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A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of
democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the a ...

democratic
governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity ...

governance
of a
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
(or subordinate entity) where the
executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief exec ...
derives its democratic legitimacy from its ability to command the support ("confidence") of the
legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure i ...
, typically a
parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws and overseeing the ...

parliament
, to which it is accountable. In a parliamentary system, the
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
is usually a person distinct from the
head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the Executive (government), executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other government who often presi ...
. This is in contrast to a
presidential system A presidential system, or single executive system, is a form of government in which a head of government (President (government title), president) leads an Executive (government), executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch in s ...
, where the head of state often is also the head of government and, most importantly, where the executive does not derive its democratic legitimacy from the legislature. Countries with parliamentary systems may be
constitutional monarchies A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated el ...
, where a
monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role tha ...

monarch
is the head of state while the head of government is almost always a
member of parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency. In many countries with Bicameralism, bicameral parliaments, this term implies members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different titl ...
, or
parliamentary republicThe Parliamentary Republic can refer to: * A republican form of government with a Parliamentary system A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (o ...
s, where a mostly ceremonial president is the head of state while the head of government is regularly from the legislature. In a few parliamentary republics, among some others, the head of government is also head of state, but is elected by and is answerable to parliament. In
bicameral Bicameralism is a type of legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interac ...
parliaments, the head of government is generally, though not always, a member of the lower house.
Parliamentarianism Parliamentary sovereignty (also called parliamentary supremacy or legislative supremacy) is a concept in the constitutional law of some parliamentary democracies. It holds that the legislative body has absolute sovereignty Sovereignty is th ...
is the dominant
form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department ...
in Europe, with 32 of its 50 sovereign states being parliamentarian. It is also common in the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
, being the form of government of 10 of its 13 island states, and in Oceania. Elsewhere in the world, parliamentary countries are less common, but they are distributed through all continents, most often in former colonies of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
that subscribe to a particular brand of parliamentarianism known as the
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ...
.


History

Since ancient times, when societies were tribal, there were councils or a headman whose decisions were assessed by village elders. Eventually, these councils have slowly evolved into the modern parliamentary system. The first
parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws and overseeing the ...

parliament
s date back to Europe in the Middle Ages: specifically in 1188 Alfonso IX, King of Leon (Spain) convened the three states in the Cortes of León. An early example of parliamentary government developed in today's Netherlands and Belgium during the Dutch revolt (1581), when the sovereign, legislative and executive powers were taken over by the
States General of the Netherlands The States General of the Netherlands ( nl, Staten-Generaal ) is the Parliamentary sovereignty, supreme Bicameralism, bicameral legislature of the Netherlands consisting of the Senate (Netherlands), Senate () and the House of Representatives (Nethe ...
from the monarch,
King Philip II of Spain Philip II ( es, Felipe II; 21 May 152713 September 1598) was King of Spain (1556–1598), King of Portugal (1580–1598, as Philip I, pt, Filipe I), King of Naples and List of monarchs of Sicily, Sicily (both from 1554), and ''jure uxoris'' Kin ...
. The modern concept of parliamentary government emerged in the
Kingdom of Great Britain between 1707 and 1800
Kingdom of Great Britain between 1707 and 1800
and its contemporary, the Parliamentary System in Sweden between 1721 and 1772. In England,
Simon de Montfort Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester ( – 4 August 1265), later sometimes referred to as Simon V de Montfort to distinguish him from his namesake relatives, was a nobleman Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately b ...
is remembered as one of the fathers of
representative government Representative democracy, also known as indirect democracy or representative government, is a type of democracy founded on the principle of elected persons representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy Image:Landsgemeinde Gla ...
for convening two famous parliaments. The first, in 1258, stripped the king of unlimited authority and the second, in 1265, included ordinary citizens from the towns. Later, in the 17th century, the
Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the mid 13th to 17th century. The first English Parliament was convened in 1215, with the creation and signing of the Magna Carta, which established the rights of ba ...
pioneered some of the ideas and systems of
liberal democracy Liberal democracy, also referred to as Western democracy, is the combination of a liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a L ...

liberal democracy
culminating in the
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 ( ga, An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus), the invasion also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch, was the deposition of ...
and passage of the
Bill of Rights 1689 The Bill of Rights 1689, also known as the Bill of Rights 1688, is a landmark Act in the constitutional law The principles from the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen still have constitutional importance Constitutiona ...
. In the
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,"After the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, the nation's official name became 'Great Britain'", ''The American Pageant, Volume 1'', Cengage Learning (2012) was a s ...

Kingdom of Great Britain
, the monarch, in theory, chaired cabinet and chose ministers. In practice, King
George IGeorge I or 1 may refer to: People * Patriarch George I of Alexandria (floruit, fl. 621–631) * George I of Constantinople (d. 686) * George I of Antioch (d. 790) * George I of Abkhazia (ruled 872/3–878/9) * George I of Georgia (d. 1027) * Yuri D ...
's inability to speak English led the responsibility for chairing cabinet to go to the leading minister, literally the ''
prime A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number greater than 1 that is not a Product (mathematics), product of two smaller natural numbers. A natural number greater than 1 that is not prime is called a composite number. For example, 5 is prime ...
'' or first minister,
Robert Walpole Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, (26 August 1676 – 18 March 1745; known between 1725 and 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole) was a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Brit ...

Robert Walpole
. The gradual democratisation of parliament with the broadening of the voting franchise increased parliament's role in controlling government, and in deciding whom the king could ask to form a government. By the 19th century, the
Great Reform Act The Representation of the People Act 1832 (also known as the 1832 Reform Act, Great Reform Act or First Reform Act) was an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body ...
of 1832 led to parliamentary dominance, with its choice ''invariably'' deciding who was prime minister and the complexion of the government. Other countries gradually adopted what came to be called the
Westminster Model The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary system of government that incorporates a series of procedures for operating a legislature that was first developed in England, key aspects of which include an executive bra ...
of government, with an executive answerable to parliament, and exercising, in the name of the head of state, powers nominally vested in the head of state. Hence the use of phrases like ''Her Majesty's government'' or ''His Excellency's government''. Such a system became particularly prevalent in older British dominions, many of which had their constitutions enacted by the British parliament; such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
and the
Union of South Africa The Union of South Africa ( nl, Unie van Zuid-Afrika; af, Unie van Suid-Afrika ) was the historical predecessor to the present-day South Africa, Republic of South Africa. It came into existence on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the British ...
. Some of these parliaments were reformed from, or were initially developed as distinct from their original British model: the
Australian Senate The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the lower house being the House of Representatives (Australia), House of Representatives. The compositioned and powers of the Senate are established in Chapter I of the Con ...
, for instance, has since its inception more closely reflected the
US Senate The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, politic ...
than the British
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
; whereas since 1950 there is no upper house in New Zealand.
Democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to cho ...

Democracy
and
parliamentarianism Parliamentary sovereignty (also called parliamentary supremacy or legislative supremacy) is a concept in the constitutional law of some parliamentary democracies. It holds that the legislative body has absolute sovereignty Sovereignty is th ...
became increasingly prevalent in Europe in the years after
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, partially imposed by the democratic victors, the United States, Great Britain and France, on the defeated countries and their successors, notably Germany's Weimar Republic and the new Austrian Republic. Nineteenth-century
urbanisation Urbanization (or urbanisation) refers to the population shift from Rural area, rural to urban areas, the corresponding decrease in the proportion of people living in rural areas, and the ways in which societies adapt to this change. It is predom ...
, the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
and
modernism Modernism is both a philosophical movement A philosophical movement refers to the phenomenon defined by a group of philosophers A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and ...
had already fuelled the political left's struggle for democracy and parliamentarianism for a long time. In the radicalised times at the end of World War I, democratic reforms were often seen as a means to counter popular revolutionary currents.


Characteristics

A parliamentary system may be either
bicameral Bicameralism is a type of legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interac ...
, with two
chambers of parliament Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: * Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporated community in Apache County *Chambers, Nebraska *Chambers, West Virginia *Chambers Township, Holt Cou ...
(or houses) or
unicameral In government, unicameralism (Latin , "one" and , "chamber") is the practice of having a single legislative or legislative chamber, parliamentary chamber. Thus, a ''unicameral parliament'' or ''unicameral legislature'' is a legislature which co ...
, with just one parliamentary chamber. A bicameral parliament usually consists of a directly elected
lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporated community in Apache County *Chambers, Nebraska *Chambers, We ...
with the power to determine the executive government, and an upper house which may be appointed or elected through a different mechanism from the lower house.


Types

Scholars of democracy such as
Arend Lijphart Arend d'Angremond Lijphart (born 17 August 1936, Apeldoorn, Netherlands) is a political scientist specializing in comparative politics, elections and voting systems, Democracy, democratic institutions, and ethnicity and politics. He received his ...
distinguish two types of parliamentary democracies: the Westminster and Consensus systems.


Westminster system

* The
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ...
is usually found in the
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, generally known simply as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 54 member states, almost all of which are former territories A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the ...

Commonwealth of Nations
and countries which were influenced by the British political tradition. These parliaments tend to have a more adversarial style of debate and the
plenary session A plenary session or plenum is a session of a conference A conference is a meeting of people who "confer" about a topic. Conference types include: * Academic conference, in science and academic, a formal event where researchers present resu ...
of parliament is more important than committees. Some parliaments in this model are elected using a
plurality voting system Plurality voting is an electoral system in which a candidate, or candidates, who poll more than any other counterpart (that is, receive a plurality (voting), plurality), are elected. In a system based on single-member districts, it elects just o ...
(
first past the post In a first-past-the-post electoral system An electoral system or voting system is a set of rules that determine how elections and Referendum, referendums are conducted and how their results are determined. Political electoral systems are o ...
), such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and Malaysia, while others use some form of
proportional representation#REDIRECT Proportional representation Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. The concept applies mainly to geographical, and to ideolog ...

proportional representation
, such as Ireland and New Zealand. The
Australian House of Representatives The House of Representatives is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporated commun ...

Australian House of Representatives
is elected using
instant-runoff voting Instant-runoff voting (IRV) is a type of Ranked voting, ranked preferential electoral system, vote counting method used in single-seat elections with more than two candidates. IRV is also sometimes referred to as the alternative vote (AV), pre ...
, while the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
is elected using proportional representation through
single transferable vote Single transferable vote (STV) is a type of ranked preferential electoral system An electoral system or voting system is a set of rules that determine how elections and Referendum, referendums are conducted and how their results are de ...
. Regardless of which system is used, the voting systems tend to allow the voter to vote for a named candidate rather than a
closed list Closed list describes the variant of party-list systems where voters can (effectively) only vote for political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is co ...
.


Consensus system

* The Western European parliamentary model (e.g., Spain, Germany) tends to have a more consensual debating system and usually has semi-circular debating chambers. Consensus systems have more of a tendency to use
proportional representation#REDIRECT Proportional representation Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. The concept applies mainly to geographical, and to ideolog ...

proportional representation
with
open party list Open list describes any variant of party-list proportional representation Poster for the European Parliament election 2004 in Italy, showing party lists Party-list proportional representation systems are a family of voting system An electoral ...
s than the Westminster Model legislatures. The committees of these Parliaments tend to be more important than the
plenary chamber A debate chamber is a room for people to discuss and debate Debate is a process that involves formal discussion on a particular topic. In a debate, opposing arguments are put forward to argue for opposing viewpoints. Debate occurs in public meet ...
. Some Western European countries' parliaments (e.g., in the
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...
,
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a landlocked ...
and
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe.The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's fo ...
) implement the principle of
dualism Dualism most commonly refers to: * Mind–body dualism, a philosophical view which holds that mental phenomena are, at least in certain respects, not physical phenomena, or that the mind and the body are distinct and separable from one another ** P ...
as a form of
separation of powers Separation of powers refers to the division of a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' ( ...
. In countries using this system, Members of Parliament have to resign their place in Parliament upon being appointed (or elected) minister. Ministers in those countries usually actively participate in parliamentary debates, but are not entitled to vote.


Election of the head of government

Implementations of the parliamentary system can also differ as to how the prime minister and government are appointed and whether the government needs the explicit approval of the parliament, rather than just the absence of its disapproval. Some countries such as India also require the prime minister to be a member of the legislature, though in other countries this only exists as a convention. * The head of state appoints a prime minister who will likely have majority support in parliament. While in practice most prime ministers under the
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ...
(including Australia, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom) are the leaders of the largest party in parliament, technically the appointment of the prime minister is a prerogative exercised by the monarch, the governor-general, or the president. * The head of state appoints a prime minister who must gain a vote of confidence within a set time. Examples: Italy, Thailand. * The head of state appoints the leader of the political party holding a plurality of seats in parliament as prime minister. For example, in Greece, if no party has a majority, the leader of the party with a plurality of seats is given an ''exploratory mandate'' to receive the confidence of the parliament within three days. If this is not possible, then the leader of the party with the second highest seat number is given the ''exploratory mandate''. If this fails, then the leader of the third largest party is given it and so on. * The head of state ''nominates'' a candidate for prime minister who is then submitted to parliament for approval before appointment. Example: Spain, where the King sends a proposal to the
Congress of Deputies The Congress of Deputies ( es, link=no, Congreso de los Diputados) is the lower house of the Cortes Generales, Spain's legislative branch. The Congress meets in the Palacio de las Cortes, Madrid, Palace of the Parliament (') in Madrid. It has ...

Congress of Deputies
for approval. Also, Germany where under the
German Basic Law The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany (german: Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is the constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a g ...
(constitution) the
Bundestag The Bundestag (, "Federal Diet Diet may refer to: Food * Diet (nutrition) In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. The word diet often implies the use of specific intake of nutrition for #Health, healt ...

Bundestag
votes on a candidate nominated by the federal president. In these cases, parliament can choose another candidate who then would be appointed by the head of state. * Parliament ''nominates'' a candidate whom the head of state is constitutionally obliged to appoint as prime minister. Example: Japan, where the
Emperor An emperor (from la, imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as a title roughly equivalent to ''commander'' under the Roma ...
appoints the
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
on the nomination of the
National Diet The is Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of Japan.svg , alt_coat = Go ...

National Diet
. Also, Ireland where the
President of Ireland The president of Ireland ( ga, Uachtarán na hÉireann) is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public ...
appoints the
Taoiseach The Taoiseach is the prime minister and head of government The head of government is either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous reg ...
on the nomination of
Dáil Éireann Dáil Éireann ( , ; ) is the , and principal chamber, of the (Irish legislature), which also includes the and (the ).Article 15.1.2º of the reads: "The Oireachtas shall consist of the President and two Houses, viz.: a House of Represent ...
. * A public officeholder (other than the head of state or their representative) ''nominates'' a candidate, who, if approved by parliament, is appointed as prime minister. Example: Under the Swedish
Instrument of Government (1974) The Basic Laws of Sweden ( sv, Sveriges grundlagar) are the four fundamental laws of the Kingdom of Sweden Sweden (; sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country in Northern E ...
, the power to appoint someone to form a government has been moved from the monarch to the Speaker of Parliament and the parliament itself. The speaker nominates a candidate, who is then elected to prime minister (''statsminister'') by the parliament if an absolute majority of the members of parliament does not vote no (i.e. they can be elected even if more members of parliament vote ''No'' than ''Yes).'' * Direct election by popular vote. Example: Israel, 1996–2001, where the prime minister was elected in a general election, with no regard to political affiliation, and whose procedure can also be described as of a
semi-parliamentary system Semi-parliamentary system can refer to either a prime-ministerial system, in which voters simultaneously vote for both members of legislature and the prime minister, or to a system of government in which the legislature is split into two parts ...
.


Power of dissolution and call for election

Furthermore, there are variations as to what conditions exist (if any) for the government to have the right to dissolve the parliament: * In some countries, such as Denmark, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand, the prime minister has the ''de facto'' power to call an election, at will. This was also the case in the United Kingdom until the passage of the
Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (c. 14) (FTPA) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make ...
. In Spain, the prime minister is the only person with the ''de jure'' power to call an election, granted by Article 115 of the
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
. * In Israel, parliament may vote in order to call an election or pass a vote of no confidence against the government. * Other countries only permit an election to be called in the event of a
vote of no confidence A motion of no confidence, vote of no confidence, or no confidence motion, sometimes in the reverse as a motion of confidence or vote of confidence, is a statement or vote about whether a person in a position of responsibility (government, manager ...
against the government, a supermajority vote in favour of an early election or prolonged deadlock in parliament. These requirements can still be circumvented. For example, in Germany in 2005,
Gerhard Schröder Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder (; born 7 April 1944) is a German politician who served as Chancellor of Germany The chancellor of Germany, officially the federal chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (german: Bundeskanzler(:wikt:-in#Ger ...

Gerhard Schröder
deliberately allowed his government to lose a confidence motion, in order to call an early election. * In Sweden, the government may call a snap election at will, but the newly elected
Riksdag The Riksdag (, ; also sv, riksdagen or ''Sveriges riksdag'' ) is the national legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, count ...

Riksdag
is only elected to fill out the previous Riksdag's term. The last time this option was used was in
1958 Events January * – The (EEC) comes into being. * – The is formed. * ** 's completes the third overland journey to the , the first to use powered vehicles. ** (launched on October 4, 1957) falls to Earth from its orbit, and ...
. * In
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
, a general election is called if the
Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...

Parliament
fails to elect a new
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
when his or her term ends. In January 2015, this constitutional provision was exploited by
Syriza The Coalition of the Radical Left – Progressive Alliance ( el, Συνασπισμός Ριζοσπαστικής Αριστεράς – Προοδευτική Συμμαχία , translit=Sinaspismós Rizospastikís Aristerás – Proodeftikí Sim ...
to trigger a snap election, win it and oust rivals
New Democracy New Democracy, or the New Democratic Revolution, is a concept based on Mao Zedong Mao Zedong (; pronounced , (formerly Romanization of Chinese, romanized as Mao Tse-tung), December 26, 1893September 9, 1976), also known as Chairman Mao ...
from power. * Norway is unique among parliamentary systems in that the
Storting The Storting ( no, Stortinget ) is the supreme legislature of Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standa ...

Storting
always serves the whole of its four-year term. * Since 2011 in the United Kingdom, the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorpor ...

House of Commons
may be dissolved early only by a vote of two-thirds of its members, or if a vote of non-confidence passes and no alternative government is formed in the next fourteen days. The parliamentary system can be contrasted with a
presidential system A presidential system, or single executive system, is a form of government in which a head of government (President (government title), president) leads an Executive (government), executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch in s ...
which operates under a stricter separation of powers, whereby the executive does not form part of—nor is appointed by—the parliamentary or legislative body. In such a system, parliaments or congresses do not select or dismiss heads of governments, and governments cannot request an early dissolution as may be the case for parliaments. There also exists the
semi-presidential system A semi-presidential system, or dual executive system, is a system of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, g ...
that draws on both presidential systems and parliamentary systems by combining a powerful president with an executive responsible to parliament: for example, the
French Fifth Republic The Fifth Republic (french: Cinquième République) is France's current republic, republican system of government. It was established 4 October 1958 by Charles de Gaulle under the Constitution of France, Constitution of the Fifth Republic.. The ...
. Parliamentarianism may also apply to
regional In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography Image:Snow-cholera-map-1.jpg, upright=1.2, Original map by John Snow showing the Cluster (ep ...
and
local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administration is the implementation of government policy Public policy is a course of action created and/or enacted, typically by a government ...
s. An example is the city of
Oslo Oslo ( , , or ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and small ...

Oslo
, which has an executive council (Byråd) as a part of the parliamentary system.


Anti-defection law

A few parliamentary democratic nations such as
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...
, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc. have enacted laws which prohibit floor crossing or switching parties after the election. Under these laws, elected representatives will lose their seat in the parliament if they go against their party in votes. In the UK parliament, a member is free to cross over to a different party. In Canada and Australia, there are no restraints on legislators switching sides.


Advantages

Supporters generally claim three basic advantages for parliamentary systems: * Adaptability * Scrutiny and accountability * Distribution of power


Adaptability

Parliamentary systems like that found in the United Kingdom are widely considered to be more flexible, allowing rapid change in legislation and policy as long as there is a stable majority or coalition in parliament, allowing the government to have 'few legal limits on what it can do' Due to the first-past-the-post 'this system produces the classic "Westminster Model" with the twin virtues of strong but responsive party government'. This electoral system providing a strong majority in the House of Commons, paired with the fused power system results in a particularly powerful Government able to provide change and 'innovate'.


Scrutiny and accountability

The United Kingdom's fused power system is often noted to be advantageous with regards to accountability. The centralised government allows for more transparency as to where decisions originate from, this directly contrasts with the United States' system with former Treasury Secretary
C. Douglas Dillon Clarence Douglas Dillon (born Clarence Douglass Dillon; August 21, 1909January 10, 2003) was an United States, American diplomat and politician, who served as U.S. Ambassador to France (1953–1957) and as the 57th United States Secretary of the Tr ...
saying "the president blames Congress, the Congress blames the president, and the public remains confused and disgusted with government in Washington". Furthermore, ministers of the U.K. cabinet are subject to weekly Question Periods in which their actions/policies are scrutinised; no such regular check on the government exists in the U.S. system.


Distribution of power

A 2001
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to international law. Its o ...
study found that parliamentary systems are associated with less corruption.


Calling of elections

In his 1867 book ''
The English Constitution ''The English Constitution'' is a book by Walter Bagehot Walter Bagehot ( ; 3 February 1826 – 24 March 1877) was a British journalist, businessman, and essayist, who wrote extensively about government, economics, literature and race. ...
'',
Walter Bagehot Walter Bagehot ( ; 3 February 1826 – 24 March 1877) was a British journalist, businessman, and essayist, who wrote extensively about government, economics, literature and race. He is known for co-founding the ''National Review ''Nati ...

Walter Bagehot
praised parliamentary governments for producing serious debates, for allowing for a change in power without an election, and for allowing elections at any time. Bagehot considered the four-year election rule of the United States to be unnatural, as it can potentially allow a president who has disappointed the public with a dismal performance in the second year of his term to continue on until the end of his four-year term. Under a parliamentary system, a prime minister that has lost support in the middle of his term can be easily replaced by his own peers. Although Bagehot praised parliamentary governments for allowing an election to take place at any time, the lack of a definite election calendar can be abused. Previously under some systems, such as the British, a ruling party could schedule elections when it felt that it was likely to retain power, and so avoid elections at times of unpopularity. (Election timing in the UK, however, is now partly fixed under the
Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (c. 14) (FTPA) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make ...
.) Thus, by a shrewd timing of elections, in a parliamentary system, a party can extend its rule for longer than is feasible in a functioning presidential system. This problem can be alleviated somewhat by setting fixed dates for parliamentary elections, as is the case in several of Australia's state parliaments. In other systems, such as the Dutch and the Belgian, the ruling party or coalition has some flexibility in determining the election date. Conversely, flexibility in the timing of parliamentary elections can avoid periods of legislative gridlock that can occur in a fixed period presidential system. In any case, voters ultimately have the power to choose whether to vote for the ruling party or someone else.


Disadvantages and criticisms

Critics of
parliamentarianism Parliamentary sovereignty (also called parliamentary supremacy or legislative supremacy) is a concept in the constitutional law of some parliamentary democracies. It holds that the legislative body has absolute sovereignty Sovereignty is th ...
, namely proponents of anti-parliamentarianism or anti-parliamentarism, generally claim these basic disadvantages for parliamentary systems: * Legislative flip-flopping * Party fragmentation


Incomplete separation of power

According to Arturo Fontaine parliamentary systems in Europe have yielded very powerful heads of government which is rather what is often criticized about presidential systems. Fontaine compares United Kingdom's
Margaret Thatcher Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher (; 13 October 19258 April 2013), was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either ...

Margaret Thatcher
to the United States'
Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of ...

Ronald Reagan
noting the former head of government was much powerful despite governing under a parliamentary system. To Fontaine the rise to power of
Viktor Orbán Viktor Mihály Orbán (; born 31 May 1963) is a Hungarian politician who has served as Prime Minister of Hungary since 2010, previously holding the office from 1998 to 2002. He has presided over Fidesz, a National conservatism, national conserv ...

Viktor Orbán
in Hungary shows how the parliamentary systems can be subverted. The situation in Hungary was according to Fontaine allowed by the deficient separation of powers that characterises parliamentary and semi-presidential systems. Once Orbán's party got 70% of the vote in a single election there was no institution that was able to balance the concentration of power. In a presidential system it would require two or three separate elections to create the same effect; the Presidential election, the lower chamber election and the senate election. Fontaine also notes as a warning example of the flaws of parliamentary systems that if the United States would have had a parliamentary system
Donald Trump Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American politician A politician is a person active in party politics A political party is an organization that coordinates candidate A candidate, or nominee, is the prospective reci ...

Donald Trump
could, as head of government, have dissolved the
United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is Bicameralism, bicameral, comprising a lower body, the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives, and an upper body, t ...

United States Congress
.


Legislative flip-flopping

The ability for strong parliamentary governments to 'push' legislation through with the ease of fused power systems such as in the United Kingdom, whilst positive in allowing rapid adaptation when necessary e.g. the nationalisation of services during the world wars, does have its drawbacks. The flip-flopping of legislation back and forth as the majority in parliament changed between the Conservatives and Labour over the period 1940–1980, contesting over the nationalisation and privatisation of the British Steel Industry resulted in major instability for the British steel sector.


Party fragmentation

In R. Kent Weaver's book ''Are Parliamentary Systems Better?'', he writes that an advantage of presidential systems is their ability to allow and accommodate more diverse viewpoints. He states that because "legislators are not compelled to vote against their constituents on matters of local concern, parties can serve as organizational and roll-call cuing vehicles without forcing out dissidents."


Countries


Africa


Americas


Asia


Europe


Oceania


See also

*
Law reform Law reform or legal reform is the process of examining existing law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surro ...
*
List of legislatures by country This is a list of legislatures by country. A "legislature" is the generic name for the national parliaments and congresses that act as a plenary general Deliberative assembly, assembly of Representative democracy, representatives and that have th ...
* Parliament in the Making *
Parliamentary leader A parliamentary leader is a political title or a descriptive term used in various countries to the person leading a caucus (or parliamentary group) in a legislative body, whether it be a national or sub-national legislature. A party leader may be ...
*
Rule according to higher law The rule according to a higher law is a statement which expresses that no law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain universal principles (written or unwritten) of fairness, morality, and justice. Thus, ''the rule accor ...
*
Rule of law The rule of law is defined in the ''Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal of the , published by (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a compreh ...

Rule of law
*
Parliamentary republic A parliamentary republic is a republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and med ...


References


External links

{{DEFAULTSORT:Parliamentary System
Parliamentary procedure__NOGALLERY__ {{Portal, Politics The category contains articles concerning deliberative assembly, deliberative assemblies, parliamentary procedure, rules of order, legislative procedure etc. Group decision-making Legislatures Meetings Political law ...
Liberalism
Political terminology Technical terminology of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The ...
Types of democracy