BPSC-133 Unit- 5 Parliamentary and Presidential systems, Notes available for IGNOU.


SUBJECT NAMEComparative government and politics
COURSEB.A (General) political science (BAG)
TOTAL MARKS100 marks



  1. Introduction
  2. Meaning and features of parliamentary systems
  3. Advantages and Disadvantages of parliamentary and presidential systems


The Relationship between the legislature and executive has been a key debate in political science. Both the parliamentary and presidential systems have their distintive features and respective strenghts and weaknesses.

UNIT- 5 EXPLANATION :- https://youtu.be/vQOFhsXftrM


It refers to the form of government in which the executive and legislature are fused and the executive remains responsible and accountable the legislature. Its distinctive features :-

  1. Two Executive heads :- It include head of state and head of government. The head of the state is symbolic representative of the state whose role is primarily non-political, formal, symbolic and ceremonial. It can either be heriditary or selective. It enjoys and performs a wide range of ceremonial power and functions such as appointing head of government and other ministers, giving assent t legislation and treaties awarding honours, and receiving ambassados high commissioners, heads of state and soon. The head of government is a political leader who serves as real executive. It exercise decision-making and political responsibilities.
  2. Fusion of the executive and legislature :- In parliamentary systems, there is no clear-cut separation of powers between legislative and executive but is a fusion of powers. It takes four forms :- 1. Executive (the cabinet or council of ministers including PM) is drawn from the legislature and remains accountable to it. 2. A new government is formed only after it secures a vote of confidence from the legislature. 3. The executive cannot pass its legislative proposals without majority support. Legislature before completion by passing vote of no confidence. 4. The prime minister can dessolve legislature before its expiry and call for a new elections.
  3. Collective Responsibility :- This prinicple denotes that council of ministers as whole must support all government decisions. It means they are equally responsible for all acts, the before no. memeber of it can castigate actions of government after a collective decisions is taken. Decision made in cabinet ars considered as collective decisions.This principle becomes critical when there is condition government. However , this proposals are passed with ease as the members of cabinet are themselves members of legislature and senior leaders of majority party.
  4. Leaders of the heart of government : the PM exercise a wide range of powers. It is on his advice that the titular head of state appoints ministers and other officials of central government , allocates and reshuffles portfolios among the ministers, dismisses the minister, summons and prorogves sessions of legislature , and dissolves the legislature 9particularly lower house). However, not all PM enjoy equal power for eg, enjoys more power.
  5. Absence of fixed terms: the legislature (generally lower house) can remove the government before the completion of its term and the PM can dissolve legislature ( generally lower house  before the expiry of its term and call for new election in order to take advantage of an electoral opportunity for his/het party.
  6. Formation of government in Parliamentary systems:-In it , executive or government consisting of PM and council of ministers or cabinet is not elected separately, but is rather rather formed on the basis of legislative elections. If a single party wins majority of legislative seats on its own, then the government formation is straightforward .if no single party gains majority, these are two alternatives and it both the cases, the head of the state can use his power. The head of the state may recommend to the leader of party with most legislative seats to form a coaliction. The head of state may recommend to the leaders of party with most seats to form the minority government . The government remains in power as long as it enjoys the support of legislature.
  7. Meaning and features of presidential system :-it is a form of government inwich the executive and legislative branches are separate. They are elected separately and have independent powers. Its distintivefeatures :-
  8. Single head : in this , a single elected person known as President act as the head of state and government. It performs both political and ceremonial duties. However, it is weakes than the PM in a parliamentary sysyem due to the doctrine of separation of powers.
  9. Separation of powers : there is a clear division of powers and responsibility among the three branches of government. It is mainly in the following form – The executive is not drawn from the legislature. Both are elected separately. The president is directly accountable to the electorate and note legislature. The legislature cannot remove the President before the expiry of its term except in exceptional case through impeachment. President cannot dissolve the legislature. The members of executive cannot be the members of legislative and vice versa.
  10. President and Cabinet Members: The Presideal has complete freedom in the appointment of cabinet members. These members serve as his/her policy adviseas rather than policy makers and are accountable only to the President, and not to the people.
  11. Law – making Authority: In it, the executive has far Less Law-making  authority thanexecutive in a parliamentary system because and legislative is far  executive and Legislative in terms their selection, tenure and membership, the legislature is far more independent law – making body than those in a parliamentary system.
  12. Fixed terms of office: in thus , both the executive and legislature have fixed terms of office meaning neither can usually remove the other before the expiry of given term .


Advantages and Disadvantages of parliamentary :-

  1. Advantages : a) Fusion of power where members of legislature are more cooperative in relation to executive. b) The government is more responsible and accountable in that ministers are individualy responsible to legislature. c) Because members of executive are themselves members of legislature , there is a strong government and effective policy making. d) It tend to be more representative than presidential systems. e) It is more flexible in the sense that they impel the elected representative of different political views to negotiate. f) They are more conducive to forming and maintaining parties. g) The absence of fixed terms offer on opportunity to voters to  remove incompetent and unpopular representative.
  2. Disadvantages : a) It tend to create the problem of executive domination specially when a single-party majority enjoys the power.b) They are associated with weak government and political instability specially in single-party minority or coalition government. c) It is less efficient in the sense that the voters do not know in advance what the composition of new government will be which depends on the final electoral results. d) In a situation where no party wins a majority of legislative seats, the preferred policies of voters may not be actualized as parties holding different political positions have to compromise. e) The PM can call earlier elections at any time in his interests.


  1. Advantages : a) the separation of powers prevents the problem of executive domination. b) President , as a single elected official , tends to represent an entire country and act as a symbol of national unity. c) Because of fixed term , it provide greater continuity and stability. d)It is more efficient in the sense that voters have prior information about who will lead the government. e) It provide voters more opportunities to influence and shape the policy- making process. f)Because of independence of legislature the individual elected members tend to have more influence on policy – making.
  2. Disadvantages :a)Separation of powers are likely to cause deadlock between legislature and executive as both have equal power. b) There is less democratic stability with deep political cleavages. c)It is highly rigid. d) It is problematic in highly divided society. e) Both the executive and legislature claim credit for policy successes and blame failures. f)It suffer from problem of weak cabinet causing less deliberation.

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