2.1 Branches of the government (2016)

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Universidad Blanquerna (URL)
Grado Relaciones Internacionales - 1º curso
Asignatura Introduction to Political Sciences
Año del apunte 2016
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Fecha de subida 29/04/2016 (Actualizado: 01/05/2016)
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Structures and political institutions (II) The three branches of the democratic governance: LEGISLATURES (PARLIAMENTS) All democratic regimes have legislative, executive and judicial branches of governance The basic division of powers (Montesquieu approach) is that legislatures make the laws, executives implement and administer them, and judiciaries adjudicate disputes. “Legislature” comes from the Latin world for law “lex, legs”.
In France, by contrast, the initial legislative assebly was called the Etats general (First Estate (clergy), Second Estate (nobility) and Third Estate (commoners). First convened in 1302. French Revolution in 1789. The most important book of the French Revolution was The Third Estates and it is about the change operated from the medieval parliaments to contemporary parliaments and when the third estate became the people.
A definition of legislature was made in 1713: “without the concurrent consent of all three parts of the legislatures, no law can be made (quod omnes similter tang, ab omnibus comprobetour = what concerns all, should be approved by all).
• A legislature is a representative body which considers public issues and gives assent on behalf of a political community that extends beyond the executive authority, to binding measures of public policy (Norton) FUNCTIONS OF LEGISLATURE • Representation: members represent and promote the interest of those who elected them, usually under a party label.
• Deliberation: 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.
• Authorizing expenditure: legislatures approve or reject the annual budget prepared by the government.
• Making governments: in most parliamentary systems, the government emerges from the assembly and must retain its confidence. This doesn’t work in a presidential system.
• Oversight: legislatures are responsible of overseeing or scrutinizing the executive, keeping it accountable.
STRUCTURE OF THE LEGISLATURE there are two features of the legislatures: • Unicameral: 2/3 of the legislature of the world have only one chamber.
• Bicameral: there are two chambers. Only found in federal states. The first of the 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 and Italy).
THE EXECUTIVES Political executives are the main responsibility for governance: • Setting national priorities • Proposing legislation: because in order to change things they have to propose new laws.
• Directs the nation’s affairs • Supervises the execution of policy • Mobilizes support for its goals: there can’t be any changes if the public doesn't support it.
1 Structures and political institutions (II) The important difference between the head of state and the head of government: • Head of state: normally plays no direct role in governance. He’s a ceremonial figure whose job is to reinforce national identity. (Monarchs, presidents of Republics..) • Head of government: is the chief executive and has two principal roles: coordinate the government in both domestic and international affairs, and second, to initiate legislation.
For Max Weber, a rational-efficient bureaucracy possesses the following characteristics: 1. A defined division of tasks 2. Merit-based recruitment and promotion coupled with secure jobs and salaries. Through merits, one gets the position: it is a system to select the best for a position.
3. Methodical adherence to formal rules and procedures. To follow the rules strictly.
4. Disciplined hierarchy of command. There is a strict structure of commands.
5. Rationality in the sense of choosing the most efficient means to achieve specified ends. One has to be rational when it comes to solving problems in order to be more efficient.
PRESIDENTIAL GOVERNMENT • 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 which can bring down the other.
• The president serves as head of state.
PARLIAMENTARY GOVERNMENT • 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 fro the post of prime minister SEMI-PRESIDENTAL 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.
• This constitution was dictated by General De Galle and it became the V Republique (France), which is still the one that they are using now. Exam: the French model! JUDICIARY 1. The exercise of social control 2. Legitimation 3. Monitoring and control of administrative agents 4. To encourage international and external investment 5. To make controversial decisions with “objectivity and neutrality”.
The electoral systems Definitions: • Elections are methods of assessing preferences though botes. They are vital to democracy.
2 Structures and political institutions (II) • Elections are the defining institutions of modern democracy • Three main functions of elections • Enabling the people’s will to be expressed and represented.
• To provide competition for office.
• To provide means of holding the government accountable.
Three types: 1. MAJORITY SYSTEMS (First past the post) This system provoques bipartidism and pluralism.
1. Majority one and only ballot. Single-members districts (UK) 2. Majority two-round system. Single members districts (FR) The main difference is that there are more than one elections. In the firs one, it is the same as in the UK, however, if one candidate has more than 50% that candidate is elected definitely. When a candidate doesn’t get to 50%, two weeks after there are elections again, and during the second ballot, they elect the two candidates that had more votes or the top three that had more than 25%. In this case, there is much more pluralism in the parliament.
2. PROPORTIONAL SYSTEMS 1. List of Candidates. Multimember districts. (Spain) There is a proportion between the proportion and the parties present a list of MPs (according to the population of each district) that the voters have to vote for. “sistema electoral plurinominal”.
3. MIXED SYSTEMS 1. Combination of both. Searching for proportional representation and close relation with the citizens.
An electoral system denotes all the rules governing an election. Basically three aspects: 1. Structure of the ballot.
2. Electoral formula.
3. Districting.
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