INTRODUCTION TO POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT


INTRODUCTION TO POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT (POL100)
ESSAY ASSIGNMENT
NAME: SAIF WALI MOHAMMAD
STUDENT ID: WALSD1801
THESIS STATEMENT
Diversity in a human geography has an impact on political system across the world. Parliamentary system is more effective than presidential system for the heterogeneous society because parliamentary system is more institutionalised; there is a less chance of despotism (Individual-centric) and socio-political fanaticism; it creates greater accountability in the system.

In this contemporary world, importance of liberal democracy is growing day by day. Liberal democracy is a representative democracy in which the ability of the elected representatives to maintain rule of law, and usually moderated by a constitution that emphasizes the protection of the rights and liberty of individuals, and which places constraints on the leaders and on the extent to which the will of the majority can be act against the rights of minorities. In this world parliamentary and presidential system can be seen as two eminent and highly successful democracies, followed by Britain and United States respectively. Parliamentary form of Government is the system of government in which there is an intimate and harmonious relationship between the executive and the legislative departments, and the stability and efficacy of the executive department depend on the legislature and ultimate authority is vested in the legislative body. In parliamentary system, Executive is the part of legislature and is appointed by the house of common. For example, in Canada, whoever gets 170 votes out of 338 will be elect as the Prime Minister. And can be remove from the office by non-confidential vote against the prime minister. Whereas, A presidential system is a system where an executive branch is led by a president who is both Head of the State and Head of the Government. This executive branch exists separately from the legislature, to which it is not responsible and which it cannot, in normal circumstances, be dismiss. President is elected directly by the citizens and therefore has right to veto. For example, In United States president is elected through electoral college. In this contemporary world, Globalisation have changed the homogenous societies to heterogeneous society through the element of the diversity and pluralism. Diversity in the society in most parts the world have demanded the system which is more institutionalized, less despotism and fanaticism and more accountable so that rights of  the all communities can be protected through representation of every interest group in the parliament. So therefore, Diversity in a human geography has an impact on political system across the world. Parliamentary system is much more effective than presidential system for the heterogeneous society because parliamentary system is more institutionalised; there is a less chance of despotism (Individual-centric) and socio-political fanaticism; It creates greater accountability in the system.

Now a days growing demand for the liberty and individual freedom has changed the democracy to liberal democracy. So how it is connected to institutionalised and why institutionalised parliamentary form of government is needed for heterogeneous society? Liberal democracy is the democratic system of government in which individual rights and freedoms are officially recognised and protected, and the exercise of political power is limited by the rule of law. Heterogeneous diverse society needs institutionalised system of governance so that all the communities can enjoy liberty and can live in a pluralistic society. In the article, “Institutional democracy will strengthen our society, engaging citizenry and distributing power equitably”, Donnell, M. (April 30, 2012) argues that institutionalising people’s involvement in matters that affect their daily lives would surely act as an antidote to the apathy and disengagement that blights liberal democracy. It would also serve to create a more equitable society, one where government is not dominated by wealthy elites. The challenge, though, is in initiating reform.

In the article, Donnell, M. has described how people are demanding institutional reforms through social media and ‘Hard Long-March’. He has described why there is a degree of complacency about British democracy and extend the arguments supporting institutional democracy. He argues that the reasons for complacency differ reflecting specific traditions of political thought. The emphasis of liberal philosophy remains on representative democracy. Liberal constitutional reformers have been effective in promoting human rights legislation and in advocating replacing the House of Lords with a more democratically representative institution but reforms at the grassroots is also needed for the institutional democracy. Furthermore, In the article, Donnell, M. argues that the introduction of institutional democracy would require the role of the central state, but it is the institutional changes themselves that would entrench the promotion of equality by empowering the majority of citizens on a routine basis. He states that introduction of institutional democracy is not a short-term fix but a long-term policy based on practicality and principle. What parliamentary legislation can do is to change the system to release the people’s latent energy and competence.

Moreover, He has described the difficulties in the implementation of institutional democracy. He argues that Firstly, the implementation of institutional democracy across industry, including finance, the public services, pre-eminently in education, and in the voluntary sector (where some organisations have adopted directorial models) will require the committed support of a political party. The Labour Party is the only feasible possibility. For it to do so will require a change in its culture. Secondly, the implementation of legislation introducing this policy would take a considerable time, including training. Thirdly, doubtless many will regard institutional democracy will as naively utopian. In fact it is based on hard experience and realistic thinking. The hard experience refers not only to the recalcitrance of elites but to persistent public political indifference. Institutional democracy on the scale advocated here transfers significant power to individuals who previously have had little. Collectively they will have the opportunity to make a difference that is meaningful to them.

So why parliamentary form is the better platform than presidential form of governance? In presidential system, there is no concept of decentralisation of power, president has the power to veto legislative body and there is minimum role of local government, president is the Head of the state and Head of the government; Hence has a despotic power. Whereas parliament form is better for institutionalising the democracy because it is more structural democracy in which there is federal-provincial-local autonomy in accordance with the constitutional rights and it is easy to institutionalised the system through representative democratic system. So therefore, Parliamentary system is better in institutionalising the system in favour of heterogeneous society.

Beside institutionalisation of the system in the parliamentary system, there is a minimum chance of despotism and fanaticism in the parliamentary form. Despotism is the exercise of absolute power, especially in a cruel and autocratic way. As we go through the world history fanaticism was a part of human history especially the religious fanaticism where minority rights were violated; to counter this thing people demanded democracy ‘rule by the people’. Democratic system introduced two dominant democratic system but still despotism and fanaticism are not completely vanished. In presidential system, president is the head of the government and head of the state; hence have absolute despotic power. Sometimes autocratic president can change democratic system to the authoritarian. Whereas in parliamentary form Power is distributed and prime minister can by remove from the office by non-confidential vote so there is less chance of despotism and fanaticism.

In the article, “Soft Despotism Is the Unique Threat to American Liberty”, Clark, J. (August 10, 2017) argues that there is a unique threat of despotism because of their structure of the democratic system. He further quotes the prediction of De Tocqueville about “soft despotism” in 1840. He argues that Tocqueville muses on the future of democratic societies and their potential for dictatorship, Tocqueville gives a picture of the future whereby a nation of isolated men, in diversion of self-interest, are close to their fellow citizens without seeing them, touching one another without any real sense of feeling. This article tells how still there is soft despotism in the democratic system, especially in presidential system. Article describes that fanatics, ideologues and absolutists are humanity’s greatest lash. Whether they’re the leaders or the followers, fanatics are people who indulge in a heady, intoxicating and toxic mixture of self-affirming, know-it-all confidence that they have unique access to absolute truths, truths so perfect that they have to impose them on everyone. It violates minority rights by using the name of the God.
In another Article, “Is the United States a Despotic Democracy?” Azel, J. (March 25, 2018) have discussed the question that whether United States is a despotic democracy? He argues that according to Alexis de Tocqueville the description of democratic despotism is a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. Author described the despotism in United States through the help of statistics of USA. He states that Bureaucracies are also characterized by unrelenting growth. In the United States, the original bureaucracy of the Federal Government consisted of only the employees of three small departments; State, Treasury, and War. Today the Federal Branch employs nearly 3 million people. The old Soviet KGB employed one officer for every 428 citizens. In today’s “freer” Russia the FSB employs one officer for every 297 citizens. The statistics shows how democratic despotism is increasing in United States.
Through the help of two articles on despotism we can conclude that in parliamentary form of government there is less chance of despotism because power is distributed, Prime Minister is the head of the government, Governor General is the head of the state, Chief Justice is the head of the judiciary and Army chief is the Head of the Armed forces; whereas in presidential form of government, president is the head of the government, state and armed forces and is independent from the legislature so there is a greater chance of despotism in presidential form of government. As there is minimum chance of despotism in parliamentary system, heterogeneous society will demand parliamentary system so that minorities can protect themselves from despotism and fanaticism.

Finally, Why there is greater accountability in parliamentary form of governance than in presidential form of government? To look at this question, understanding the interdependence of Executive (Prime Minister) and legislature in the parliamentary system; And the independence of Executive (President) and legislature in presidential system is important. In the Parliamentary system, the legislature is elect by the people and legislature are answerable to the citizens; legislature elect the executive and executive is responsible and answerable to the legislature which means that there is interdependence of authority and power which creates greater accountability. Whereas in presidential form, Executive (President) is not directly responsible and is independent from the legislature (congress) which minimise the accountability.
 
In the article, “Accountability and Democracy”, the author Mark E. Warren (May, 2014) has described how accountability and democracy are interconnected. He argues that democracy, rule of the people, is comprised of complex webs of accountabilities between people and those who use power to govern on their behalf. Democratic accountability is comprised of justifications for these uses of power, combined with distributions of empowerments in such a way that those affected can sanction its use. Key problems for democracies include forming principals and agents among whom accountability relations might hold, designing institutions that limit costs of accountability mechanisms so they can be used by citizens, and developing forms of accountability that match the increasing scale and complexity of political issues and organisations. He discussed how institutions plays a vital role in accountability of the ruling elites. He discussed how judiciary and tribunals can create check and balance in the system. Author emphasis on the independence of the judiciary so that no one can influence the accountability process. He conclude that accountability is important to maintain legitimacy of the system.

 
In the newspaper article, ” Was 2017 a ‘win’ for accountability in Pakistan?” Imtiaz, G. (January 10, 2018) discussed how ‘PANAMA LEAKS’ creates awareness in the people of Pakistan about accountability. He argues that Pakistan’s elitist model of governance continues to breed corruption and nepotism. Over decades it has encouraged impunity and arbitrariness among the civilian and military ruling elites, which directly imperils rule of law and good governance, but now growing awareness of accountability in Pakistan have cause protests against corruption. He discussed how an ascendant and increasingly assertive Supreme Court of Pakistan found former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in violation of his oath, disqualified him for dishonesty and ordered him to go to trial on financial corruption charges. Core aim of the newspaper was based on the importance of accountability of the system through judiciary.
 
The two articles on accountability tells that there is greater accountability in parliamentary form of government because judiciary has more power and executive is inter-dependent on the legislature. In Heterogeneous society there is a greater chance of the accountability because diversity between different communities demand check and balance of the system. Why heterogeneous societies needs greater accountability of the system? They demand greater accountability because they think check and balance is needed to ensure that there interest are protected. In presidential form of government, executive and legislature is independent; Hence there is minimum chance of accountability. President is the head of state and head of the government leads an executive branch which is separate from the legislative branch so there is less chance of check and balance. Therefore, parliamentary system is better because of greater accountability and which is in favour of heterogeneous society.

After the deep analysis and discussion about the three reason why parliamentary system is better than presidential system for the heterogeneous society, it can be say that globalisation has caused diversity in a human geo-political system which has enhance the importance of liberal democracy so that rights of minorities can be protected. Globalisation has made society heterogeneous from homogenous society. For example, In Canada number of foreign born population of Canada is increasing 4 times faster than the rest of the population. The number of foreign-born population in Canada is total 12.5millions, which tells that how diversity is making society pluralistic. Due to growing demand for the pluralistic society, people prefer parliamentary system so that all the people in the society can enjoy liberty. Despite the fact that parliamentary system is better for liberty of the heterogeneous society, there cannot be a complete liberty in the system. Hence there are some problems in every system that leads to inequality in the system. For example, even in world’s successful democracy, inequality exists. To counter this problem every individual should play role to achieve individual liberty and freedom. As one of my favourite politician Mahatma Gandhi quotes that, “Freedom is never dear at any price. It is the breath of life. What would a man not pay for living?” The spirit of democracy is not mechanical thing to be adjusted by abolition of forms. It requires change of the heart.

References (APA)
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/27/liberal-democracy-history-us-politics. “Liberal democracy is in crisis. But … do we know what it is?” (The Guardian), Written by Rosenblatt, H. (May 27, 2018).

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/institutional-democracy-odonnell/. ” Institutional democracy will strengthen our society, engaging citizenry and distribution power equitably” (The London school of Economics ; Politics), Written by Donnell, M.

https://fee.org/articles/soft-despotism-is-the-unique-threat-to-american-liberty/. ” Soft Despotism Is the Unique Threat to American Liberty”, Written by Clark, J. (Aug,2017).

https://panampost.com/jose-azel/2018/03/25/is-the-united-states-a-despotic-democracy/. “Is the United States a Despotic Democracy?”, Written by Azel, J. (March, 2018).

http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199641253.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199641253-e-018. “Accountability and Democracy?” (Oxford Handbook), Written by Warren E, M. (May, 2014).
http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2018/01/10/was-2017-a-win-for-accountability-in-pakistan/. ” Was 2017 a ‘win’ for accountability in Pakistan” ( East Asia Forum), Written by, Gul, I. ( January, 2018).