Parliamentary System

Parliamentary system is a government structure that comprises of the executive and cabinet ministers who are pinched from the legislative arm of government. In this system the person who chairs the government is the senior legislator of the government. In most cases the prime minister chairs the government while the president chairs the state.”

This system may vary from one country to another. In some countries once a member of parliament has been appointed as a cabinet minister his or her earlier position as a member of parliament is withdrawn” (Hamilton et al. 42 ).

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In third world countries like Kenya, until recently due to the adoption of a new constitution ministers used to hold two positions in public office: as a member of parliament and as a cabinet minister. The efficiency of this system is highly dependent on the constitution of the state in question. For instance, if a cabinet holds two positions, it is very difficult for the minister to create a balance between serving his or her constituents and performing ministerial duties in his or her docket.

This system states that all government policies are subject to national assembly. Therefore the ministers can not make decisions on their own hence they must table their policies in assembly. Passing of laws in this system is easier because the same people who hold cabinet positions are also members of the legislature, therefore they provide vital backup to government policies in parliament. This unity is very important to any parliament because for a policy to be adopted it must be voted for by the majority.

Some individuals opposed to a parliamentary system prefer a presidential structure of government. In a presidential structure, both the legislature and the cabinet are comprised of people who are from different political parties. It is obvious that the side with the highest number of representatives will dominate the house. For instance, if the sitting president has few cabinet ministers from his party he will be forced to bend down to give room for smooth running of parliament procedures.

In a presidential structure the president is accorded all the powers. “This can be very dangerous especially in a country that is inhabited by different ethnic tribes and races” (Todd 16).The president may tend to favor his ethnic community which might indicate he was elected to serve the interests of his community.

This behavior is called nepotism and it is very common in third world countries, especially in Africa. A good example of nepotism is in the way jobs in government offices are allocated. Merit is no longer considered important but the relationship between the job seeker and the employer.

Parliamentary system is therefore best suited for multi-lingual states because the powers are subject to assembly. This ensures that all groups are well represented and helps to create a strong bond among citizens hence chances of overthrowing the present government are very minimal.

According to Willis, since the prime minister is appointed by elected members of assembly, he is answerable to parliament and thereby he can be recalled by the same people who appointed him if he is not competent (114). The manifesto that he exercises are not his but of the party and incase he fails to apply the party manifesto it is not only his name that will be tainted but also that of his party.

Elections in a parliamentary structure can be held any time the need arises hence the lifespan of the ruling party is not fixed unlike in a presidential structure where there is a predetermined date for elections. Parliamentarians are under obligation to safeguard public interests.

They do this by passing and amending policies in assembly. The public has to be very careful while appointing their representatives in parliament. Although the parliamentary system creates equal representation for all its effectiveness depends on the objectives of the elected legislators.

Normally when a member of assembly fails to deliver the expected results to his constituents, the public always points an accusing finger at government regulatory bodies.” In most countries the peoples’ choice of a member of parliament is influenced by the financial status of the candidate rather than his acquaintance with their needs” (SparkNotes Editors). When the public is manipulated by using monetary handouts they fail to focus on the manifesto of the candidate’s party and his or her history because their judgment has been impaired.

For a ruling party in a parliamentary system to extend its period in power it must engage the public directly in dialogue. Therefore members of parliament should set up offices in their constituencies where the constituents can forward their grievances. Constituents should keep their member of parliament on his/her toes to make sure he/she delivers as promised .Should he/she fail to adhere to his/her promises the constituents should remove him from office if the constitution allows so.

Critics argue that it is very common for parliamentary candidates to avail themselves to their constituents during the campaigning period but once they set their foot in parliament the rest is history and they will only come back to their constituents when they want to be re-elected (Hamilton et al. 65). However, when the public is able to demonstrate its maturity during electoral processes the parliamentary candidates are under pressure to perform according to the expectations of the public because they can be recalled at any time.

Works Cited

Hamilton, Alexander, et al. The Federalist Papers. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.

SparkNotes Editors.” SparkNotes on Politics and Political Science.” SparkNotes.com.2010. Web. 8 Nov. 2010.

Todd, Alpheus .Parliamentary Government in British Colonies. London: London Longmans, 2006. Print.

Willis, John. The Parliamentary Powers of English Government Departments. UK Harvard University Press, 2003. Print.

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