In its simplest term, democracy literally means the rule of the people. It came from the Greek word “demos” which means people and “kratos” which means rule. (“Democracy”) The term democracy was first coined in Ancient Greece. Democracy in Greece was understood to mean the selection of ordinary citizens to government office and courts and the assembly of all the citizens. Through the years, however, democracy as a form of government has evolved into a complex form of government.
Despite the changes the concept has undergone, it still espouses the principles of popular sovereignty, political equality, popular consultation and the majority rule. (Austin Ranney, 1995) This essay is concerned with presidential democracy as a form of government. I aim to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the presidential system. In the concluding part, I will take a stand on this issue. The Advantages of Presidential System It is the essence of every presidential democracy that the three main powers of government are constitutionally divided into thee different departments.
The three departments are: a) the legislative branch; b) executive branch; and c) judicial branch. The legislative branch has the power to propose, enact, amend and repeal the law. The executive branch has the power to execute the law. The judiciary has the power to interpret the law. The doctrine of concentration of powers is intended to prevent a concentration of authority in one person or group of persons that might lead to an error or abuse to the prejudice of the whole state.
It is believed that any concentration of powers in a single branch is tyrannical and only true separation of powers will protect the liberties of the people against the aggressions of government. (Austin Ranney, p. 240) Moreover, the essence of presidential democracy does not only lie in the constitutional separation of powers but it also lies in the system of checks and balances. The separation of powers in the three branches of government is not synonymous to isolation.
In the words of Justice Frankfurter in the case of Connally v. Scudder (160 N. E. 655), he states that while it is desirable that thee be a certain degree of independence among the several constitutional agencies, it is not in the public interest for them to deal with each other at arm’s length or with a hostile jealousy of their respective rights as this might result in frustration of the common objectives of the government. This means that in reality, these three departments actually share their powers for the purpose of establishing a system by which one department could resist encroachment made by another department.
Although there is a separation of powers in a democracy, one department is given the prerogative to check whether another department is exceeding its power and prerogative. For example: the Executive department has the constitutional prerogative to check the power of the Legislative branch to make laws by exercising its veto power. This means that the president of a country has the power not to sign into law or veto a particular bill passed by the legislative branch if the president, thinks that the law is not proper e. g. f the law is not timely.
The same is true for the legislative branch of government which has the constitutional prerogative to check on the powers of the president by means of the procedure known as impeachment. The same is true with the President who has the constitutional prerogative to check on the functions of the Judiciary. For example, the president has the power to grant amnesty and pardon to those already convicted and have undergone the process in the judiciary. Another essence of democracy lies in the Rule of Majority.
This is best manifested in the process known as election by which the people, in accordance with the principle of popular sovereignty, have the power to choose which among the candidates will govern them for a limited period of time. Disadvantage of Presidential System Though the presidential system may have its advantages, one main objection to this system is the delays caused by too much political conflict and gridlock between the President, Senate and the House of Representatives.
Several times in the past that needed legislations have been delayed and blocked because of the political bickering that is always inherent in a Presidential system. It must be stressed that laws are passed to address the concerns of the people. If the passage of laws will be delayed because of the disagreements between the executive and the legislative then the people are the ones who will suffer. Conclusion The democracy is adopted by many countries including the United States. I think presidential democracy is better than the other forms of government.
Though it has also its weakness, it is only in a democracy where there is a better balance between the powers of the government and the right of the people. It is this balance that ensures that those in the government will not abuse their powers that the constitution has granted to them. It is also this balance that ensures that the people will not abuse their sovereignty. The fusion of the two essential powers of government such as the power to execute laws and to make and amend laws in the hands of a single person will expose the whole state and the citizenry to the possibility that those in power will abuse their position.