Parliamentary vs. Presidential Democracies

By Ian Ziller
Political Science Major

There are two different types of democracies: parliamentary democracies and presidential democracies. The US has a presidential system of government, whereas the UK and Canada have a parliamentary system of government.
In a parliamentary democracy the chief executive is the Prime Minister, who is chosen by the parliament. In this way the Prime Minister is very similar to the speaker of the house. There are some differences, however: the Prime minister can be removed at any time with a vote of the parliament.
On the other hand, in a presidential system the legislature is chosen separately from the president so that the legislature cannot remove the president from power; only the people can do that, although the legislature can if the president breaks the law. Also, presidential systems are far less common than in a parliamentary democracy. In this way a prime minister can be more powerful because they have the support of the legislature, so they can get more things done.

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