“Presidential form of government: A Study of the USA System”
This article on Trademark Registration is written by Gourav Kaushik. A 5th year law student from Ramaiah Institute of Legal Studies, and an intern at Legal Upanishad.
In this article, we will try to study the various aspects of the Presidential form of government. When talking about the presidential form of government and the powers conferred on the president in a presidential state, the USA tops the list. The United States of America is the source and creator of this type of government.
The President is the head of the state as well as the head of the government. He has the executive powers of the state in his hands. In this type of government system, the executive is an independent body and is separate from the legislature. The President of the United States is directly elected, whereas in India the process of election of the president is indirect. This form of government enjoys separation of powers, but also follows the principle of checks and balances. Along with the USA, there are other countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and the Philippines.
In the Presidential form of government, the executive is not the creator of the legislature, nor is responsible for its public acts. The head of the state enjoys the majority of the powers, the constitution grants to him/her. According to D.V.Verney. “The term presidential has been chosen because in this system the office of the head of the government and head of state is combined in the president.”
Merits of Presidential form of government
1. Separation of powers: One of the major advantages of the parliamentary form of government is separating the Executive from the Legislature. The Executive is not answerable to the Legislature and does not have to act accordingly.
2. Firmness of government: Four years of tenure is fixed for the president. The president can form and regulate long-term policies as there is no fear of the sudden fall of the government. This also increases the efficiency of the government system.
3. Freedom to choose ministers: The president is free from any party pressure and is free to choose men as per his choice which is generally experts from different backgrounds such as finance, economics, culture, law, etc.
4 . Solo constituency: As the electorate elects the President. ; he is free from any pressure of any party and can easily take responsibility for his actions. This also keeps him under pressure to take corrective actions. (Drishti, 2020)
Demerits of presidential form of government
1. Supremacy of the president: Due to the absolute powers vested in the hands of the president He may at times act as a dictator. This form of government largely focuses on the individual personality.
2. Lack of flexibility: The Presidential form of government lacks flexibility and the role becomes too rigid and is not very adaptive as per the changing circumstances.
3. Lack of proper cooperation: Since the law-making body is separate from the executive, the gaps widen and sometimes result in the non-applicability of certain important rules and regulations.
4) Expensive: As compared to a parliamentary form of government, the presidential form of government is an expensive form of government, which particularly needs a large amount of money during the formation of the ministers as they have to resign prior to their appointment process.
A comparison between the presidential and parliamentary forms of government
Both the types of government are very different in nature when studied closely; Let us try to understand a brief study of the topic:
• In a Presidential form of government the head of the government is the President. Whereas, in a parliamentary form of government the head of the government is the Prime minister.
• The President is not accountable to the legislature. Whereas, the Prime Minister is accountable to the legislature.
• Separation of powers does not exist in the parliamentary form of government and all the bodies are connected to each other.
• The responsibility in a parliamentary form of government is collective. Whereas, the latter shares no responsibility.
• There is a single executive in a parliamentary form of government. Whereas, there are two executives – the real and the nominal executive.
• the Prime Minister can dissolve the parliament. On the other hand, the president serves for a fixed tenure.
Considering the diversity of the nation there are different states with different cultures and languages. This leads to the formation of local parties, some become very strong and help the leading part to attain the majority. The coalition government may act as an obstacle when we think of applying the presidential form of government. Some experts also say that the parliamentary form of government fails to take quick action during an emergency. So, the question remains unsolved as various aspects are yet to be discovered and the political system should be studied more deeply.
Both the Presidential and Parliamentary form of government has their own benefits and loopholes. According to some of the American critics, the fragmentation of its power makes it difficult to apply in modern society. The distribution of power should be organized in such a manner that it should not affect the general public at large and the state should not solely depend on the President in taking decisions. It may at times occur that there is the absence of a President at the house and the situation demands immediate actions.
The method of electing the members of the congress is single-member, winner-take-all districts. In the Presidential form of government, only experts from various fields are appointed, which in turn creates a blockade for emerging experts. Whereas, in a Parliamentary form of government like India people like Dr. Manmohan Singh emerged out to be good advisors and policymakers only after giving suitable responsibility. There are various aspects that need to be analyzed and policies which need amendment in order to perform corrective measures and smooth functioning of the government.
As per the above understanding, we come to know about the diversities of both forms of government. Some experts also suggest that India should also adopt the presidential form of government. Some politicians are in favor of this but some also oppose the view seeing the geographical and social culture of the nation. The argument which goes in favor is the absolute majority by the legislature. This may use its power without caring about the liberty of the people.
The presidential form of government seems to be more organized and properly manageable as compared to other governments. But there are a few drawbacks as well. As we talk about foreign policy the president does not have the power to declare war against any state. The legislature has this power. The separation of power may sometimes also act as a hurdle and may interrupt the running system of government. All factors setting aside the presidential form of government prove to be successful in the USA.
Drishti. (2020). Parliamentary vs Presidential Form of Government.
Study IQ education. (2021, 01 22). Retrieved from Study IQ.
Presidential Form of Government (https://www.jncpasighat.edu.in/file/ppt/pol/presendential_form_government.pdf)