Political Stability in New Democracies: Presidentialism or Parliamentarism?

2465 Words May 30th, 2013 10 Pages
For new democracies in the developing world, which system—presidentialism or parliamentarism— is more likely to ensure political stability? Why? And do we have a universal answer for all countries?

Presidentialism and Parliamentarism are two of the most commonly practised political systems in modern politics, whether they be existing in pure forms or hybrid forms. Amongst the two, which system is more conducive to the maintenance of political stability, particularly in newly democratized states, has remained heatedly discussed. Presidentialism and Parliamentarism are differentiated by the election and removal methods of the political leader of the executive branch, the scope of authority of the executive leader, and the power
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Linz (1990) contended that the winner-takes-all presidential election further polarizes the society, pushing public to the two edges of the political spectrum. As such, politics may be dominated by key players while political voices of the minorities may be ignored. While two-party system may grow in popularity in well-developed states like the US and UK nowadays, this may be detrimental to the political stability of new democracies, especially at the beginning stage when society is rather divided and polarized about the change of political regime.
Society may also be characterized by ethnic cleavages, further pushing for the need of an inclusive political system. According to Lijphart (1985), the institutional design of parliamentarism is more favourable for the creation of a consociational society and power-sharing among players with different ethnic backgrounds and vested interests.
Secondly, the relationship between the executive and legislature is the key to ensuring governing efficiency and effectiveness. Under parliamentarism, the Prime Minister, who holds a membership in the Parliament, often finds it easier to demand loyal support of the Parliament when legislating policies, especially if he is the majority party leader. Strict party discipline further promotes cooperation between the government and the legislature. On the contrary, executive-legislative deadlock is commonly found in a presidential government, especially in situations where the

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