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Merits and Demerits of Presidential

Form of Government
Article shared by Jagan Pradhan

Merits of Presidential Form of Government:


Following are the merits of Presidential form of
government:
(1) It ensures stable government:
In a Presidential form of government, the government
becomes stable, because the President is elected for a fixed tenure
and he cannot be removed from his office through a vote of no-
confidence. He can be removed from his office through the process of
impeachment, in case he violates the constitution.
The process of impeachment is, however complicated.Until 23rd June,
1986 no President had been removed from his office in U.S.A. through
impeachment, though the constitution of the U.S.A. was introduced in
1789. The main reason for this is that the Congress cannot use this
weapon in case there is any difference of opinion pertaining to
administration or policy.
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(2) This system of government is most suitable for


emergencies:
In a Presidential from of government, real powers of the government
are in the hands of the president. During war and emergency, after
consulting his secretaries, he can take a number of decisions
independently. During war and emergency, the Congress also
delegates its numerous powers to the President. In this way the
President can face the war and emergency firmly. During World War I
and II, the American Presidents acted in a similar manner.
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(3) It leads to the efficiency in administration:


Since the Presidents appoint their secretaries on the basis of ability
and not on political basis, they are responsible to the President and
not to the parliament. Thus, they pay full attention to the
administration, which creates efficiency in the administration.
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(4) Less influence of Parties:
As compared to the Parliamentary government there is less influence
of parties in this system. The reason for this is that the entire
administration is in the hands of the President, who, after having been
elected, does not depend upon the majority support in the Parliament.
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(5) This type of government is based on the theory of


Separation of Powers:
For maintaining independence of each organ of administration the
separation of powers was considered essential in America. Thus in
America every organ of the government performs its own function.
However, in order to check the absolutism of one organ of the
government the founding fathers of the American constitution,
introduced the system, of Checks and Balances.
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6) Most suitable for multiple party systems:
Where there is a multiple party- system, there the government
changes very often, just as in Pakistan prior to 1958. But in a
Presidential system, the governments do not change so quickly,
because all powers of the administration are in the hands of the
President.

He has not to depend upon the support of the majority party in the
Parliament, as he is elected by the people or their representatives for a
fixed tenure.
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Demerits of Presidential Government:


(1) In this system of Government the President enjoys wide
powers and he can have his own way in many matters:
In a Presidential Government, many executive, financial and legal
powers are concentrated in the hands of the President and he can use
his discretion in many matters. In America, the Congress has no
control over the daily administration.
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It has constitutional control, which is limited to certain special


matters. During war and emergency, the Congress delegates vast
powers to the President. During the First World War President Wilson
and during the Second World War, President Roosevelt enjoyed
powers of a dictator.

(2) Sometimes it leads to non-co-operation between the


Executive and the Legislature:
In a Presidential Government, there is sometimes non-co-operation
between the Executive and the Legislature and a great difficulty is
faced by the President in obtaining the approval for the foreign aid
programme.

For example, in 1920 the American Senate rejected the Treaty of


Versailles and League Convenient. According to this treaty, the war
with Germany came to an end and the League of Nations took birth.
Consequently, America could not become the member of the League
and President Wilsons prestige received a great setback.
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The Congress imposed a drastic cut in the foreign aid programme of
President Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon against their wishes. For
example, on October 30, I97I, the American Senate decided to abolish
Foreign Aid Programme with a majority of 41 votes to 27 votes. The
American share of aid to the U.N.O. was also reduced from 32 per cent
to 25 per cent. The then American President, Mr. Nixon said that,
during the last 25 years the American Dual Constructive Foreign
Policy has suffered a severe setback which has threatened the national
security.

President Nixon, while criticising this decision of the Senate further


said: This action of the Senate is very irresponsible. Foreign Aid
Programme is very important; it should be immediately restored, so
that we may continue our efforts for the establishment of a peaceful
world.

(3) In this system the government is not responsible for


daily administration to the Parliament:
Another drawback of the Presidential government is that the people or
the Parliament have no control over the daily administration and the
policy. The President and his secretaries are not asked to answer
questions in the Parliament.
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They can also not be removed from the office by a vote of no-
confidence against them. Thus, the President and his secretaries run
the administration arbitrarily. There is no such provision in a
parliamentary government.

(4) The Theory of Separation of Powers is not good for the


sound working of the Government:
Because of the separation of powers, there is no co-ordination between
the executive and the legislature. This destroys the unity of the
government. In a parliamentary government the ministers can satisfy
the Parliament regarding bills and budget, because they are present
there and answer the questions themselves.
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In a Presidential government, the President and his secretaries do not


attend the Parliament. Thus, in America the President faces a great
difficulty in getting the budget and bills passed according to his own
wishes.

(5) Since the constitution is very rigid, it becomes very


difficult to make amendments in it according to the
changing times:
There being a Presidential government in America,
the Constitution is very rigid. Hence it becomes difficult to amend it
according to the changed circumstances. Even during the Second
World War, the Presidential elections took place because under the
constitution the Congress could not extend the tenure of the President.
But in a Parliamentary government, the Parliament can extend its own
tenure. It was done in Britain ending the Second World War.
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Conclusion:
Presidential government is quite suitable in countries where the
government is not stable due to multi-party system. Otherwise
Parliamentary government is better than Presidential government,
because in the former the executive is responsible to the Parliament
for its day-to-day administration.

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