Talk:Parliamentary system

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Question: Do any parliamentary countries on continental Europe have prime minister's questions like Britain? [[user|Dinopuentarians in Belgium have the right to question ministers (including the prime minister) on their policy issues. This is called "interpellations" if I recall correctly. The European Parliament has a similar system. Wouter Lievens 14:11, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)


I think there is something wierd with the second table showing the division of the UK's parlaiment. It says the House of Lords is the lower chamber and House of Commons the upper - which I think is backwards. Plus, the link on "House of Lords" goes to the page for British House of Commons! I didnt change it myself because im not entirely sure if its wrong. -Eric

Who put Scotland in the list of countries with a parliamentary system? OK yes the Scottish Executive is drawn from the Parliament, nonetheless Scotland isn't a sovereign state. It would like be like usin/]

--Masamax 06:46, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

You disagree that Scotland isn't a sovereign state or that it's system of a parliamentary one? The latter may technically apply but the former certainly does not.

I don't disagree that they are part of the United Kingdom, but comparing them to the State of California isn't correct, especially given the history of Scotland, which is why I think they are warrented on the list. --Masamax 20:47, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
That's nonsense. The Scottish Parliament is a legislature of a subnational entity, just like the legislatures of Flanders or California, yet those aren't mentioned either. The UK isn't even a federal state, so I can imagine that Scottish Parliament has even less responsibilities than those of federal states. Whatever history Scotland has (with which you may have a sentimental relation?) is irrelevant. Wouter Lievens 22:01, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

hetha marani t do people think of the notion that parliamentary systems have more issues oriented campaigns? Take the wife of a pm versus the wife of a president. A president's wife is all over the place, representing the country. The wife (or spouse) of a prime minister does what? What's her title even? Dinopup 22:03, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I wouldn't know the name of Belgium's prime minister's wife, or even wheter he has one. But I doubt that it's a general rule that can be attributed to parliamentary versus presidential systems. Rather, I think it's a difference between first-past-the-post and proportional representation: in FPTP (like the US), the representative is directly elected, making his/her personality a key election issue. In proportional systems, votes usually go to a party instead, thus making the issues more important than the politicians. As for Scotland, it either has to be removed, or the list has to contain each and every other parliamentary form in any federal are semi-federal country, which would mean the list would contain hundreds of entries. Scotland is just an arbitrary choice, I could add any of India's states, too, for that matter. Wouter Lievens 22:10, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The list says 'Countries with Parliamentary systems' and Scotland is a country. It has a parliament. I don't see what the problem is here. I would also like to point out that it's wrong to compare the state parliaments in a federal system to Scotland, given that Scotland is more than just a state in the united kingdom, it is a nation and country within a fairly unique union, which is why I think it deserves to remain, esspecially considering that there is a strong possibility this newly created parliament will have growing power in the years to come. --Masamax 11:35, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Just a quick additional point; one could argue that if Scotland doesn't deserve an entry on the list, why does Canada, or Australia? Aren't they simply vassal states of the monarchy? Of course, a statement like this totally misunderstands the situation of these countries, as does a statement comparing Scotland to a federal state. --Masamax 11:38, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
What the? Scotland isn't a country, as it does not have independence. It is not a sovereign state! If it were, it wouldn't have to be indented under United Kingdom, just as Ireland isn't indented under the Uk either. So either it's sovereign, or it's a subnational entity, but can't be both. Your 'fiarly unique union' is probably just some left-over romanticised POV paleonationalism. If you think it should be sovereign, found a party and get elected or something, but don't spread your POV on wikipedia. Canada and Australia are independent sovereign states, your comment is irrelevant. Wouter Lievens 12:00, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
From the Scotland article: "Scotland (Alba in Scottish Gaelic) is a country in northwest Europe, occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain. The nation shares a land border to the south with England and is bounded by the North Sea on the east and the Atlantic Ocean on the west."

So if we are going to go on semantics I am right, however barring that, I still think it deserves a mention. Scotland cannot simply be written off as a state within a federal entity, but a nation and country within the UK. The fact that you choose to ignore that the UK is a rather unique state kind of flusters me, since it ignores the facts, and your insulting tone doesn't need to be there either. Scotland uses a different legal system, different legal tender, and now has it's own parliament. I seriously doubt it will leave the UK, but it's place in the UK isn't merely that of a province. I am fine with having the entry indented under the UK. If you cannot come up with a better arguement than ignoring my points rather than responding to them then I will return the Scotland entry.--Masamax 00:50, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Using the definitions of 'country' common outside the UK, at least, Scotland's not a country; the UK's one (regardless of what you can quote from wherever else), so the current layout's odd and confusing, if it's not POV. Scotland's just a part of the UK. I think there's two options here that should satisfy both parties:
  • Change 'country' to something like 'indepedent states' and remove 'Scotland'; or
  • change 'country' to something like 'states' and add other parliaments.
(Any comparison between Scotland and Australia or Canada is flawed; the UK cannot legislate for the latter countries but has legislative powers over Scotland. In fact, the UK Parliament can legislate to fully incorporate Scotland (throwing away any uniqueness) if they want, and all the Scots can do is revolt. Anyway, the Queen of Australia basically said she didn't give a damn about us, and has rather different powers in comparison to the Q. of the UK...) Felix the Cassowary 02:40, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I guess I must disagree about the reasons for removing Scotland from the list. I fully believe it is worthy of a mention considering the history and relationship Scotland has with the UK. --Masamax 06:37, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting we remove it if you think its important enough to be there. Are there any objections to adding other non-independent parliaments? This makes it very easy to determine what the criteria for inclusion are. If you can find some other relevant, objective and unambiguous criteria that keeps the list as independent-states-and-Scotland (checkbox style things), then we could also use that. Felix the Cassowary 11:04, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)
If you feel for some reason that it is necessary to start adding subnational parliaments to this list, then so be it. I'll be glad to assist in adding all parliamentary legislatures (that would exclude the USA's state legislatures because these are not parliaments as they don't have a government formed from them) of other subnational entities. There is nothing more special about Scotland than for instance Flanders, which also has its parliament inside a federal state, with possible even more jurisdiction (there is no Belgian minister of Education, for instance). After all, we bothered to write a constitution, even a federal one at that :-) Wouter Lievens 11:25, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I just feel that Scotland as a whole is not comparable to other sub-national parliaments due to the history of the country and it's culture.
  • Own laws
  • Own Currency
  • Once had a national legislature by the same name
If you can find another subnational province/state/area that has as much domestic in different from the national with a parliament, I'd be glad to hear it.
Any subnational area with its own Parliament has, by definition, its own laws, but if you mean a separate legal tradition from the one around it, I believe Quebec counts. I'm not sure how Scotland has its own currency (it's just the pound sterling, isn't it, but printed by a different bank? with English notes/coins legal tender in Scotland?); in any case the subdvisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, being the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, used to have their actually own currency while being a federation. The Australian states and Canadian provinces had national legislatures prior to their federation and confederation that, in fact, continued afterwards (though as subnational legislatures now). Of course, the meaning of the word 'national' is somewhat arbitrary as the state of Victoria still has a national gallery. Many subnational areas also have an area that speaks a different language and comes from a radically different history from other parts, which is often why they're federations. Every subnational jurisdiction has elements that make them stand out as Unique and Special. "We're all unique." Felix the Cassowary 28 June 2005 10:18 (UTC)
Flanders and Wallonia each have a different language, far more different than Scottish and English may be. Wouter Lievens 28 June 2005 13:06 (UTC)
From a legal point of view, Scotland is a country, however it is not a sovereign state, and has not been since the Act of the Union in 1707. Scotland is not a sovereign state because of Dicey's theory of Parliamentary sovereignty; the parliament in Westminster is the supreme law making body. Scotland's legislature is subordinate to Westminster. That it is not a sovereign state does not change the fact that it is a separate country however (and let's not forget that Scotland's legislature is of fairly recent invention anyway). It has its own line of monarchs, which through a quirk of history had a union of crowns, leaving the monarch of England and Scotland the same. This happened before the union of governments. As for legal tradition, that is irrelevant because the UK's privy council hears cases from all over the world. Until 2004 it heard cases from New Zealand, and nobody doubts that that is a separate country. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:26, 15 January 2008 (UTC)


I've completely reorganized this article to better meet Wikipedia standards. --Masamax 08:23, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Appointment and Parliamentary systems[edit]

From the article:

The United States had an appointed upper house, the United States Senate which is now elected, something many parlimentary states are looking at emulating.

This makes it sound like an American innovation and that it has been lacking in parliamentary systems. It is/has not.[1] The US Senate was not elected until 1913, whereas the Australian Senate (a parliamentary system) has been required to be directly elected from the get-go with the 1900 constitution. Furthermore Victoria (then a British Australasian colony), at least, has had a fully-elected upper house since the 1855 constitution. (The earlier Legislative Council of Victoria was (I think) two-thirds elected but unicameral; I believe the NSW Legislative Council was also two-thirds elected and may or may not have been bicameral at the time.)

[1]: It might be that fully-elected upper houses existed earlier in American states or other presidential systems, I don't know, but clearly if the US Senate (the prime example of presidential systems) was elected after the Australian Senate, non-elected upper houses are not a problem per se of Parliamentary systems; rather, if there's any problem with them, it should be discussed in more appropriate articles that specifically deal with appointment methods to legislatures. IOW, the issue of elected vs appointed vs heritary upper houses is independent of parliamentary vs presidential systems.

Unless anyone can shortly provide a convincing reason why it is not, I'll remove this as a disadvantage. Felix the Cassowary 03:37, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I agree with your criticisms. The section about non-elected upper houses should be removed (I didn't write the problem section).
There should be a section in the advantages/disadvantages section about stability. Some parliamentary systems (French Fourth Republic, Italy, Wiemar, Israel) have been unstable. Other parliamentary systems, like Japan, are perhaps overly dominated by a single party. Dinopup 14:14, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Again, that's not parliamentary systems per se. The first is proportional elections to the body which controls the executive. As the start of the article says, that's not the result/fault of parliamentary systems. Do you want a stable parliamentary system? Encourage a winner-takes-more-than-half system as in the UK (FPTP) or Australia (IRV). As for the second, that's a cultural thing. I nominate removing them unless someone can provide a convincing reason why they shouldn't be. Felix the Cassowary 08:55, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Eh? Do you have anything to support the incredibly strong claim that FPTP (or similar) is more "stable" than PR? Wouter Lievens 08:59, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
For clarification it might help that by PR I was referring to the PR systems used by the French Forth & Weimar republics rather than the AMS and PR-STV systems in popular use today, because they afford greater stability. I thought in the context it was clear; apologies if it wasn't. Felix the Cassowary 15:57, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
So you're talking about 40 year old and 70 year old regimes? Why is that relevant for today? Many countries (including Belgium and the Netherlands) use D'Hondt or Imperiali PR and their governments are "stable", whatever that may mean. I'm inclined to believe that the "stability" argument stems mostly from US/UK-oriented chauvinism. Wouter Lievens 12:03, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The arguement is that due to the lack of seperation of power between the legislative and executive, it can be fairly easy in a weak democratic system for the Prime Minister (or equivalent) to take power. I can't see how this can be refuted given the historical data. Ironically, Parlimentary systems failure often comes from the overpowering strength of the executive, while Presidential systems often fail due to the lack of power by the executive (i.e. military coup), so weak democracies are pretty much screwed either way. I still think it's a good contribution. --Masamax 09:10, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Given your two comments perhaps I misunderstand what is meant by 'parliamentary systems ... have been unstable'. I was thinking of the stability of the government/administration; are you talking about the stability of the constitution/regime? Felix the Cassowary 10:44, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I think it can be both. Because of the ease at which many parliamentary democracies can go to the polls, governments aren't necessarily that stable either, whether represented by FPTP or PR. --Masamax 14:25, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
So then you're talking about fixed terms vs flexible ones? Put it in that article, then. You can have fixed-in-practice parliamentary terms. You can have variable presidential terms (even if in practice you never get them). (Incidentally, if it's only due to the ease they can go to the polls, then that's hardly going to cause significant instability ... what government is going to go to the polls early if it knows it's going to lose? ... The system ends up looking like a fixed-term environment.) Felix the Cassowary 15:57, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I still think it can be both. I've lost sight of exactly what you want changed, so if you disagree I suggest you change it, and if we disagree we'll make another section about it. --Masamax 01:50, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Someone else has edited the article. I'm quite happy with it now. Felix the Cassowary 28 June 2005 06:53 (UTC)
Agreed on the last point. In any case, I wrote that when I reorganized it, but I realize now it is only valid in certain parliamentary systems, not all of them.--Masamax 06:04, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I got rid of the non-germane bit about upper houses and expanded the disadvantages section.
I personally believe that parliamentary systems have more issues oriented campaigns than presidential systems. I've read stuff by journalists saying the same thing. I want to put in content about issues oriented campaigning, but I want to have political scientists backing up the claims. Are you aware of any literature on this subject? Bagehot said that parliamentary systems educate teh public, but he was not referring to campaigning. Dinopup 22:00, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Once I go back to school in the fall I will try to work this in... See if I can ask some of my professors about it. I'm only going into second year in my BA though, so my knowledge on that exact subject is rather low. --Masamax 08:40, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Another major criticism comes from the relationship between the executive and legislative branches. Because there is a lack of obvious separation of power, some believe that a parliamentary system can place too much power in the executive entity, leading to the feeling that the legislature or judiciary have little scope to administer checks or balances on the executive.

This is certainly not the case in Norway where parliament sometimes overrule the executive on the tiniest details Fornadan (t) 13:13, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

Third Parties[edit]

"Parliamentarism also gives an advantage to third parties, as they can form coalitions with other parties to gain power. . . . "

I think the above section should be deleted. Wikipedia should not conflate PR and parliamentarism. If parliamentarism and multi-party politics do go together, it should be explained how, and the author of the above section fails to do so. Dinopup 14:39, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

I agree. I added a disclaimer to it rather than deleting it because I've been inappropriately accused of being a deletionist, but I'd be happy to see it go. — Felix the Cassowary 23:20, 30 August 2005 (UTC)
I just reverted the page back to Cassowary's version; it seems people would rather just unilaterally change the page rather than discuss it civilly. So, since Cassowary was the last one to put anything here, I figured his statement had the most support. Supressing content is usually not NPOV. Peyna 16:43:44, 2005-08-31 (UTC)
Sorry, that'd be me. Didn't know this was such an issue. It's plain to me that the parliamentary system has benefits to 3rd parties. Why not mention this where appropriate? I consider it the chief benefit of the parliamentary system.
The reason third parties appear to thrive in parliamentary systems is that most parliamentary systems use proportional representation. If third parties exist in non-PR nations (the UK and Canada), it is because their traditions of extremely tight party discipline cause discontent to be channeled into the creation of alternative parties, rather than in intra-party disputes as in the US (in the US discontent with a party is resolved through primaries). Third parties in the UK and Canada are often local parties anyway.
Virtually every country in Latin America is presidential, yet they have more than two parties. The reason is PR.
Australia is parliamentary, yet they have two parties (the National-Liberals are practically a single party).Dinopup 19:13, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
Australia only has two parties likely to win lower house seats and therefore get in the executive, because our lower house is non-proprotional, but we have a few more parties in our proportionally-elected upper house. That only emphasise what your point, of course. We also have about the strongest party discipline you could possibly imagine; it actually makes the British system look weak! — Felix the Cassowary 22:47, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

IMHO, this article is way too academic for the wikipedia (I'll betcha anything it was written by a graduate student). The problem here is that this quibbling article as it stands now makes too many narrow, academic definitions. Maybe it's time to take this out of PhD land and let a little sunshine in.

I added many of the quotations to this article. I have read all these poli-sci books on my own. I have never been a grad student in political science.Dinopup 19:13, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
Please review the Wikipedia policy on no_original_research. Peyna 20:19:33, 2005-08-31 (UTC)


Any reason Parliamentary redirects to Parliament instead of here? I ran into the problem looking for information parliamentary systems and when I was sent to Parliament thought maybe the page didn't exist at all.

Or perhaps add this to the disambig page for Parliament. Peyna 19:14:44, 2005-08-29 (UTC)

parliamentary system is parties in coalition with each other?![edit]

Is there any need for this paragraph to be in the article? Who believes this exactly?! Is this supposed to be the "layman's" view of what a parliamentary system is? Lapafrax 16:57, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

I've seen many well-informed Americans conflate parliamentarism and proportional representation. I can recall a conversation in 2000 between Pat Buchanan and Jon Stewart where Stewart asked about Buchanan's suggestion of coalition government "so it sounds like you're calling for America to become a parliamentary system?" Buchanon answered something like "I guess so."
I've also seen Ralph Nader say things like "we need to be more parliamentary" in the context of calling for providing more room for third parties.
In college I had a prof who confused parliameIn Fixing Elections Steven Hill cites professors who have been on tv with him who confuse parliamentarism and proportional representation. I had an international relations prof at the University of Chicago who confused the two as well.
Someone here on wikipedia wrote a section for this article where he said that one strength of parliamentarism was that it allowed third party viability.

Dinopup 18:08, 3 October 2005 (UTC)


Didn't the UK have a Lib-Lab pact in the 1970s? Why should that be counted as a coalition govt? Dinopup 02:21, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

I'm not sure if the Liberal party had any seats on the Cabinet or in any junior ministerial positions. So in that sense, I don't think it was a true coalition government.
Maybe the Liberals simply were added to the Labour Whip, so that Labour would have possessed a Commons' majority in terms of voting on legislation. Lapafrax 10:00, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

law under parlimentary system[edit]

It seems there should be more direct comparison of parlimentary system with other governments, such as how laws are introduced and passed.

How legislation is introduced differs even within parliamentary systems. The procedure for introducing laws in the UK isn't the same as in Germany, even though both countries have parliamentary systems of government. Lapafrax 23:57, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

"In addition, the executive can often dissolve the parliament and call extra-ordinary elections."[edit]

More emphasis should be put on the "often" here. The rest of the article seems to assume that this is inherent in all parliamentary systems. Actually they are (at least theoretically) unrelated concepts. In Norway, an otherwise quite typical example of a parliamentary system, there is no rule allowing any elections outside the 4-year schedule, and no precedent to allow adjustments to this schedule any way. It's also concivable that a presidental system could allow either the president or parliament to dissolve the parliament and call extra-ordinary elections. Hence, the criticism of parliamentarianism based on this is invalid. 22:56, 13 October 2005 (UTC)Kjetil R


The definition of parliamentarism is rather simple. We can talk about direct(Positive) parliamentarism or indirect(negative) parliamentarism. Other features such as the party system or electoral process is irrelevant to the fundamental definition. By direct parliamentarism, the government is originated from and approved by the parliament. In an indirect parliamentarian system the government can be chosen by an incumbent prime minister or chairman of the parliament. The government can thereafter be inaugurated without a formal approval by the parliament. he government is considered to have the support of the parliament as long as a majority does not show disapproval with the government. The distribution of power between the government and parliament is not significant to the basic definition of a parliamentarian system. As long as the relation between the executive and legislature is defined as parliamentarian, the powers of the political entity is insignificant. A parliamentarian system can be found in non-democratic systems as well, because of the importance of free elections to define the democratic relevance of a parliamentarian system, non-democratic systems should not be defined as truly parliamentarian.


I guess that, in your second category ("indirect parliamentarism"), the most common arrangement is actually for the Head of State (monarch or president) to appoint a prime minister and, then, appoint all other government of ministers on proposal of the latter. That is what happens both in the UK (where the power to appoint the government rests with the Queen) and in the France (where it is the President of the Republic who appoints the Council of Ministers). In Germany, the Federal President also appoints all other federal ministers on the recommendation of the chancellor, but the chancellor him/herself is actually elected by the Bundestag, thus making Germany fall into your proposed "direct parliamentarism" category instead.

List/Map of Parliamentary systems[edit]

The list of parliamentary systems and the map right next to it don't match. For example, Austria and South Africa are on the list but are marked as semi-presidential on the map, while other semi-presdiential states (ie France) aren't in the list. I'm not sure if these are just errors or if two different standards are being used, but in any case this is confusing and should be fixed. Ddye 19:45, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

The reason why Austria is labelled as a parliamentarian system and not Semi-Presidential like France, is due to the authority of the president. Both countries have a directly elected president and a cabinet derived from and accountabel to the parliament. The french president has got more extensive powwers and is more actively involved in the executive work of the government, which is not the case in ustria. This is also why Ireland and Finland also should be labelled as parliamentarian systems. Since these countries do have a popularly elected president, one could say that they mark a combination of a Semi-Presidential and a parliamentarian system. I would further like to dispute South Africa as a parliamentarian system. In one way it is since the president is elected by the parliament, and therefore corresponds to the majority of the house. The system does on the other hand has more similarities to a presidential system. This mainly because the president is elected for a fixed term, and is not directly accountable to the parliament, which is the most essential of a parliamentarian system. The president also functions both as head of state and head of government , which is more commonly found in presidential systems.

Also, the caption under the map of parliamentary systems contained the sentence "The five green states have unified executive presidencies, but distinct parliamentary characteristics to their systems of government." Since there are no green states on the map, I removed that sentence. PubliusFL 08:32, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

I think the map should also display the green states along with orange/red since they have both parliamentary and presidential features. The South African parliament can, for example, remove the president through a non-confidence motion, is elected from among the members of the Parliament, and all Cabinet ministers come from the Parliament. I'd say it's Parliamentary with Presidential features, as opposed to Presidential with Parliamentary features. Perhaps it should be put to a vote?Paj.meister 18:13, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Nepal is market in RED, where as the monarchy is now abolished by its parliment... could you please provide me a update on this....--Narendran (talk) 09:41, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Variations in Parliamentary Systems[edit]

I believe the Wikipedia article is too much focused on British-style parliamentarism. In reality though, the parliamentary system varies greatly across different countries. Take for example the case of Germany. Leaving aside the important issue of federalism, one could be tempted to imagine at first sight that the German system of government is simply a republican version of the British system, with a ceremonial head of state (the Bundespräsident) and a head of government (the Bundeskanzler) accountable to the elected legislature (the Bundestag). However, that is far from the truth. Briefly, let's examine the differences:

  • In the UK, Parliament may be dissolved at any time on a request of the Prime Minister to the Queen. In Germany, however, the Federal President normally lacks the power to dissolve the Bundestag unless the Chancellor voluntary asks the Bundestag for a vote of confidence and a majority of members refuses to support the Chancellor's motion. In that case, a dissolution would be possible, but, still, if and only if the Bundestag failed to elect a new Chancellor by majority vote within 21 days. As a result, dissolutions are quite rare in Germany, having happened only 4 times in the history of the Federal Republic.
  • In the UK, the Prime Minister may be forced to resign or advise the monarch to call a fresh election on a parliamentary vote of no confidence that can be passed by simple majority at any time. In Germany, however, the Bundestag can only express its lack of confidence in the Chancellor on its own initiative via a constructive motion of censure, which requires that the Bundestag simultaneously elect a new Chancellor by an absolute majority (50 % + 1) of its members.
  • In the UK, the power to appoint the Prime Minister rests with the Queen although, by constitutional convention, she is normally bound to appoint as PM the leader of the party with the most seats in the House of Commons. In Germany on the other hand, the Chancellor is actually elected by a majority of the members of the Bundestag, albeit upon proposal of the Federal President when following a general election. That difference may not be very important in practice, but it is extremely important in concept to understand the different philosophical underpinnings of the two systems.

Finally, I should also point out that, contrary to the UK, in many parliamentary systems, members of the government are not allowed to hold a seat and vote in Parliament, although they are normally entitled to introduce legislation and participate in parliamentary debates. That "separation of powers" within a parliamentary system exists not only in France (a semi-presidential country), but also in parliamentary monarchies like the Netherlands.


The following discussion was copied from Image talk:Form of government parliamentary.png. Feel free to add more below "Copied discussion ends here". Tamino 07:35, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Very nice map, but Finland ought to be in orange (elected President but Parliamentary system). Tamino 08:36, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

While the Finnish president is in most matters pretty similar in authority to various elected ceremonial presidents (Ireland, Portugal, Austria and so on), my understanding of the Finnish constitution is that it's very closely based on the French Fifth Republic and that she is still a somewhat active political rather than a purely ceremonial figure. That's what gets it listed under Semi-presidential system (not my doing) here at Wikipedia, and why I stuck with disqualifying it from "pure" parliamentarism. The Tom 02:01, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

It's true that the Finnish President has more than ceremonial powers (essentially the President conducts foreign policy in cooperation with the Government), but the Constitution of 2000 greatly reduced the President's powers from what they were before. Evidently some wires have got crossed if Finland is listed under Semi-presidential system, because it is listed as a Parliamentary system in that article. Perhaps there should be a note to that effect in the Parliamentary system article, and/or someone could define how ceremonial a President has to be in a Parliamentary system. Tamino 07:12, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Let me just add that it's really retarded; nominally, the Austrian president has *more* power than the French one, he just chooses (by tradition) never to use it... So what do we go with? The nominal semi-presidential system, or the factual parliamentary one? And where do we draw the line? —Nightstallion (?) 09:22, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, unwritten convention can certainly be as powerful or more powerful than any written component of a constitution. I think most people agree on that point. The problem for any encyclopedia is that it's a lot harder to verifiably say what unwritten conventions are and then cite them unambiguously. This gives written law an unfortunate leg-up over convention when it comes to Wikipedia, something that I think we should endeavour to counteract.
If we were to take a 100% letter-of-the-law view of classifying states by government, then there'd be a lot of orange states turned yellow (Ireland, Austria and a few others), and a quite a few red states turned pink—for example, the British monarch could quite legally become an active executive player in the affairs of the UK or Canada tomorrow if she wanted to (even in the latter case through a violation of the Statute of Westminster, which is after all, in legal terms, an expression of the crown's whim). But we know such behaviour is safeguarded by convention and would certainly prompt a constitutional crisis. So obviously we can't assign colours to states based purely on written constitutional law and expect a map at the end of the exercise that in any way corresponds to the way things actually work. By factoring in unwritten law you get much closer, the only question is figuring out what the extent of those unwritten rules are and whether, for instance, they justify shifting Finland into orange akin to Austria.
Anyway, a worthwile debate to have—perhaps if we wish to continue it it might be worth moving to one of the article talk pages? I'd rather have the article clarified first and the image follow on from it rather than vice versa. The Tom 05:27, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Criticisms of parliamentarism[edit]

I have a bone to pick with this segment. Yes, some British PM's have been "presidential" in nature. Nonetheless this isn't a fault of a parliamentary system. The powers of the British PM are largely based upon constitutional convention and aren't written into statute. This is why some PM's have got away with being "presidential". In other parliamentary systems, the tendency for the head of the executive branch to wield too much power is lessened because virtually all other parliamentary systems have codified constitutions. --Lapafrax 15:05, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

I have a problem with "A main criticism of many parliamentary systems is that the head of government cannot be directly voted on. Occasionally, an electorate will be surprised just by who is elevated to the premiership. In a presidential system, the president is directly chosen by the people, or by a set of electors directly chosen by the people, but in a parliamentary system the prime minister is elected by the party leadership." Firstly, the head of government can be voted on (as historically in Israel), the Prime Minister is not elected only by party leadership, but by the legislature. As a result " a set of electors directly chosen by the people" as a potential advantage of Presidentialism (as it implies) does not make sense, since that is also true of Parliamentarsim.
I've changed it to "A main criticism of many parliamentary systems is that the head of government is in almost all cases not directly voted on. Occasionally, an electorate will be surprised just by who is elevated to the premiership. In a presidential system, the president is usually directly chosen directly by the electorate, or by a set of electors directly chosen by the people, separate from the legislature. However, in a parliamentary system the prime minister is elected by the legislature, often under the strong influence of the party leadership."
I think that's a tad more accurate. Paj.meister 19:46, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Actually, both versions are inaccurate or, only partially true. First of all, prime ministers in parliamentary systems may be elected by the legislature (as it is the case for example in Germany), or may be instead appointed directly by the Head of State or his/her surrogate without a formal parliamentary vote (as it is the case in the United Kingdom and many other Commonwealth realms, e.g. Australia, Canada and New Zealand). Therefore, the claim that the "the prime minister is elected by the legislature" is valid only in some countries.
Second, although it is true that "occasionally, an electorate may be surprised just by who is elevated to the premiership", that tends to happen only in countries with very fragmented political party systems where proportional representation is used to elect MPs. In Britain and other Commonwealth countries like Canada, there is a tendency to a "de facto" two-party system, i.e. there are only two parties with real possibilities of forming the government, even though other smaller parties may be also represented in Parliament. Within that framework, the national leaders of the two main parties (e.g. Conservative and Labour in the UK, or Conservative and Liberal in Canada) as well as the leaders of the smaller parties (like the Lib-Dems in the UK or the NDP in Canada) are usually elected by the party membership well before a general parliamentary election is called and, when the general election is held, voters know unambiguously who the party leaders are to the point that voters often see a local vote for a candidate of a given party in a certain district as an indirect vote for that party's respective leader to become PM. Since under the FPTP system the winning party in a general election in the UK or Canada usually gets a majority (or, at least, a sizeable plurality) of the seats in the Lower House and the party leaders are explicitly known to the electorate and the nation at large, there is little ambiguity as to who the Queen (or the Governor General in the case of Canada) will invite to be the next Prime Minister following an election, making a "surprise premiership" improbable.
In fact, even in countries where a mixed system of constituency and proportional representation vote is used, e.g. Germany , political parties usually indicate to the electorate who their "candidates" for prime minister (or "chancellor" in Germany's case) are, and should a given party become the dominant force in a multiparty coalition (e.g. CDU/CSU/FDP or SDP/Grüne), there is again little surprise or ambiguity with respect to who is to be elected prime minister by the legislature. (talk) 16:17, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
The bone I have to pick with it is that it doesn't explain why it is necessarily a bad thing that the head of government is not directly voted on. It just assumes the reader will agree that it's a downside (and I don't agree, since the head of government is usually far less powerful than in a presidential republic). In this form I don't think the paragraph is a valid criticism at all, IMHO either an explanation should be added why it is always disadvantage of the parliamentary system that the head of government is not elected directly, or it should be removed. Captain Chaos (talk) 15:52, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Is it appropriate that someone added Canada to the list of unstable parliaments? Canada up until this past election had a very stable parliament. But now the pundits are saying that Canada will be moving towards more minority governments now. Also, the coalition crisis that Canada is embroiled in currently, does not reflect the Canadian Parliament's past performance. (talk) 00:22, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Parliamentarianism and party formation[edit]

I have another bone to pick with this one. Political parties in parliamentary systems are also a "coalition" of thought. Take the British Conservative Party. The primary factions in it are One Nation Conservatives, Thatcherites and Tebbit-esque social conservatives. Despite these differences, the party is in no danger of splintering. All a political party needs to maintain cohesion is a single and commonly accepted ideology. It's therefore false to state that a parliamentary system would lead to more uniform and homogenous political parties. Lapafrax 21:23, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

True, there are differences of opinion within parties in parliamentary systems, but those differences of opinion tend to be narrower in parliamentary parties than in presidential parties. The Phillippines is notorious for having non-ideological parties. Parties there tend to just be organized around the personality of the leader (who, often, is just a celebrity). Canada is a good example of tight ideological cohension within parliamentary parties, you've seen a lot of ideological splintering there in the past few decades.
I'm not making this claim about ideological cohesion on my own authority. It comes from Seymour Martin Lipset.Dinopup 15:19, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

QUESTION: Serbia seems to be painted orange in the map, however, do no appear in the list at the end of the article. Is it classified as parlamentarian system or not? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Nimrod88 (talkcontribs) June 27, 2006 (UTC)

This entire section seems wrong. It is unencyclopedic, has no verifiable facts or quotes and the effects it describes are more related in multi party systems, which is not necessarily the same as parliamentarianism. I propose deletion. Carewolf 13:14, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Wrong Picture[edit]

According to the caption, red= constitutional monarchies, orange= republics. So how come America and Great Britain are coloured the same? Thanks, Nebkheperure

The United States isn't coloured at all - it is grey. That is Canada in red above it. - David Oberst 18:00, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

- - - - -

Again, the picture needs updating - as of a month ago, Nepal is no longer a monarchy at all, but a federal democratic republic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:55, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

South Africa[edit]

Should South Africa really be on the list? It isn't a parliamentary system in the classic sense, since there is no ceremonial head of state nor a solely executive head of government and cabinet dependent on the legislature's support. Lapafrax 19:43, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

What would it be classified as, then? And what's up with the "we dare you" thing about green in the main picture? That seems...unusual to me.

I agree with concerns about South Africa's inclusion among parliamentary governments. Shouldn't it really be classified under semi-presidential systems, since the head of state is executive? Also, by being the head of government as well, South Africa's President resides outside Parliament whereas parliamentary heads of government are always based within it. Wcp07 (talk) 22:34, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Parliamentarianism and regular elections?[edit]

Although Walter Bagehot praised parliamentarianism for allowing an election to take place at any time, the lack of a definite election calendar can be abused.

How is this related to parliamentarism? E.g. Finland is mentioned here as a country with regular elections, and at the same time parliamentary. clacke 18:10, 2 November 2006 (UTC)


I don't see why Oslo is singled out as an example of local parliamentarism. Its council and government don't seem any different from how other Scandinavian cities and municipalities are governed. In fact (wild guess here), it seems probable that local governments would mimic the structure of the layers above, coming from the same legal tradition. Any insights on this? clacke 20:26, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

In Norway, Oslo and Bergen uses a parliamentary system, unlike all other municipalites. In the parliamentary system, they have a executive group which run the city; in other cities, it is the council, with all parties that run the city.

Australian System[edit]

The article stated that Australia uses a system of proportional representation. This is a blatant falacy. Australia does, and has always used a system of Preferential Voting system, which results in outcomes similar to a FPP system.

Lack of checks and balances???[edit]

The article begins with this passage:

"A parliamentary system, also known as parliamentarianism (and parliamentarism in U.S. English), is distinguished by the executive branch of government being dependent on the direct or indirect support of the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. Hence, there is no clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches, leading to a lack of the checks and balances found in a presidential republic."

Funny, I was just thinking how the governmental system of the U.S. (where I live) lacks the "vote of confidence" / "vote of no confidence" that exists in many other industrialized nations and enables a very strong "check" to occur at a time when the chief of state demonstrates massive incompetence and/or usurp powers that the chief of state is not endowed with.

Conclusion: The passage that begins the article contains an indisputable point of view, precisely of the kind that should not be found in an encyclopedia article, and it should therefore be deleted. (Or perhaps replaced by a statement saying that some people feel the tradition of the confidence/no-confidence vote decreases the government's checks and balances . . . but others feel that it increases them.) Daqu 11:11, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

I would add that "there is no clear-cut separation of powers" is also wholly inaccurate, at least as regards the British parliamentary system. -- 23:54, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Defective image explanation[edit]

The caption for the image neglects to explain what the green countries mean. 18:29, 17 March 2007 (UTC) GOD SAVE THE QUEEN HEE HEE HEE


Norway does not use the unicameral system, we have 2 houses, "Lagting" and "Odelsting" I suggest you remove it, or I will. T.Stokke 23:53, 31 March 2007 (UTC)give more information and techniques where people can get help from in order to understand the political statics you give on the issue

Weimar Germany and France's V. Republic[edit]

Why is Weimar Germany a parliamentary system and France a hybrid model? They have both the same features: In both systems the president appoints the prime minister. I would argue that Weimar Germany is even more "presidential" because the president could even dismiss the chancellor. Also, Duverger argues that they are both semi-presidential systems. I would wether include both in the articel and argue that they are parlamentary (vote of confidence in both systems) or remove Weimar Germany from the article. (sorry for my English)


Why isnt the palestinian national authority on here? They have a Parliamentary system. It may be a bit corrupted but it is still a legitimate system. At first I thought it was because it was not "an official UN country". However, I notice Kurdistan Region is on there. And that is FARRRR from a country.

Anyway just a thought. I can add it but i am not a huge contributor so wanted to make sure there was no real reason as to why. jnusaira —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:00, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

True, no reason why not... so it got added in now plus that of Samoa. That-Vela-Fella 07:07, 17 September 2007 (UTC)


Just to clarify some of the details, that many of us are not aware of and assume.

Example: Mr. McGuinty's "Majority Win" in Ontario 2007.

He wins a majority of seasts, ie 70 out of 103, with only 40% of the vote. (this is because of first past the post voting system)

People vote for only the local member who is normally part of the party, and the leader wins. People cannot vote directly for the party leader, because they only get one vote.

However, in a majority government the party leader gets all the power, through 'party whips' and 'party discipline'.

This should hopefully show some of the flaws of the parliamentary system, that dates back to the colonial days of Canada.

The system is not like that used in Municipal elections, where we vote directly for the Mayor and city council, and they all each get a single vote.

Hopefully this might clear up some of the details.

--Caesar J. B. Squitti  : Son of Maryann Rosso and Arthur Natale Squitti 21:07, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

You are absolutely and completely right. It's also nothing to do with the parliamentary system, it's about First past the post. DJ Clayworth (talk) 21:04, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Types of parliamentary systems[edit]

This has been bugging me for ages ever since I first saw the article, but I never thought of tagging it until now.

The whole section contrasting the Westminster and non-Westminster parliamentary system smacks of complete original research. Shape of chamber related to type? Greater separation of powers in Westminsters? These are pretty significant claims that I've rarely heard of outside of this article. I don't really doubt the validity, but it definitely needs some citations.

I should also point out that Australia, New Zealand and Éire have keyhole-shaped chambers... ... ;-) Kelvinc (talk) 01:23, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

I believe Parliamentary in Japan has a house of Representatives and a house of Councillors, not a house of Lords and a house of Commons! Hungachisy (talk) 00:13, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I say the Kurdistan region should be taken off the list seeing as it is non-existent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:57, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

That section is indeed decidedly dodgy. I sense the hand of an 'our system is the best' nationalist. Some points to note: 1. Grouping all non-Westminster systems together as the 'Western European Parliamentary Model' sounds like a crude generalization to me. There are significant differences between those systems (no two are the same if you ask me). 2. adversarial vs. consensual debating styles - not such a clear distinction, though I understand that the shape of the chamber might make it look like that (parties being seated next to, rather than opposite each other - there are many exceptions to this as well though). 3. 'Party list' does not necessarily mean you cannot vote for a named candidate. As far as I'm aware in most western European countries they use open party lists, i.e. candidates are listed according to party affiliation, but you can still vote for whichever individual candidate you want. 4. Regarding the separation of powers; it's exactly the other way around, isn't it? Westminster system: legislature & executive (at least partly) overlap - therefore at best a very weak separation of powers. My politics professor tells me that this, combined with a more general toothlessness of the UK parliament, has led to the UK often being regarded internationally as a somewhat flawed democracy. Vlaflipje1982 (talk) 13:06, 19 October 2008 (UTC)


I don't really see how the last paragraph under criticisms makes a serious objection to parliamentarianism. If there is a politician whom the majority of the country want as prime minister but cannot get elected in a particular electorate, then there's nothing stopping that politician from being pre-selected for a seat where they can get elected to parliament. Indeed, if there were such a person who had such support from voters, it's unlikely that his/her party would neglect to get them pre-selected into a safe seat straightaway, in order to maximise the party's chances of winning at the next election (Australia's former PM Bob Hawke is a good example of this happening). I've tagged the section as original research as that's what it's coming across as. Unless someone can elaborate on why this is a problem, I think the objection should be deleted.Wikischolar1983 (talk) 14:02, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

In addition, the criticism misses the point about parliaments and heads of government: MPs are elected firstly to represent their electorate's constituents, not the country as a whole. The Prime Minister is therefore responsible only for his/her electorate and does not need a separate national election to have a mandate - that his/her party holds the majority of seats in parliament is his/her mandate to govern. The role of the statesman who represents the country as a whole goes to the non-executive (and generally non-partisan) head of state. I've changed the final paragraph to reflect these points as a result. As I've mentioned earlier, anyone is free to illuminate me on these points but I just don't see them as serious criticisms of parliamentary systems.Wikischolar1983 (talk) 02:33, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

American English[edit]

The opening sentence claims that the system is called "parliamentarianism" in american english. I've never heard this term used. Do we have any sources that claim this? --Kraftlos (talk) 08:49, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

You need to clarify precisely what you mean here. The comment about American English relates to parliamentarism, not parliamentarianism. Which word do you doubt? The former is not in an American English dictionary I've checked but I'm not American. The latter is a term I'm familiar with here in the UK but oddly enough one of the two British dictionaries I checked does not feature it - maybe it counts as a derived form of parliamentarian? Google reveals both terms to be in use, 56,700 hits on parliamentarianism and 90,000 on parliamentarism.
I'd strongly suggest keeping the article in its current form in this regard. The Manual of Style suggests that where a topic is closely associated with a particular nation that country's spellings are used. This isn't the case in this article in respect of a single country, but clearly the US does not have a parliamentary system and of the English-speaking countries with parliamentary systems, most use British spellings on the whole - Canada is a half-exception but I don't know which term they use.
But then again, I'm an Englishman so you could say that I would say that. CrispMuncher (talk) 18:11, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Sorry I mistyped. I'm talking about this comment:

A parliamentary system, also known as parliamentarianism (and parliamentarism in American English){{Fact|date=August 2008}}, is a system of government in which the executive is dependent on the direct or indirect support of the legislature (often termed the parliament), often expressed through a vote of confidence.

I'm just saying that the UK form of the word is the only one that I've heard; this might be because I listen to BBC radio. I just checked and Webster's dictionary only has "parliamentarism" in the unabridged version, American Heritage and don't have the word at all. I'm thinking this might be an older form that has fallen out of favor. It looks like it was removed, so the current revision looks fine to me. --kraftlos (talk) 21:50, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Changes as of 27/10[edit]

I don't understand why my edits were reverted on 27/10. My edit of the line "In other systems, such as the Dutch and the Belgian, the ruling party or coalition has some flexibility in determining the election date" is uncontroversial as most parliamentary systems have this power, not just the Dutch and Belgian systems. On this point, I know that this is the case with the Australian and British systems, and I would also hazard a guess for the Canadian and New Zealand systems. Fixed parliamentary elections appear to be a rarity.

My second edit was even less controversial - the final paragraph is worded awkwardly and I took out some unnecessary words to make it flow better. If you do believe I've changed the meaning, please enlighten me as to how this is so. Wcp07 (talk) 04:31, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I did this because you did subtly change meanings. To take your changes in order, countries with a completely free choice of when to go to the polls was dealt with earlier in that paragraph. This isn't what is being asserted for the Dutch and Belgian Parliaments. I don't know about the Dutch system but my understanding is that there is a presumption in the Belgian constitution that a parliament will run to term. I'm not expert on the area and don't know precisely when the elections may be held early, but most parliaments run to term, in contrast to e.g. the United Kingdom where is is fairly unusual for a full five year term between elections. Your modification brushes this detail aside. Secondly it adds a further assertion, that this simplified view is the case for "most parliamentary systems", and you went out of your way to assert it. That could really do with a cite if it really is true. Normally I would let that one go but coupled with the issue I've already raised it created the impression of an assertion being made without proper consideration.
Regarding the second paragraph, the minor tweaking doesn't really add anything or take anything away. After your revision it was certainly more minimalistic but relied on some fairly unusual grammatical constructs. I was expecting another clause at the end of the "...generally non-executive and non-partisan" sentence which wasn't there - the sentence needs a second pass to parse correctly. However, that is an infinitely debatable point and I wouldn't have reverted that if it wasn't for another change in meaning in the same edit.
In what way do politicians need "flexibility" in order to pursue their careers? Flexibility is something needed in marginal seats in order to preserve some semblance of a populist agenda in order that the incumbent remains in position. In a safe seat it is not as important, and the member is free to pursue either their own political agenda or that of the party with less emphasis needed on re-election. Consider as an example Tony Benn in the UK - he is closely associated with the socialist agenda and, had he been in a marginal, there were several elections during his career when socialism was out of fashion and he would have been voted out. It was precisely because he was in a safe seat he was able to remain true to his personal political vision (right or wrong) regardless of whether it was particularly popular at the time. CrispMuncher (talk) 17:45, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Ok. In that case, the sentence on the Dutch and Belgian systems needs to include the point that they have a specific expectation for their parliaments to run to the end of term, because it seems like it just means their elections can be held whenever the ruling party wants them, which I think would be the case with most parliaments, though I don't have any info to cite on that. Perhaps if the sentence were reworded to something like, "In other systems, such as the Dutch and the Belgian where there is a presumption in the constitution that parliament will run to term, the ruling party or coalition..." etc. For the last paragraph, I was using the word "flexibility" in a more functional sense - that by representing a safe seat, an MP no longer has to devote their time to defending their seat, which means their time is freed up to pursue other options, like becoming party leader. So flexible in this sense means they have the room to pursue other options besides getting re-elected. Perhaps there's a better word? Wcp07 (talk) 04:22, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
The situation regarding these 'semi-fixed term' parliaments could certainly do with expanding, but I'm not the one to do it, lacking the background necessary to do a proper job of it. We'd need to establish precisely when elections are held early - it may be within the remit of the PM or may need a specific eventuality - e.g. a vote of no confidence. Better not to expand it than expand it and get it wrong. ;-)
As for "flexibility", "leeway" would seem a better word although ideally that portion could do with a little more reworking to make the position clearer. CrispMuncher (talk) 19:05, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

American Bias?[edit]

Considering the Parlimentary System is not used in the United States, why are there so many examples based in American politics and quotes from American politicians in this article? It seems a bit strange, to say the least. (talk) 01:14, 15 November 2008 (UTC)


Parliamentary systemCivil government parliamentary political system — This system is only used in civil government, not in politics (eg religiuos politics, ...) as a whole. User: 13:37, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

  • Please discuss this multiple page move request here. Jafeluv (talk) 02:31, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Move discussion in process[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:Politician which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. RFC bot (talk) 01:00, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Added refs[edit]

I added some references, which you can see form my edits to the article here and here. The second one is slightly less reliable so I am comfortable discussing its inclusion. I'm sure nobody will have issues with the first one. Please comment. Regards – sampi (talkcontribemail) 07:09, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Advantages vs Criticism[edit]

I notice that the Presidential system page, with which this article contrasts, has an Advantages section as well as a Criticism. In fairness this article should have both Advantages as well as disadvantages. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gymnophoria (talkcontribs) 00:50, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

Removed USA from list of parliaments[edit]

Why was it there? What idiot has been editing that table? And could someone with a better knowledge of international politics please skim it and make sure they didn't add in any other presidential systems. (talk) 23:20, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

What the heck is that blue in the chart?[edit]

Seriously, blue isn't in either category. Please, either tell us what it is or remove it. You are confusing me. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:28, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

/* Criticisms of parliamentarianism */ Is Hilter a reliable source for critiques of parlimentary systems?[edit]

Hitler was not a scholar of government nor an historian and his criticism of parliament style government belongs is his article and the history of Germany; not here. If you want more criticisms of this style of government then draw upon historians and scholars for this general class article on government styles. (talk) 13:36, 12 June 2012 (UTC)


Added a paragraph on the history of this system drawn from the main article and directed the reader to that article for more information. I came here looking for the history of the parliamentary system and found none and no See Other directions so I got WP:BOLD and fixed this. I found it highly interesting that a root cause of the formation of this type of government was a ruler's ignorance of the language of his subjects. Also added a paragraph contrasting this system to the presidential and semi-presidential systems. It helps a reader understand a concept when it is contrasted to the alternatives. (talk) 14:45, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

Separation of powers?[edit]

In the article of parliamentary republic, it said that there was no clear cut separation of power, does that mean that the parliamentary republics don't have a Separation of power? (Slurpy121 (talk) 23:20, 6 January 2013 (UTC))

"Voting Choice Theory"[edit]

Deleted the following section called "Voting Choice Theory"

Voters can choose among many parties in parliamentary systems, whereas the US Congressional system virtually ensures only two parties. Because Parliamentary systems allocate additional seats based upon the total nationwide voting percentage a party wins, in addition to the seats won in each voting district, voters know their votes for a less popular party candidate will still count for something even if their candidate does not win that district.

In contrast, the U.S. voter knows such a vote is essentially wasted, because there is nothing gained when the system is winner take all. Indeed, U.S. voters know that voting for a candidate from any party other than the two most popular ones will actually help the candidate they least desire among the top two parties. This happens because if voters choose a candidate from other than the two major parties, they are peeling off votes from the major party candidate who most closely aligns with the views of their minor party candidate, thus helping the other major party candidate, who least reflects these voters desires, to win the election. With no consolation prize in the form of the extra Parliamentary seats allocated to parties based on their nationwide proportion of the total vote, it is irrational for voters to choose from any but the two most popular party candidates."

This section is wrong primarily in that it conflates a parliamentary system with mixed-member proportional systems, and presidential ones with first-past-the-post. Perhaps it is unnecessary to explain the mistake since all the information is actually right here on Wikipedia anyway but:

Parliamentary systems are entirely capable of being two party systems. For example the UK was a two-party system of the Conservatives and Labour for decades. It is primarily the method of electing members to the legislature that determines whether a system is multi-party or two-party. Single member electorates, as with US Congressional Districts, British Constituencies in the House of Commons, or Australian (Federal) Electoral Divisions, these favor major parties. Only one person gets elected by all the voters in that electorate, so the person with the largest single number of votes wins; that favors big parties. The contrasting system is multi-member electorates, as with the German and New Zealand system; these are also both mixed-member proportional (MMP) systems. Compared with single member electorates these favor smaller parties. As a rule, the more open seats in the legislature per electorate, the more parties will get into parliament, IE a legislature with 100 single member electorates will likely be dominated by two parties, but one with 100 members elected by the entire population will produce an array of smaller parties; 10 electorates with 10 members each would produce a result in between.

Essentially, whether a legislature is multi-party or two-party is determined by the means of electing members to that legislature. It is not determined by whether the executive is drawn from the legislature (parliamentary system) or is separately elected (presidential). The section I have removed was incorrect in terms of style (US centric, no citations), and it made a questionable assertion (voting for third parties is irrational in single member electorates) as well as being confused as to what a parliamentary system is. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:31, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Prime Ministers losing their positions[edit]

"Additionally, prime ministers may lose their positions if they lose their seats in parliament, even though they may still be popular nationally."

Is there any proof for this? Naturally I cannot speak for every country in the world but in Canada a Prime Minister does not need to hold a seat in parliament. While most have, with the exception of Sir Charles Tupper or John Turner, it doesn't appear to be a requirement. To the best of my knowledge, there is no requirement that a seat must be gained either.

Typically Prime Ministers have one of their MPs who hold a safe seat resign, so they can run and win a riding. The reason they do this is so they can sit in the House during Question Period, introduce legislation, etc. But is there an actual requirement that a Prime Minister hold a seat either in the Senate or the House of Commons? I thought the only requirement is that the Prime Minister is appointed because he or she is the leader of the party with the most seats (or the greatest confidence) in the House.

I'm just looking for some clarification on this matter. Celynn (talk) 02:30, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

You are correct, there is no formal requirement that the Canadian Prime Minister must have a seat in Parliament; he/she only has to be the formal Leader of the governing party. However his function, and that of the government would be severely limited if he was unable to participate directly in the House of Commons debate and therefore this situation is avoided whenever possible. This also applies to any other Minister of the Government. Mediatech492 (talk) 06:03, 27 August 2013 (UTC)


Half of the 'advantages' section seems to consist of uncited claims, and there is no 'criticism' section whatsoever. Definitely not a neutral point-of-view within this article. --Genya Avocado (talk) 20:09, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

It looks like the advantages section does contain criticisms as well. For now, I renamed the section. Abstractematics (talk) 21:49, 3 January 2014 (UTC)


Georgia is missing on the list and what about Tunisia after new constitution ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:37, 6 March 2014 (UTC)