1Study Guide, Exam 1
Govt 324L, Politics of W. Europe, Fall ‘09
The following is a list of terms, ideas, questions that seeks to cover all the items that will appear
on your first exam.
At the end are several essay questions, at least two of which will be on the
Some items on the review sheet will not appear on the exam and some items may appear
in different form or context than on this sheet.
The main structural differences between the American executive and the typical
executive in a parliamentary system (ie, separation of power, fixed terms, independent
The US system provides for separation of powers, separate elections with set, fixed terms,
distinct powers of the executive branch (president), and the incompatibility rule (which states
that no member of the Executive branch, president or cabinet, may serve as a member of the
legislative branch with the exception of the VP presiding over the Senate).
In the parliamentary
system, there is a fusion of the executive and legislative branches, the PM is dependent on the
support of the legislature for power and position, the PM is the leader of the majority party or a
winning coalition (or leader of the minority party like in France where they encourage
cohabitation), the term of the PM is not fixed (nor are the terms of the members of the
legislature), and there is a collective responsibility between the executive and the legislature on
the functioning of the government.
The composition, powers, and selection processes for the lower chambers of the
legislatures for Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and the Netherlands
lower house is elected by a general election.
This house is made up of elected
members from different areas of Britain.
Typically, Britain is governed under a majority party
system, or nearly majority party system, composed of either the liberal or conservative party.
The house of commons has the ability to approve of and support the “government” of the PM.
dissatisfied, like with Tony Blair, they can call for a vote of no confidence and oust the PM and
his/her government from office.
Britain also has a winner-take-all arrangement with single-
it is called the National Assembly.
It was created during the creation of the 5
Republic of France.
Deputies are elected through a two-round system (run-off system).
terms are 5 years, but they can be dissolved by the president (though rare).
They are elected by
direct, universal suffrage by constituencies of roughly 100,000.
They have single-member
299 are elected to single-member district and 299 are elected from proportional
voted from the different states in Germany.
There is proportional represenation in the
Bundestag, often forcing a consensus party system governed by a coalition government.