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 Parliamentary or Presidential?

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PostSubject: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:56 pm

I thought I'd get this forum going considering it's one of the few with nothing in it as of now. It's also something which I haven't seen discussed on P.ie so I thought I'd put it here.

The pros of a parliamentary system are:

1.Direct accountability of executive(ie, ministers) to electorate.
2.Direct accountability of Head of Government to electorate.
3.Policy formation involves more open discussion in parliament rather than clandestine cabinet meetings.

The con:

1.Localism: TDs are too worried about constituency matters and are distracted from issues of national importance.


The pros of presidential system:

1.Like pro no.2 of parliamentary system only even better. The President is directly elected.
2.Simplicity: None of this transfer, vote maximisation, coalition horse-trading compelxity. Candidate wins 51%+ and is elected.
3.Ministers are not limited to those elected, President can appoint brilliant minds from academia and industry to Cabinet.

The cons:

1.Personality before policy.
2.Dullness: compare the variety of our 6 parties to the monotony of the Democrats and Republicans in the US.

Can anyone think of any more advantages and dis-advantages of both?
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:12 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
I thought I'd get this forum going considering it's one of the few with nothing in it as of now. It's also something which I haven't seen discussed on P.ie so I thought I'd put it here.

The pros of a parliamentary system are:

1.Direct accountability of executive(ie, ministers) to electorate.
2.Direct accountability of Head of Government to electorate.
3.Policy formation involves more open discussion in parliament rather than clandestine cabinet meetings.

The con:

1.Localism: TDs are too worried about constituency matters and are distracted from issues of national importance.


The pros of presidential system:

1.Like pro no.2 of parliamentary system only even better. The President is directly elected.
2.Simplicity: None of this transfer, vote maximisation, coalition horse-trading compelxity. Candidate wins 51%+ and is elected.
3.Ministers are not limited to those elected, President can appoint brilliant minds from academia and industry to Cabinet.

The cons:

1.Personality before policy.
2.Dullness: compare the variety of our 6 parties to the monotony of the Democrats and Republicans in the US.

Can anyone think of any more advantages and dis-advantages of both?

Well, I wouldn't consider "none of this transfer, vote maximisation, coalition horse-trading compelxity...candidate wins 51%+ and is elected" an advantage, I have to say. Interesting, have to think about it a bit more.
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:17 pm

ibis wrote:

Well, I wouldn't consider "none of this transfer, vote maximisation, coalition horse-trading compelxity...candidate wins 51%+ and is elected" an advantage, I have to say. Interesting, have to think about it a bit more.

Well, I'm not exactly enamoured with the idea of presidential systems but it is a good thing for it that Candidate X gets 55% while Candidate Y garners 40% and Z picks up the balance. There's no difficulty to that system, it's readily understandable and can encourage political engagement outside the ranks of people who frequent websites like these.


Last edited by Ard-Taoiseach on Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:17 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : to fix up spelling mistakes)
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:29 pm

In Presidencies

there is the opportunity for cronyism if ministers get appointed like that..

Winning with 51% while the other side is left with 49% could lead to divisive politics and bitterness could it not? It is not representative. And I wonder if the very structure of having to or being able to elect one person with such power creates a mentality of expecting a final showdown between two or three people only, with less regard for the policies of those people.

I can't think of any pros at the minute, even if the above are valid cons.

Good thread.
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:47 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
In Presidencies

there is the opportunity for cronyism if ministers get appointed like that..

That's very true, it's the flipside of the positive.

Quote :
Winning with 51% while the other side is left with 49% could lead to divisive politics and bitterness could it not? It is not representative. And I wonder if the very structure of having to or being able to elect one person with such power creates a mentality of expecting a final showdown between two or three people only, with less regard for the policies of those people.

That's another disadvantage of the presidency system, though at least it's honest. In Ireland it's dressed up. It was really Kenny versus Ahern in that election last year.

Quote :
I can't think of any pros at the minute, even if the above are valid cons.

Good thread.

Thanks! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:05 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidential_democracy

With just a little peak inside wiki they say that a president cannot be removed by the legislature which sounds crazy but I suppose has to be the case... This they say leads to more stability because the Opposition won't focus on nothing else only trying to get the President (who is effectively an elected monarch) out like in a parliamentary democracy. Sound familiar?

It's interesting that world Presidential democracies in blue below include Iran, Yemen, Algeria, Indonesia, Afghanistan etc. (islamic) and seems to be the dominant kind...



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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:38 pm

I presume we are talking about presidencies which are underpinned by some kind of vote based legislature? Such as the US ?

GWB can't change anything on the statutes without it being voted in Congress, yes?

So i can see differences between the electoral processes, but not so many in the legislative/expenditure processes.
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:43 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidential_democracy

With just a little peak inside wiki they say that a president cannot be removed by the legislature which sounds crazy but I suppose has to be the case... This they say leads to more stability because the Opposition won't focus on nothing else only trying to get the President (who is effectively an elected monarch) out like in a parliamentary democracy. Sound familiar?

It's interesting that world Presidential democracies in blue below include Iran, Yemen, Algeria, Indonesia, Afghanistan etc. (islamic) and seems to be the dominant kind...




...in terms of area!
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Fri Mar 21, 2008 1:45 am

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
I presume we are talking about presidencies which are underpinned by some kind of vote based legislature? Such as the US ?

GWB can't change anything on the statutes without it being voted in Congress, yes?

So i can see differences between the electoral processes, but not so many in the legislative/expenditure processes.


But he does have powers of veto...
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Fri Mar 21, 2008 5:09 pm

Kate P wrote:
EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
I presume we are talking about presidencies which are underpinned by some kind of vote based legislature? Such as the US ?

GWB can't change anything on the statutes without it being voted in Congress, yes?

So i can see differences between the electoral processes, but not so many in the legislative/expenditure processes.


But he does have powers of veto...

I think that can be overturned by a 2/3rds majority in Congress, though.
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:58 pm

I thought I'd bump this thread.
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:34 am

I was thinking about this the other day ... would a presidential democracy have the benefit of unity of purpose and vision - the Body Politic ultimately represented by a single human body at the Head of Govt. unlike Parliaments which more resemble a human with multiple personality disorder - not a receipe for survival in certain environments...

The flip-side is your President's vision could be crap..
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:36 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
I was thinking about this the other day ... would a presidential democracy have the benefit of unity of purpose and vision - the Body Politic ultimately represented by a single human body at the Head of Govt. unlike Parliaments which more resemble a human with multiple personality disorder - not a receipe for survival in certain environments...

The flip-side is your President's vision could be crap..

True, there are dis-advantages to every system. Perhaps we could use the semi-presidential system of France? That seems to be an interesting combination.
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:41 am

Semi- ? Actually does the true Presidential system really ultimately give responsibility to the President? I have seen Thirteen Days where the military wanted Kennedy to invade Cuba and he told em to feck off politely and then we see Robert Kennedy's shooting where he promised to pull out of Vietnam so maybe ultimately power does lie with the American Taoiseach - GWB however doesn't inspire confidence (for some of us it's too late - he pressed the button already)
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:53 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
Semi- ? Actually does the true Presidential system really ultimately give responsibility to the President? I have seen Thirteen Days where the military wanted Kennedy to invade Cuba and he told em to feck off politely and then we see Robert Kennedy's shooting where he promised to pull out of Vietnam so maybe ultimately power does lie with the American Taoiseach - GWB however doesn't inspire confidence (for some of us it's too late - he pressed the button already)

Constitutionally, I believe the Office of the President was quite weak. The Constution was drawn up in an 18th Century America where there was no great sense of unity that there is there today. What I mean is that no matter whether you're in Phoenix, Pennslvania or Pasadena, you're still in one place: the US of A. That meant that the President was but a very small Sun around which the Madisonian USA would orbit. Strong men like Washington, Jefferson and Madison himself could overcome these constitutional impediments and lead but other, weaker presidents couldn't. This meant that the presidency was an irrelevancy to a lot of people in the US at the time.

The president today is a lot more relevant, but some of that constitutional infrastructure remains. The weaknesses of the presidency was tested by events like the Cuban Missile Crisis you refer to above.
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:59 am

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:

The president today is a lot more relevant, but some of that constitutional infrastructure remains. The weaknesses of the presidency was tested by events like the Cuban Missile Crisis you refer to above.
Do you mean the amount of responsibility one man had? Was that the weakness? If so has it changed now do you know?
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:06 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:

The president today is a lot more relevant, but some of that constitutional infrastructure remains. The weaknesses of the presidency was tested by events like the Cuban Missile Crisis you refer to above.
Do you mean the amount of responsibility one man had? Was that the weakness? If so has it changed now do you know?

Well, the way I see it, the President of the US started out with only a little more power than our own president. As the complexity of the task of government grew(govts once didn't even have Health and Education departments) so too did the powers and responsibilities of the President. The increase in the role of the federal layer of government(the FBI, CIA, the Fed, FDA etc.) also led to an increase in the role of the president. One weakness of the Office of the President is that he cannot set a budget like our Taoiseach. Our Taoiseach can have a puppet MoF, use the Chief Whip to rustle up a Dáil majority and get a budget through. The President of the US, on the other hand, has o horse-trade and engage in pork barrel spending to rsutle up a Congressional majority to get a budget through. It is a decidedly weak position.
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:05 pm

Good thread.
I don't think the president being accountable to the electorate makes any difference. How many US presidents stood down? And bringing in non-elected experts to hold cabinet positions is just not democratic.

Our way of doing things is the best, naturally.
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Tue Apr 01, 2008 7:13 pm

905 wrote:
Good thread.
I don't think the president being accountable to the electorate makes any difference. How many US presidents stood down? And bringing in non-elected experts to hold cabinet positions is just not democratic.

But what about the talents that an academic, an engineer, a general and people of business could bring to a Cabinet table? Look at how Sarkozy can construct a highly eclectic Cabinet in France to serve its interests in a far more responsive manner than some 50-something white males. That is the demographic of any Senior Minister; and women, immigrants and young people rarely get a look in in the parliamentary system.

Quote :
Our way of doing things is the best, naturally.

I'd be intrigued in your pros for the parliamentary system. Could you add to mine?
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PostSubject: Re: Parliamentary or Presidential?   Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:17 pm

I'd love to see the French response if Sarkozy had brought in bright and innovative Americans to run the show. I don't mean to a luddite populist here, but to me that's saying 'clearly the plebs can't be relied upon to elect proper people. Let's do the job for them, tough cookies if they don't like it.'

I remember back in my sociology days the lecturer claiming that clientalist, local politics was a pretty good way of doing things that actually cut down on corruption. My lecture notes, alas, were lost. But if a smarter person than me said it, it must be true.

The big problem, as pointed out by yourself, is that the TD's are too busy looking after the interests of their constituents to actually run the country, which is what consultants are for (don't ask me what the civil service is supoosed to do).

Can't really add to your pros, only emphasise them.
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