The world as a conglomerate of nations needs a sound system of administration which could justify things and effectively manage various responsibilities for the smooth functioning of the nation’s numerous affairs. It is for this reason that the need of a system of administration that could represent the whole country and take decisions on their behalf, arises.
In earlier days a hierarchical system of administration was followed wherein the king ruled with or without the consent of the general public, and the successor of the king went on to become the new ruler. For the common man, in those times, getting a good ruler was a more luck based situation as he had no choice but to accept whoever was imposed upon them. With changing times things changed and eventually saner and logically correct system of administration came in.
Two of the most prominent democratic administrative systems that emerged were the Presidential system and the Parliamentary system. Though both these systems are forms of administration where the supreme power is vested in the people, they differ on more than one front. The major difference between the two systems is in the process of selection of the head of state and in the power bestowed upon them. In the Parliamentary system people get to choose the political party of their choice and then the elected party decides as to who their leader, or Prime Minister, will be, so the public in Parliamentary system is not directly involved in choosing its leader. Also, in a Parliamentary system the head of state and chief executive are not the same, in contrast to the Presidential system where the head of the state, the President, is also the chief decision maker. In a Presidential system people get to directly choose their leader hence bestowing more powers in him as compared to the elected leader in a Parliamentary system.
Now, ever since their inception, there has been a raging debate as to which of the two systems hold precedence over the other. Although both these systems have there own advantages and limitations, I feel that the Presidential system of administration holds an edge over the Parliamentary system. Agreed that the Parliamentary system offers more disciplined and organized structure for decision making but in the process aspects such as speed and decisiveness are rendered useless.
Humans in general and on different laterals need a leader to show them the right path, a leader who enjoys full faith of his pupil and is able to take decisions in the best interest of people whom he leads. While both the systems emphasize on the importance of a leader, the Parliamentary system cramps its chief executive by limiting his powers, thanks to the arduous and rigid process followed in order for a decision to be implemented. Even after the Prime Minister has decided on a particular decision he needs to have the consent of both houses of Parliament to see his plan go into effect. This limitation imposed on the chosen leader of a nation leads to a very slow and rigid system of decision making wherein the opposition can play a decisive role in hindering the approval of a plan.
Unlike what is followed In a Parliamentary system, the Presidential system provides more flexibility and speed in terms of decision making, this system emphasizes on the power of a President by establishing the Presidency and the legislature as two parallel structures. The Prime Minister in a Parliamentary system is always under the threat of removal and hence cannot be as decisive and strong minded as the President in a Presidential system who enjoys more stability, by virtue of a fixed term.
As the Presidential system allows the people to directly choose their leader it provides more legitimacy to the power of the chosen one. The all powerful leader in a Presidential system is provided enough backing to be able to take bold and progressive decisions, his say is the say of the public and his decisions are based on the motive of public good, hence providing him with the necessary powers is a rational step towards creating a rapidly progressive nation, with no internal hindrances.
Now, the point that many of those who dispose the Presidential system bring forward is that by rendering the President as all powerful we actually are promoting a tendency towards authoritarianism, which indeed is an undesirable thing. However, what they tend to forget is that it is not just anyone who is being handed over control of powers, it is a person chosen by clear majority of the country and if most of the nation thinks that a person is competent enough while he turns out to be an authoritarian, it is the public who chose him who is to be blamed and not the system. Also, the impediment for a regime change causes many to think against the Presidential system, whereas the fact is that it is this very aspect that enables the President to take bold steps without any fears of impeachment.
Now, the choice is ours, do we want a nation which is mowing at a snail’s pace owing to its politically correct yet rigid approach or do we want a nation which is governed by a leader not bound or afraid to take crucial decisions? Do we want the potentially useful laws to be lost in the lengthy approval process on the name of discipline or are we confident enough of our own decisions to allow the leader to take the country forward? The choice at the end of the day is ours, the people of the nation, the base of democracy and if we are not laden with doubts on our own choices then be rest assured that the Presidential system of Democracy offers a path to growth and development of the nation, as a whole.
By - Faisal Abidi