Polity Notes


Types of Government

1) Parliamentary Type (Best example Govt. of Britain)

2) Presidential Type Best example Govt. of U.S.A.

Governments can be classified broadly under two categories,

(a) Parliamentary type of Government and,

(b) Presidential type of Government

Major difference between these two types of Governments:

(1) In Parliamentary type, Head of the state and Head of Government are different persons but in Presidential type, Head of the state and Head of the government is same person.

For example:-

In Britain head of the state is British Monarch (Queen Elizabeth II) and head of the government is Prime Minister (Boris Johnson), but in U.S.A. President (Joseph Joe Biden) is head of the state as well as head of the government.

(2) In Parliamentary type, of government head of the state is nominal/symbolic head whereas head of the government is real head of the government.

For example:-

In Britain Monarch is nominal/symbolic head whereas Prime Minister is real head, but this distinction does not apply in U.S.A.

(3) In Parliamentary type of government tenure of government is not fixed, but holds office during the majority support of Lower house of Parliament, but in Presidential form, the tenure of government is fixed e.g. in India tenure of Union Government is five years but not fixed but in U.S.A, tenure of Union Government is fixed (4 years).

(4) In Parliamentary type executive is from legislature i.e. Prime Minister and Ministers are also from legislature but in Presidential type of Government, executive is not from legislature.

(5) The principle of separation of powers (given by French Scholar Montesquieu) doesn’t apply in parliamentary form, but is a feature of Presidential form of Government.

(6) In Parliamentary type of government executive is responsible/accountable to legislature, but no such accountability exists in presidential type of government.

(7) Principle of collective responsibility applies in parliamentary type but not in Presidential type of government.

Advantages of Parliamentary type of Government

(a) Easier to pass legislature.

(b) Less prone to dictatorship.

Disadvantages of Parliamentary type of Government

a) No fixed tenure of government– this leads to political instability.

b) No quick decisions are possible.

c) No strong decisions are possible.

Advantages of Presidential type of Government

a) Direct election of President by the public. This is a general feature of Presidential type of government but in U.S.A., President is not directly but indirectly elected by U.S. public.

b) Separations of powers. This prevents misuse of power. The three organs of government— Legislature, Executive and Judiciary keep check and balance to the organs of government.

c) Quick decisions are possible.

d) Strong decisions are possible.

e) Stability of the Government as the tenure of government is fixed.

Disadvantages of Presidential type of Government

a) Prone towards dictatorship

b) Chances of political Gridlock (friction) between legislature and executive.

c) Lack of accountability of executive towards legislature.

d) Difficult to remove a non-popular President.

Examples of Countries having Parliamentary type of government

U.K., India, Sweden, Japan, Australia, Germany, Pakistan, Italy, Nepal, Bangladesh, Canada, Israel, Malaysia, South Africa, Switzerland, etc.

Examples of Countries having Presidential type of government

U.S.A, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Iran, Maldives, Filipino, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, South Korea, Mexico, Myanmar, Indonesia, etc.

Note:- Every country is free to make its own Constitution. This classification is general in nature. The Constitution of every country cannot be placed under this classification.

For Example:- In the constitution of China, Russia, Sri Lanka etc. there is provision of President who is real head of the government, but provision of Prime Minister is also there and Prime Minister is subordinate to President.