Tema 2 - Structures and political institutions [2.5-2.8] (2016)

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Universidad Blanquerna (URL)
Grado Relaciones Internacionales - 1º curso
Asignatura Introduction to Political Science
Año del apunte 2016
Páginas 6
Fecha de subida 30/04/2016
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Mar López Barreiro 1r International Relations 2015-2016 2.5 The three branches: The legislative - All democratic regimes have legislative, executive, and judicial branches of governance - The basic division of powers (Montesquieu’s approach) is that: - Legislatures make the laws - Executives implement and administer them - Judiciaries adjudicate disputes - - 1 Legislatures (Parliaments) - “Legislature” comes from the Latin word lex, legis → it precursors were feudal assemblies of medieval parler (parliaments) - Carta Magna: “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 called the États General → First convened in 1302; French Revolution in 1789 - First État → clergy - Second État → nobility - Third État → commoners Two definitions of legislature: - The first was made in 1713: “Without the concurrent Consent of all Three Parts of the Legislature, no Law can be made” (Hale) - 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) Mar López Barreiro 1r International Relations 2015-2016 - Structure of legislature: - 2 structural features: - Unicameral: ⅔ of legislature of the world are with one only chamber - Bicameral: With 2 chambers, especially in federal states - First, lower chamber is typically called the chamber of deputies, national assembly of House of Representatives - Second is the Senate. Normally if the state isn’t federal, the second chamber has an insignificant job (FR, SP, IT) Parliamentary vs Presidential Systems 2 Mar López Barreiro 1r International Relations 2015-2016 2.6 The three branches Democratic Governance: The Executives - Political executives are the main responsibility for governance: - Setting/Fixing national priorities - Proposing legislation - Directs the nation’s affairs - Supervises the execution of policy - Mobilizes support for its goals 3 - Important difference between the head of state and the head of government: - The head of state normally plays no direct role in governance: - Ceremonial figure whose job is to reinforce national identity - Monarchs, Presidents of Republic, etc - The head of government is the chief executive who has two principal roles: - Coordinate the government in both domestic and international affairs - Initiate legislation - For Max Weber (German sociologist), 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; 3. Methodical adherence to formal rules and procedures; 4. Disciplined hierarchy of command; 5. Rationality in the sense of choosing the most efficient means to achieve specified ends - The executives of liberal democracies fall into 3 main groups: - 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 collegia, 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 - 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) Mar López Barreiro 1r International Relations 2015-2016 2.7 The three branches Democratic Governance: The Judiciary 4 - The Judiciary in society - In democracies and authoritarian regimes: 1. The exercise of social control; 2. Legitimation; 3. Monitoring and control of administrative agents; 4. Encourage international and external investment; 5. Make controversial decisions with “objectivity and neutrality” - Types of Law: - Criminal Law; - Civil Law; - Constitutional Law; - Administrative Law; - International Law - Relations with the Executive and Legislative → Checks and Balances Mar López Barreiro 1r International Relations 2015-2016 - Judicialization of Politics - The Judiciary is gaining political influence in democracies, so much that it is new 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 judges - We must pay attention distinguishing between the meaning of two expressions: - Democracy: “the rule of law” - Authoritarian: “the rule by law” 2.8 Electoral System - Elections are methods of assessing preferences through votes → vital in democracy - Elections are the defining institutions of modern democracy (Jatz, 1997) - Three main functions: 1. Enabling people’s will to be expressed and represented 2. Providing competition for office 3. Providing means of holding the government - An electoral system denotes all the rules governing an election → Basically 3 aspects: 1. Structure of the ballot 2. Electoral Formula 3. Districting - Electoral Systems: - Majority Systems (First past the post) - Majority one and only ballot → single member districts - Majority two-round system → single members districts - Proportional Systems - List of candidates → multimember districts - Mixed Systems - Combination of both → searching for proportional representation and close relation with the 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 Massachusetts (1812) - It was so long, narrow, and wiggly that it reminded one observer of a salamander hence gerrymander - 5 accountable Mar López Barreiro 1r International Relations 2015-2016 - - - 6 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 or the government, to the people - The device therefore provides a practical counterexample to the common argument that direct democracy is completely impossible in larger states ...