UNIT 2 (ii) : Structures and political institutions (2016)

Apunte Inglés
Universidad Blanquerna (URL)
Grado Relaciones Internacionales - 1º curso
Asignatura Introducció a la ciència política
Año del apunte 2016
Páginas 9
Fecha de subida 29/04/2016
Descargas 4
Subido por


The state, the different political regimes, democracy, authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, constitutions, the three branches of Democratic Governance, electoral systems.

Vista previa del texto

Júlia Miragall Mas UNIT 2 (ii) : Structures and political institutions THE LEGISLATURE: THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNANCE: All democratic regimes have legislative, executive and judicial branches of governance. The basic division of powers (Montesquieu approach) is that legislatures smake the laws, executives implement and administrate them, and judiciaries adjudicate disputes.
2. 6 THREE BRANCHES DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE: LEGISLATURES (PARLIAMENTS): "Legislature" comes from the latin word for law "lex, legis". Its precursors were feudal assemblies of medieval "parler" (Parliaments).
Magna Carta: "Model Parliament" in order to erosion the King's power (1265) and its members comprised: commoners, nobility and clergy.
In France, by contrast , the initial legislative assembly was callled the Etats generals (First State, the clergy, Second State, the nobility, and Third State, the commoners). First convened in 1302.
French Revolution in 1789 (The Third States. SIÈYES).
TWO DEFINITIONS: A) Definition of Legislature: it was made in 1713: "Without the concurrent Consent of all Three Parts of the legislature, no... Law... Canc be made". (Hale's, 1713. history of common Law.) This notion was: "Quod omnes similter tangit, ab amnibus camprobetour" (What concerns all, should be approved by all).
B) A definition: A aLegisslature is a representative body which considers public issues and gives assent, on behalf of a political community that extends bewond the executive authority, to binding Júlia Miragall Mas measures of public policy (Norton).
FUNCTIONS OF LEGISLATURE: - Representation: Members represent and promote the interests of those who elected them, usually under a party label.
- Desliberation: Legislatures debate and provide a public airing for matters of public importance.
- Legislation: Whatever the source of bills, legislatures are responsible for reviewing, amending, and approving new laws.
- Authororizing expenditure: Legislatures approve or reject the annual budget prepared by the government.
- Making governments: In most parlimentary systems, the government emerges from the assembly and must retain its confidence.
- Oversight: legislatures are responsible for overseeing or scritinizing the executive, keeping it accountable.
LEGISLATION: TYPICAL STEPS IN MAKING LAW: Júlia Miragall Mas 1. First reading. Debate. Vote. To comitee(s).
2. commitee(s) . Vote. To floor.
STRUCTURE OF LEGISLATURE Let us to two structural features of the Legislatures: - Unicameral: two third of legislature of the world are with one only chamber.
- Bicameral: with two chambers, especially federal states. The first of lower chamber is typically called the chamber of deputies, national assembly of House of Representatives. The second is the Senate. Normally if the state is not federal, the second chamber has an insignificant job ( France, Spain, Italy).
2.7. THE THREE BRANCHES OF DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE: THE EXECUTIVES: Political executives are the main responsibility for governance: - Setting national priorities -Proposing legislation - Directs the nation's affairs: Bureaucracy - the executive system of the state.
- Supervizes the execution of policy - Mobilizes support for its goals: they need support for their goals, from the people.
Ex: Aznar decided to go to war with the United States in Iraq even though the public opinion was against it. They have to tale into account the public opinio, or else they will have many problem to implement their goals.
Inportant differences between the head of the state and the head of government.
- The head of state normally plays no direct role in governance . He is a ceremonial figure whose job is to reinforce national identity. (Monarchs, presidents of Republics,...).
- The head of governent is the chief executive has two principal roles: coordinate the government's in both domestic and international affairs, and second, to initiate legislation.
Júlia Miragall Mas For Max Webber (german sociologist) a rational-efficient beaurocracy possesses the following characteristics: 1. A defined division of tasks 2. Merit-based recruitment (el sistema meritocratico) and promotion coupled with secure jobs salaries 3. Methodical adherence to formal rules and procedures: to be strict with following the rules.
4. Disciplined hierarchy of command: There is a strict structure of commandment.
5. Rationality in the sense of choosing the most efficient means to achieve specified ends: To be rational in the way needed to solve problems.
THE EXECUTIVES OF LIBERAL DEMOCRACIES FALL INTO THREE MAIN GROUPS: Presidential, Parlimentary and Semi-Presidential PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM: - Direct election of the president who steers the government and makes appointments to it; - Fixed terms of offices for the president and the assembly, neither of bring down the other; - The president serves as head of state.
which can PARLIMENTARY SYSTEM: - The governing parties emerge from the assembly and can be dismissed from office by a note of no confidence.
- - The executive is collegial , taking the form of a cabinet (or council of ministers) in which the prime minister (premier, chancellor).
- A ceremonial head of state is normally separate from the post of prime minister.
Júlia Miragall Mas SEMI-PRESIDENTIAL GOVERNMENT: - Dual executive, combines an elected president performing political tasks with a prime minister who heads a cabinet accountable to parliament.
- The prime minister, usually appointed by the president, is responsible for day-to-day domestic government.
- General De Gaulle and the "V Republique" (France). Ex: en Francia tiene amplias responsabilidades.
Júlia Miragall Mas 2.9. THE JUDICIARY IN SOCIETY: (IN DEMOCRACIES AND AUTHORITARIAN REGIMES): 1. The exercise of social control: To make sure taht everyone respects and acts according to law.
2. Legitimation: The judiciary system must be strong, so that it can guarantee the rule of law and legitimation by law of thee state - recognized by the people.
3. Monitoring and corntrol of administrative agents: checks and balance. To control that the administration will work in a just context and with the rule of law.
4. To encurage international and external investment: A system that makes sure that there is a repect for the law.
5. To make controversial decisions with "objectivity and neutrality": there are different conceptions (left and right), but the judiciary has to act with objectivity and neutrality with no effect upon it from the different conceptions.
2.8. THE THREE BRANCHES OF DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE: THE JUDICIARY: The relations with the Executive and Legislative. Checks and balances.
The judicial system only responds to itself; they do not need to give accountability before the people. They are not elected by the people nor are they responsible to make sure to act according to the public opinion.
Júlia Miragall Mas Not elected by the people judiciary - process: JUDICIALIZATION OF POLITICS: - The judiciary is gaining in political influence in democracies, so much so that it is newly common to talk about the "judicialization of Politics". In so doing, the doctrine of judicial review gives ordinary courts the power to nullify both legislative and executive acts that they deem to contravene the constitution. During FDR's government, The Supreme Court against New Deal Legislation.
Why has the judicialization of politics taken place? a) Functionalism: The complexity of governing current societies.
b) Rights-centered: A catalog of new social rights.
c) Institutionalism: The culture of democracy.
d) The Court-centered: The rising power of the judges.
(Hispole, R. Mughan, A.
Introduction to Comparative Politics”) We must pay attention distinguish between the meaning of two expressions: Democracy, “the rule of law” Authoritarian, “the rule by law” Júlia Miragall Mas 2.9. STRUCTURES AND POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS: THE ELECTORAL SYSTEMS: Definitions: - Elections are methods of assessing preferences through votes. They are vital to democracy.
- Electons are defining institutions of modern democracy (Jatz, 1997).
Three main functions of elections: 1. Enabling the people's will to be expressed and represented 2. To provide competition for office.
3.To provide means of holding the government accountable.
ELECTORAL SYSTEMS: An electoral system denotes all the rules governing an election. Basically three aspects: 1. Structure of the ballot 2. Electoral Formula 3. Districting *MAJORITY SYSTEMS: - In the UK there are 64 million people. In teh house of commons there are 600 members of the parliment (MP) (deputies). Englans the UK is devided in small districts of a 106.000 people. Each constituency elects one MP. The party who has even only one vote more, gains all the representatives (MPs).
- MAJORITY one and only ballot. Single-members districts.
- MAJORITY two-round sustem. Single members districts.
*PROPORTIONAL SYSTEM: - List of candidates. Multimember districts.
*MIXED SYSTEMS (MMP): - Combination of both. Searching for proportional representation and close relation with the Júlia Miragall Mas citizens.
Some concepts: - Gerrymandering: is the art of drawing seat boundaries to maximize the efficiency of a party’s support. The term comes from a constituency designed by Governor Gerry of Massachusset in 1812. It was so long, narrow and wiggly that it reminded one observer of a salamander - hence gerrymander.
- Tactical Voting: occurs when electors vote instrumentally for a party or candidate other than their preferred choice. In plurality electoral systems, voters sometimes desert their favored party when it has no chance of winning in their local district.
- District magnitude: refers to the number of representatives chosen for each electoral district (not to its number of electors). The more representatives to be elected for a district, the more proportional the electoral system can be and smaller the discrimination against minor parties.
- Referendum: involves a reference from another body, normally the legislature os the government, to the people. The device therefore provides a practical counter-example to the common argument that direct democracy is completely impossible in larger states.