In this paper, forms of governments are put into perspective. This is done in the light of the prevailing advantages and the disadvantages associated with various systems of governance. There are two major forms of democracies. There are the parliamentary and presidential systems. These are both forms of government that are practiced depending on the set of laws governing a State. An argument is presented that considers the positives of one type as opposed to the other. This is however in reference to Nigeria, which is a West African country. It is currently under the presidential system of democracy.
A parliamentary system of governance reflects structures where members of the executive are drawn from the legislature. They also remain answerable to parliament. On the other hand, a presidential system involves the mode of governance that encompasses members of the executive not being members of the legislature arm and are not in any way responsible to parliament, but to the president. In the latter case, substantial powers are vested with one person, the president. Therefore, in the parliamentary case, there is interconnection between the two branches of government while in the other system, there is not any such relationship.
The parliamentary system has its advantages. It is quicker and faster in passing bills. This is because members of the executive are also legislators. This makes it easier for the executive to have an available support team that would push its ideas or policies in parliament. This is in contrast to the presidential system where the members from the executive arm do not qualify to be legislative members (Dahl 11). In cases where these members are from different political parties and ideologies, there would be so much misunderstanding and opposition towards the executive moves. This may draw resistance from the legislatures, who have the powers to derail the bills before the floor of parliament. Such a move has the effect of delaying implementation of government policies and plans.
In the parliamentary system, there is distribution of power to other arms like the legislature. There is also some sense of accountability since the executive is answerable to parliament. In the latter house, it constituted of elected members, who are representatives of the citizenry. When they question the activities of the executive branch of government, this means they are carrying the views or queries of the citizenry. The effect of this is that the people are involved in the governance of their state, which is a prerequisite for democracy and good leadership in any state. In contrast to the above, the presidential system offers the executive members who are solely appointed by the president and report to him or her. This reduces the chances of achieving accountability as in such a system leaders remain responsible to the people whose wishes should be reflected in the governance of their states.
In the former style of governance, the members of parliament who also make it to the executive branch are elected leaders. Once they have been given a chance to serve as ministers, they would obviously strive to excel so that they improve their chances of being elected for other preceding terms by the electorate. This is based on the premises that good performance appeases the citizens and thereby increasing their chances of being popular and a possible victory at the ballot. It is hence evident that there exists an incentive for an elected leader to perform well in their cabinet positions, so that they enhance their re-election chances. In the latter system, the executive as earlier mentioned are appointed at the discretion of the head of state. The executive arm no longer holds members who are directly involved as leaders elected by the citizens. They are answerable to the president. Their performances may not be seek to serve satisfy the citizens since they do not benefit from such. They can though work to please the head of state who appointed them. This has the effect of reducing the efficiency of the executive arm in service delivery to the public.
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In the presidential system, it tends to offer authoritarian kind of leadership. Since the people elect the president, they are the only ones who can remove him from power. This limits the legislature from keeping the president checked by being accountable to them (Bates 16). Parliament has no powers over the president. This can serve to be an impediment to change of leadership, where the president persistently hangs on to power. This leads to unfortunate events of an imperial presidency.
From the preceding discussion, it is in no doubt; the parliamentary system is the desirable system of any governance. From the reasons given above, the mode offers better leadership that distributes power to other institutions like parliament and thereby reduces the prospects of vesting all the powers with one individual. The system is also representative since the parliamentarians are the people’s agents in parliament. This means that the voice of the electorate is well in the executive and involved in the formulation and implementation of policies. It also offers a chance and an avenue for elected leaders in the executive to deliver as they serve in the cabinet. The citizens are able to effectively monitor and rate their performances for any review before voting. It is a better system of democracy, therefore for Nigeria.
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