Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Is Parliamentary System or Presidential System of Government better for India –

Lets first understand as to why do we need to change the system of government –

I can think of 3 possible reasons –

Incompetent and Criminals as Ministers & MPs –
Due to lack of party democracy and transparent system of choosing party candidates, we get incompetent and criminal elements as MPs, who end-up running the nation.

Paralysis of Governance–
Basic requirement of Parliamentary System of Governance is the consensus between Executive and Legislative which is often missing in the era of coalition politics, hence there is a paralysis of governance as very little legislative works get done.

Frequent Elections –
Since days of absolute majority are over, coalitions are put together for opportunistic reasons rather than ideological similarities. Many parties get the benefit of being in power without being accountable by providing outside support and thus holding the nation to ransom with not even 10% seats in legislature.

Possible solutions–
I believe a HYBRID SYSTEM which is a combination of Presidential System and Parliamentary Systems would be more appropriate.

When France went through a long period of unstable coalition governments, in 1958 they changed from parliamentary System to so called Semi-Presidential System of government.
Within a decade, French political parties, once unwilling to cooperate and form stable coalitions, began to coalesce into a workable system with coalitions that supported not only prime ministers, but also presidents.

The French hybrid system functions more smoothly when the majority party in parliament is also the party of the President, but this needs not always be the case. However, the French system has sometimes resulted in a situation of cohabitation, whereby the separately elected President may face a Prime Minister and majority party in the legislature from a party different than his own (which occurred in 1993 and 1997).

The term hybrid generally refers to a system with a separately elected President who shares executive power with the Prime Minister. The President usually has the constitutional power to select the Prime Minister.

For political reasons, Presidents generally appoint leaders of the ruling coalition to the post of Prime Minister, although they are not required to do so constitutionally. The President nominates the Prime Minister and selects his own cabinet, over which he presides. The President, his cabinet and attending bureaucracy initiate and draft most legislation.

The French President, like some others in hybrid systems, has some areas where his power is well defined, such as in the conduct of foreign affairs. The day to day running of the government is, however, left to the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Legislation & Bills -
'A way to avoid paralysis of governance resulting from coalition politics'
Bills can be introduced by the individual members, the executive and the government (the Prime Minister and the cabinet). However, the introduction of executive initiated bills takes precedence over member bills.

The executive sets the agenda in the legislature and can call for a package vote, which forces all or none of the pieces in a package of legislation to be passed.

The executive can make any bill it initiates result in a motion of censure if rejected, which dissolves the parliament.

The President can by-pass the legislature by taking a proposed bill directly to the public through a national referendum. If a majority of voters support the bill, it becomes law without any input from the legislature.

Crisis Resolution - Stability & Frequent Elections

Unlike in a parliamentary system, the legislature in France cannot force the resignation of the President. Rather, the President may dissolve the parliament’s Lower House, the National Assembly (but not the upper house, Senate). Further, the President appoints, and can remove the Prime Minister, who is effectively the head of the cabinet and legislature. Similar to the parliamentary model, the National Assembly can also force the government (the Prime Minister and legislative leaders) to resign by passing a motion of censure.

Thus, in the French model, while the Prime Minister is vulnerable to removal from both the legislature and the President, the President cannot be removed prior to the end of his/her electoral term.

This situation has the potential to combine the possible negative aspects of both presidential and parliamentary systems, leading to conflict and deadlock. As in a parliamentary system, party discipline is encouraged, as deviation would potentially bring down the majority party and its Prime Minister. At the same time, party discipline may discourage cooperation with the President, paralyzing the policy-making process.

The prospect of non-cooperation with the president due to party allegiance is tempered by the fact that the President can dissolve parliament and/or remove the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is encouraged to play a balancing role, as he or she must maintain the confidence of both the President and the legislature.

Please give your comments and suggestions ....


  1. strong selfless and right minded leaders need a presidential system but India needs a government which the people need to find which is absolute and live in the faith of it to emerge from the shadows.

  2. we need to search for options to referm the present system,, rather than deliberating to thwart it & replace it with a new one! what is the guarantee that it will suceed???


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