First, explain the variation in various aspects of political institutions, including the
executive and legislative branches and their relationship, the structure of parliament,
electoral and party systems, types of governments (in terms of the number of governing
parties and majority status), the federal vs. unitary system, etc.
Then, explain the effects
the variation can potentially exert on governments’ policy-making capabilities from the
perspective of veto players or veto points.
Pay particular attention to the link from the
electoral system to the party system, to the form of governments, and to their policy-
Around the world there exist numerous states with differing government designs,
each having certain political institutions that go hand in hand with each other. A
characteristic that tends to be consistent amongst most governments is the presence of a
legislative and executive branch. The legislative branch has the power to adopt laws,
raise taxes, and adopt a budget. While the legislature is responsible for approving the
laws of a state, it does not usually, on its own, have the capacity to enforce them, notably
in terms of employees and other infrastructure. The necessity to enforce a law if it is to be
effective imposes a degree of cooperation between the legislature and the executive
branch. The executive branch of government is responsible for the day-to-day
management of the state. It also contains the head of government.
Both branches must
work together as a system of checks and balances in order to limit the powers of other
branches and protects against an abuse of power by any one branch of government.
Although the majority of governments include the similar characteristic of multiple
branches, they vary greatly in other aspects such as structure, elections, etc.
One of the best examples of differences in the government lies in the comparison
between the United States and the United Kingdom. America has a presidential system,
where the head of government (president) is also the head of state, whereas the United
Kingdom uses the parliamentary system, where the head of government is the leader of
the largest party in the legislature and is most commonly termed the Prime Minister.
the parliamentary system no separation of power exists and the executive is a committee
of the legislature. Other differences between the two types of government include party
systems versus electoral systems. Where the electoral system uses the majority vote to
determine government officials, the party system, used by the UK, is the idea that
political parties control the government, have a stable base of mass popular support, and
create internal mechanisms for controlling funding, information and nominations.
Another difference is found in the use of either the federal or unitary system. The U.S.