What is the Difference between Presidential and Parliamentary form of Government?

Introduction:

Presidential and Parliamentary forms of Govt are two different systems of Government, which are available in all countries of the world. These two systems are for good governance. System of Government in every country is functioning with either Presidential or Parliamentary form of Govt. Historically these two systems of Government are available in United States of America and United Kingdom.

The countries, remained under colonial system, had adopted the system left by their masters except of some, for example USA adopted Presidential form of Government after getting Independence from UK. On the other hand New Zealand is following the system of Westminster model, which also remained colony of UK. Similarly, Nigeria also adopted the Presidential form of Government after getting independence from France. Like this, Pakistan and India had also adopted Parliamentary form of Government after getting independence from United Kingdom, which was there at that time.

Presidential Form of Government

Presidential system of Government in USA is very successful since long because of its Constitution. Constitution of the USA well defines the limitations of the three Institutes (1) Executive (2) Legislature (3) Judicature. Her constitution precisely contains the doctrine of Separation of Power between these three pillars.

Parliamentary Form of Government

Parliamentary form of Government is very historical and successful in United Kingdom. Many countries had adopted this form of Government because of its success in UK. In early days every word spoken by the King or Queen was the law and no one had power to contradict it. But gradually, a concept of personal freedom became popular and House of Common tried to become more powerful. Hence the doctrine of Supremacy of Parliament developed. The development of the supremacy of Parliament stemmed from the English Civil War and expanded over since and is now a dominant theme in British politics. Majesty of King or Queen is now ceremonial. All the functions of Government are being controlled by the UK Parliament. This is too much independent Parliament in the world; therefore, there is a saying that “Parliament of Britain can do everything except to change the sex of a person”

In this system, members are chosen / elected directly by the people through plebiscite. These members represent their constituency at one floor. This system is also very popular in all the countries of the world. In every country, some are in favour of Presidential form of Government and some are in favour of Parliament form of Government.

Comparative Study of Parliamentary and Presidential Forms of Government

Comparison of these both systems are as under:-

(1) In the Parliamentary system the Prime Minister and Chief Minister are totally dependent upon their respective Legislatures in the matter of selection of Ministers. On the other hand, they are expected to select men of vision, integrate, honest having professional knowledge and practical experience. They are also supposed to give adequate representation to the privilege as well as to the neglected sections of society. In case of the Centre, for instance, Prime Minister has to select her or his entire team from a small pool of 446 Members of Parliament, who, in turn are elected in most cases due to their popularity or on account of their loyalty to the party or on sectarianism or casteism or Nawabism. The Prime Minister may be able to pick up such able and experienced ministers only if he or she is left free to make the selection from wherever deserving hands are available, and is not tied down to the small groups of Members of Parliament who consist largely of professional politicians and sycophants.

Under the Presidential system, on the other hand, the President is not hampered by such considerations. He is not tied to or subordinate to the legislature. He is free to choose his cabinet of ministers from outside the members of the legislature. In this way, he can induct really competent, experienced and deserving people into the government. He can choose freely men of vision and integrate having professional knowledge and practical experience.

(2) In the Parliamentary system for the reasons listed above, the ministers are not able to provide effective leadership. As they do not have the requisite expertise. They have to depend largely on the civil servants, their secretaries and under-secretaries. They become mere puppets in the hands of the officers, and thus democracy degenerates into bureaucracy. Some illiterate members/ministers are elected on the basis of casteism having no educational background; therefore, they do not have knowledge of the changes of the world. They depend on bureaucracy.

The Presidential system suffers from no such disadvantages. The ministers have the necessary expertise, and so are not dominated by the civil servants. They know their business, and can see to it that their policies and programs are faithfully carried out. President can change his minister at anytime. He is not answerable to anybody.

(3) As the ministers are chosen from party men in the Parliamentary form, the party is deprived of capable persons needed to keep the organization united, homogenous, strong and viable. As a result of this drain of talent from the party to government, the party organization grows weak, and indiscipline and infighting, are the result.

The Presidential system is largely free from these drawbacks, as well as from rivalry and friction between the party bosses and the ministerial wing. The party and the government thus work in harmony.

(4) The politics of defection is the worst fault of the Parliamentary form. Defections become the order of the day. This result in corruption, nepotism, casteism, regionalism, and often short lived coalition government are formed. Defection leads to multiplication of political parties, political instability comes in the way of constructive work. This generates the pressure groups, which always blackmail the ruling party as well as opposition party. Similarly, these groups also help the bureaucracy in its effort to derail the system. This evil is unheard of in the other system.

In Presidential system of Government, one man almost all men because he possess the mandate to do which he thinks fit and go ahead. No one can assert pressure on him.

(5) The legislators and M.P's are not free to vote according to their conscience in the Parliamentary system. They must obey the party-whip or face expulsion.

The Presidential system is superior in this respect.

Advantages of Presidential Form of Government

Salient features of Presidential system of Government are as under:-

  1. A strong and stable Government
  2. An able and mature ministry through direct induction of top professionals and technocrats
  3. Legislator's freedom from the fear or 'party whip' resulting separation of the Executive from the Legislature
  4. Gradual emergency of the two party-systems as a result of pre-election coalition of like-minded parties, before the very eyes of the electorate
  5. Bureaucracy remains under the mature surveillance of political leadership, and
  6. Rampant defections and uneasy post-election coalitions tend to disappear.

Advantages of Parliamentary Form of Government

Salient features of the Parliamentary form of Government are as under:-

  1. Selection of Prime Minister on the will of majority of members of the Parliament.
  2. Chosen of members by the voting power of people.
  3. Decisions on issues on the basis of consensus of majority.
  4. Option of citizen to choose best one.
  5. Interest of the people in the affairs of the country. Consequently, development of public opinion.
  6. Manifesto of the parties for the general public to decide mandate.
  7. Criticism by the opposition.
  8. Equal representation of all constituencies either urban or rural.
  9. Legislation according to the will of the people by the members representing them in the parliament.

Disadvantages of Presidential Form of Government

No doubt that Presidential form of Government has many advantages and greater stability and sanity in the politics of a country. However, it has the following drawbacks:-

  1. By making the President and his colleagues independent of the Legislature, it makes the executive too powerful and this carries within it seeds of Dictatorship.
  2. President considers himself always right because of absolute power, which causes danger to the integrity of country.
  3. President selects always his closest friends even not intelligent and remote to their expertise and experience.
  4. Sometimes President makes covenant against the country to save his regime.
  5. In Presidential System, reign of Government remains in few hands. Resultantly few minds apply on some important issues.

Disadvantages of Parliamentary Form of Government

Drawbacks of the Parliamentary form of Government are as under:-

  1. Delay in decisions.
  2. Ministers are selected by the Prime Minister on the basis of influence in the party.
  3. Newly elected members sometimes neglected even competent in their fields.
  4. Misuse of authority by the members of Parliamentary because of majority.
  5. Members of Parliament cannot go against the party’s policy. Even they cannot vote according to their conscience.
  6. Nomination of illiterate members as ministers causing strongest bureaucracy.
  7. Influence of small factions on the political parties.

Constitutional Development in Pakistan

Pakistan had got independence from United Kingdom. Before partition of Sub Continent, Britain who are famous for their democratic norms promulgates Indian Act 1935, having Parliamentary system of Government. At the time of partition it was impossible for newly emerged countries Pakistan and India to formulate their new Constitution from the day one. That’s why both the countries adopted all the Acts, Ordinances without any change till the finalization of their own constitutions. The first Governor General Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, constituted Pakistan’s first Constituent Assembly to formulate a Constitution in the light of Objective Resolution 1940. After a long journey towards Constitution, at last Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly succeeded in formation of first Constitution in 1956. This Constitution had the Parliamentary form of Government. It was abrogated by the usurper Gen Ayub and he later promulgated new experiment in the form of 2nd Constitution 1962, which had the Presidential form of Government. This system of Government was against the will of the citizen of Pakistan, which resulted separation of East Pakistan because they had grown up under the Parliamentary norms, which was in their genetic. That’s why they were loved to that system. However, another new Constitution 1973 having the Parliamentary forms of Government promulgated in the light of demand and desire of people of Pakistan, which is still in use.

Conclusion of Research

Every nation should adopt that system which is most suitable to the citizen of that country instead following the system left by their master, because this tendency do not develop the system of government. China is the example, who adopted neither Presidential and Parliament system of Government nor communism. There is the system having combination of Presidential and Parliamentary as well as communist systems of Government. For example, there is People’s Procuratorate, which is an independent elected body for five years having power to lodge protest with the Supreme People’s Court against any decision/order passed by Supreme Court. As per my research there is no countries, which have such system of check and balance. USA is another example, who adopted different system of Government i.e Presidential form of Government instead parliamentary system of Government left by United Kingdom. Intellectuals of America showing their domination by change in the spells of English language. They also introduced the doctrine of separation of power. This doctrine was not following in UK in the recent past. Judicial authorities were being exercised by the House of Lords, who were also members of the Legislature. Resultantly, sometimes they were exercising their influence in any one institute. This problem has now been realized by Britain and established a new Supreme Court w.e.f. 1st October 2009 by promulgating the Constitutional Reforms Act 2005. All Judicial powers of House of Lords have been withdrawn and vested to the new Supreme Court.

However, people love either Presidential or Parliamentary systems of Government. But according to my notion Parliament system of Government is the best than Presidential system of Government because this system contains option to select/chose the best one member who represents every Constituency of country either Urban or Rural. Legislation is being made keeping in view of the reservations of all constituency. Prime Minister leads the house with all members and tries to run the affairs of Government with consensus of majority. There is no absolute power. All matters either domestic or international are decided with consensus of political parties. All members keep close contact with the citizens of their constituencies, which result fruitful public opinion.