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Presidential Government

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Last updated date: 28th Feb 2024
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What is The Presidential Form of Government?

A presidential system, also known as a single executive system, is a type of government where the executive branch is separated from the legislative branch in systems that practice separation of powers. In most circumstances, the head of government is also the head of the state.


The head of government, in the case of presidential countries, is elected and is not accountable to the legislature, which cannot (typically) oust the president under normal circumstances. However, such dismissal is only conceivable under exceptional circumstances, most typically through impeachment.


Overview of the Presidential System

The title "president" has remained from a time when such a person personally presided over the governing body, such as the President of the Continental Congress in early America, prior to the executive role being separated into a separate department of government.


A presidential system differs from a parliamentary system in which the head of government is elected by an elected legislature. Hybrid systems, such as the semi-presidential system utilized in the former Weimar Republic, France, and Poland, are also available.


Countries with a presidential or semi-presidential style of administration are not the only ones who utilize the title of president. Presidents are the heads of state of parliamentary republics, who are mostly ceremonial in most situations. Presidents are also used to refer to dictators or leaders of one-party regimes, whether popularly elected or not.


Presidentialism is the predominant type of government in the Americas, with 19 of the continent's 22 sovereign governments being presidential republics, with Canada, Belize, and Suriname the exceptions. It is also common in Central and Southern West Africa, as well as Central Asia. By contrast, there are just two presidential republics in Europe: Belarus and Cyprus. Oceania is the only continent without a presidential republic.


In a full-fledged presidential system, the head of government is chosen directly by the public or indirectly by the winning party. With the exception of Belarus and Kazakhstan, the head of government is also the head of state and is thus referred to as the president. The prime minister (also known as premier) may exist under a presidential system, although unlike in parliamentary systems or semi-presidential, the prime minister reports to the president rather than the legislature. 


The following features are common to many presidential regimes around the world:

  • The administration can veto legislative acts, which can be overridden by a supermajority of lawmakers. The veto is largely drawn from the British tradition of royal assent, which states that an act of parliament can only be enacted with the monarch's assent.

  • The president serves a fixed term. Elections are held at regular intervals and cannot be triggered by a vote of confidence or other parliamentary procedures, while there is an exemption in some nations that allows for the removal of a president who is proved to have violated the law.

  • The executive branch is a one-man show. Members of the cabinet serve at the president's pleasure and are responsible for carrying out the policies of the executive and legislative branches. Cabinet ministers and executive department heads are not legislators. However, in presidential systems, executive appointments to the cabinet, judiciary, and other lower-level government positions frequently require legislative approval. A president can generally order cabinet officials, the military, or any officer or employee of the executive branch, but he or she cannot direct or remove judges.

  • Convicted criminals are frequently pardoned or have their sentences commuted by the president.


Subnational Governments of the World

Presidential systems can be used by subnational governments, which are typically states. The presidential system is used by all state governments in the United States, despite the fact that it is not mandated by the Constitution. Many cities adopt council-manager government, which is analogous to a parliamentary system, however, the office of city managers is typically non-political. Some countries that do not have a presidential system at the national level utilize a subnational or local version of this system.


Features of the Presidential System

According to Maurice Duverger, the presidential system is distinguished by the concept of separation of powers, presidential elections by universal suffrage, presidential appointment and dismissal of ministers, and the fact that none of them is politically accountable to parliament.


President is the Real Head

The Executive Power is unassailable. In the Presidential system, the president of the state is not only the nominal executive; he is the real executive, using the powers conferred on him by the constitution and laws. The President is the true head of state under such a system. He is both the head of state and the head of government. In this arrangement, the President wields genuine government power. He is not accountable to the legislature for the administration and policies he implements.


Separation of Powers

The Presidential system of government has a separation of powers. In this system, the executive and legislature are distinct and have equal status. The people elect the President. He and his ministers are not chosen from the legislature. They are not held accountable. They are not subject to the legislative process. He has a set term. The legislature cannot easily remove him from office. The only way to remove him from office is by impeachment, which is a complex procedure. The President, on the other hand, has no authority to dissolve the legislature. Furthermore, the judiciary is distinct from both the executive and the legislative branches.


Checks and Balances

Though the three branches of government are kept separate, they are linked by a system of checks and balances. Each organ of government checks the other two in order to maintain a sense of balance.


Ministers are Accountable to the President 

In a Presidential government, the President has real administrative powers and exercises all of the authorities granted to him by the constitution and the law. The President picks his ministers (or secretaries), who serve at his leisure. They are not members of the legislature. They are also not liable for it. They are chosen based on their experience and expertise. The secretaries assist the president in administration, and whether or not the president accepts or rejects their advice is up to the president. They are the "President's men." If he is dissatisfied with them, he has the authority to remove them from office.


Non-Responsibility to the Legislature

The President and his secretaries are not accountable to the legislature in a presidential government. They cannot be removed by a vote of no-confidence in the legislature. Furthermore, they are not subject to an adjournment or censure motion. The President and his secretaries are not members of the legislature and do not participate in its sessions. As a result, they cannot be asked follow-up questions.


Fixed Tenure 

In a presidential administration, the President is elected for a set term and cannot be removed from office before the end of his term, unless impeached for a breach of the constitution. Under no circumstances can the term of office be reduced or lengthened.


Transparency 

The balance of power in a presidential system tends to be more transparent because it aims to define the limits between the Executive and Legislative branches, even though there are many collaboration alliances between them and that members of one are not members of the other at the same time, though there are exceptions.


Parliamentary System Vs Presidential System

  • The head of the government in the Presidential System is the chief executive, who is directly chosen by the people whereas in parliamentary president is elected indirectly by the representatives of the people in the government.

  • In presidential system, executive is not accountable to the legislature. Unlike in a parliamentary system, where the executive is accountable to the legislature, both organs are distinct. 

  • All of the government's organs, including the legislature, executive, and judiciary, operate independently of one another and are constitutionally independent in the presidential system of government whereas these branches of government are interrelated in the parliamentary system directly or indirectly.

  • The head of the state as well as the government is same in presidential system whereas it is not in the case of the parliamentary system.

  • The President cannot dissolve the lower house in case of the parliamentary system whereas it can be done by the President under the Presidential system.

  • The presidential system is said to be more autocratic whereas the parliamentary system is less autocratic in nature.

  • The example of the presidential system is the USA and of the parliamentary system is India.


Conclusion

Thus, in this article we have discussed about the presidential system of the government. There are different forms of government can be found in the world such as parliamentary, presidential, monarchial system etc. The presidential system is the one in which there is strict checks and balances and all the branches of the government works independently of each other and also the executive branch is not supposed to be responsible to the legislatures.

FAQs on Presidential Government

1. What is the presidential political system?

A presidential system of government is a democratic and republican form of government in which the executive branch is independent of the legislative branch and is led by a president. In most circumstances, the head of government is also the president of the country and thus the head of the state as well as the government, both are same. A strict separation of powers is followed in this system and the best example of this type of system is the United States of America.

2. What's the difference between parliamentary and presidential form of government?

Presidential system is the system in which the head of the government as well state is the president only whereas in the Parliamentary system there is different head of state and government. The presidential system is supposed to follow a strict separation of powers whereas there is no strict separation of powers can be seen in the parliamentary system. The President has a fixed term and cannot be supposed to be removed by no confidence motion by the legislature whereas the head of the state in the parliamentary system can be removed by no confidence motion.

3. What are the features of the presidential system of government?

The features of the presidential system of the government are given below:

  • The President of the country is said to be elected by the people of the country.

  • The president is known as the head of government as well as head of the state.

  • The executive branch is not said to be responsible to the legislature.

  • The executive, judicial and legislative are supposed to work independently of each other.

  • The president has a fixed term of office.