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Which political and electrical types can function better in democratic systems?

Abdulla HawezAbdulla Hawez

There is a heated debate in Kurdistan now about what political and electrical system to be assumed since a new, and first, constitution is in the making. Therefore, this topic is exceptionally useful and interesting for us in this period to be tackled. Although the quality of democracy is a long and an on going debate, but students of democracy have reached sophisticated conclusions based on the available democratic systems that could be useful for emerging democracies.

Constitution could be a very crucial element to having a successful democratic system; indeed it is the most important since it is related to the future of the system, economic functionality and the democracy itself. Scholars are divided over which type of democratic system: parliamentarianism, presidentialism or semipresidentialism, are healthier and more functional.

Parliamentarianism is the system that legislative institutions are powerful and prime minister, elected from the parliament, is the top executive instead of president. Here president has more of a ceremonial authority. Many scholars prefer this system because it is better representing crowds and powers are not concentrated in the hands of one person, president. Also, if the top executive becomes unpopular or violates constitution, it can be more easily toppled. Here there are two types of parliamentarianism, one of proportional representation, which is a multi party system, and majoritarian system, which two major parties compete. Both have advantage and disadvantages. Multi system representatives more diverse range of voters, but in this system government is usually a coalition of more than one party which in many cases proved not to be functioning well. In the other hand, majority system of two parties is less appealing in terms of representation but the government is more stable and functioning better although this might not always be the case.

Presidentialism has also it is advocators. Some scholars argue that this system is more functional and decisions can be made faster and it also represents the majority of the citizens same as parliamentarianism. They argue that although more parliamentarian systems have witnessed success, but presidentialism has more advantages and here they bring the example of South Korea and Nigeria not only the United States were most of the power concentrated on the hands of the chief executive. Furthermore, they argue that in parliamentarianism, system is more vulnerable to be paralyzed especially if the government formed by a coalition instead of one party.

There is also semipresidentialism, where power is divided between legislative and executive institutions. Many scholars favor this because it creates checks and balances between institutions. Since as Larry Diamond says democracy has contradictions such as conflict versus consensus, governability versus representativeness and consent versus effectiveness, I think as many scholars think semipresidentialism meet Daimond’s the three versus more than the two other types of system.

To sum up, democracy consists of increasing system options, but it is still debated, which one is better. Though parliamentarianism proved to be more parallel with democratic principles and a more successful system, as for Kurdistan, parliamentarianism or semipresidentialism seem to be more appealing because presidentialism tend to be more of polarizing than census especially in Kurdistan where people are already sharply, politically divided.

* This mini-essay written in late November 2013 as part of my weekly assignments at the University of Kurdistan Hewler.

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