2 Const&Parties - Lecture 2 Constitutions and Party...

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Lecture 2: Constitutions and Party Systems 1 Constitutions and Policy Making I. Presidential vs. parliamentary system Presidential system – president - usually directly elected by the voters - forms the government = appoints the cabinet, has veto power or significant powers to legislate by decree. Parliamentary system – the government is formed on the basis of support by the majority of members of parliament, either from a single majority party or a coalition of parties. There are minority governments (both single party or coalitions) that govern with implicit or explicit support of other parties, permanently or from piece of legislation to piece of legislation. Parliamentary system and party discipline Degree of party discipline is the degree to which the members of the legislative body (parliament) vote the party line on important issues. A parliamentary vote on such issues can be made into a vote of (no) confidence ; if the government loses a vote of (no) confidence, it must resign. So in parliamentary systems, parties have a very strong incentive to have a high degree of party discipline. II. Federalist vs. unitary government Federalism : Sub-national (supra-local) level of government (like states in the US) have significant legislative authority, (in almost all cases) budgetary authority - that is tax powers, not just administrative powers. These powers are constitutionally guaranteed.
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