Parliamentary vs Presidential System of Democracy- Part 1

Parliamentary vs Presidential system of Democracy, Part – 1

Table of content:

  • Parliamentary System of Democracy.
  •  Elections in Parliamentary system.
  • Local Bodies.


In the present world two types  of democracy are well known ;
1  –  Parliamentary    2  –  Presidential

Part # 1 – Parliamentary System of Democracy

Different countries have chosen either Parliamentarian or Presidential system of democracy. It is Parliamentary system of democracy in Pakistan since 1947. President  Ayub Khan  introduced Presidential system , where elected Chairmen of Basic Democracies  (Union Councils) vote to elect the President of the country. Ayub Khan was elected twice as President of Pakistan  for two terms of 5 years each. The country was strong and well established in economic growth. The agitation started against Ayub Khan and he stepped down from office. New elections were held and the National  Assembly rejected the Presidential System and chose Parliamentary System of government. Both systems have good and bad results. Since we have Parliamentary System , we will discuss it first.

Elections in Parliamentary System :

People elect their representatives  for Provincial and National Assembly. People cost their vote on one person- one vote basis. This is a dark side of Democracy. In this system, vote of an illiterate  person and a PhD professor has same value. In other words, people are counted and not weighed . There should be a difference between an illiterate and an educated person’s  vote.  The following suggestion might solve this problem:

  1. An illiterate person’s vote  has value of one vote only.
  2. Voter educated up to B.A. will be considered as two votes.
  3. Vote of a person educated above B.A. will be considered as
    three votes.

Presently, any citizen,  educated or illiterate, can be candidate for member of Provincial or National Assembly.  The elected members of  Assemblies’ duty is to pass/reject a law, make amendments in the Constitution  of the country. This action needs ability to understand the law. Do you hope that a primary/middle pass Assembly Member can understand what he/she has to do ? There should be an educational restriction for the Assembles candidates.

  1. Candidate for a Provincial Assembly should be a B.A. graduate.
  2. Candidate for National Assembly and Senate should have a
    Master degree. In this way, the educated Assemblies are expected to perform their duties efficiently for national interest.

The political parties nominate their candidates and run election campaign to convince voters to choose their candidates. Some people who do not get the support of any political party , they try their luck as ” free” candidate . If a free candidate wins the election, he/she is in   a position  to negotiate with other parties and bargain  for something, either cash or a ministry in new government.

Here is a point to note. Suppose “A” wins 4000 votes and “B” has 3,977 votes. Candidate A will be declared as winner. It means  A represents for 4000 people. 3.977 voters have no representative, and they will be neglected till next election. This is set back of parliamentary system of democracy. Rules of parliamentary system are not set by All-mighty Allah. Rules can be changed according to our national situation and interest.  What is the solution ?. We will discuss it in our Presidential  System issue.

When election process is over and members are elected, the take oath. After this, members of   Provincial Assemblies and National Assembly elect the Prime Minister of the country. The members also elect the members of Senate, where all provinces have equal representation. Every province ‘s Chief Minister is elected by the elected members of the provincial assemblies . Members of Provincial Assemblies, National Assembly and Senate members elect the President of the country.

You can see that the voters/people of the country haves only one time to cast their votes. They are totally ignored and put aside in other elections. Only Assemblies members are the king maker. The Prime Minister of the country  and Chief Minister of provinces depend on assemblies members. While electing Prime Minister and Chief Ministers of the provinces, they try to  grab more benefits. If one political party has majority in Assemblies, that party will elect his Prime Minister and Chief Ministers easily and has no difficulty to serve the nation. If no party has majority, then any party will offer ministries and posts to other parties and  a hung or collation government procreated which always  depend on allies. Allies have   many demands  which Government can not fulfill . The Government is forced compelled and ruling party can not work on promised agenda.In such situation, no development work is carried out. And if the Government has no previous experience, they change all set up of government and power is given to raw hands of the party and allies . The ministers are appointed on Prime Minister’s will . It does not matter if the minister does not have any knowledge of ministry work and  demand. A college professor can be appointed as Forest Minister.

The elected members of ruling party are given huge amount of money as “Development Grant”. A large portion of it goes to the pocket of member or it is spent in members’ electoral areas. This type of grant is a clear corruption to keep the members loyal with the government.

Local Bodies

Voters have a chance to elect the members of Local Bodies. Unfortunately, if  the ruling party  thinks that Local Bodies will strengthen their government, Local Bodies’ elections will be held, otherwise this issue will be pending for a unknown period of time. And if elections are held by chance, powers and grant is held to the local bodies.

Prime Minister and Chief Ministers appoint the ministers of different department as per their own choice. This action opens a door to  appoint any loyal person , no matter if he/she is  qualified or not for the post.

If we see deeply in Parliamentary system, it is clear that:

  1. People have only one chance to vote or elect their representatives  in 4 or 5 years. and have no share in Prime
    Minister, Chief Ministers , Senate Members and President
  2. The government in Parliamentary system is usually not “strong” or stable. and mostly depend on its allies.
  3. Chances of No Confidence and new election of Chief Ministers, Prime Minister are possible before end of their terms, and government can not deliver or carry out their agenda.
  4. The  participation of people in all elections  is just for one
    time only.
  5. In Parliamentary system , government expenses are doubled for nothing. In this system, nation has to bear the expenditures of President, Governors’ staff and offices beside Prime Minister and Chief Ministers’ office and staff.

To be continued

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