyday life
a Nigerian militant Islamist group that seeks the imposition of Shariah law throughout all 36 states of Nigeria
National Government (Nigeria)
presidential system with a bicameral legislature, known
collectively as the National Assembly. Both representatives and senators serve four-year renewable terms, and elections are held the week preceding the presidential election.
The Senate - Currently the upper house is composed of 109
senators, three from each of 36 states and one from the federal
capital territory of Ahuja. Senators are elected directly by
popular vote. Its equal representation model for states is based
on that of the United States Senate, so some senators represent much smaller populations than others do. However, the ethnic and religious diversity of the 36 states means that senators are also a diverse lot.
• The House of Representatives - The House of Representatives has 360 members from single-member districts. They are elected by plurality, and like the senators, represent many different ethnicities.
a. judicial review exists in theory
b. Court structures exist at both federal and state levels, with the highest court in the land being the Supreme Court.
c. The court structure is complicated by the sharia courts that exist side by side with courts based on the British model.
Democratization - Nigeria
• Some checks and balances between government branches
• Some independent decisions in the courts
• Revival of civil society
• Independent media
• Peaceful succession of power
• Improving Freedom House scores
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