Why the U.S. midterm election matters
Checks and Balances
- French philosopher, Montesquieu, in 1748 gave the idea for division of power to ensure that no single person or group could assume autocratic authority by creating a system of checks and balances between executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.
Comparison between Parliamentary and Presidential Systems of Governments
- In India, the Executive draws its authority to create policy from its majority control of Parliament, and hence, the interdependency of this relationship ensures that in no realistic scenario will the Parliament overrule the actions of the Executive, which is led by the Prime Minister.
- However, in the U.S., the President is empowered to veto legislation passed in Congress, but the President’s power is limited by Congress’s ability to vote out the presidential veto, by a two thirds majority.
- Further, Congress controls budget appropriations which essentially gives it the levers to control what the President can and cannot do in terms of policy and effectively sets limits to presidential power yet again.
- At the same time, U.S. presidents enjoy a certain amount of autonomy from Congress since they are not members of Congress but are elected indirectly by the people, through an electoral college.
Role of Judiciary in Checks and Balances
- Just like in India U.S. courts also possess the power to limit the reach of Congressional legislation by, if and when the situation warrants it by declaring laws passed by Congress as unconstitutional.
- They also have the power to declare Executive actions as unconstitutional in situations where it becomes evident that the President has acted beyond the scope of their legitimate authority.
What are the concerns of Presidential form of Government
- Unlike in the Parliamentary form where the executive and legislature work in tandem with each other, the Presidential form can be prone to legislative gridlocks especially when there is a difference between the president and the leader of majority in the legislature belonging to different political parties.
- Another major concern is gerrymandering where political parties in power use their authority to redraw the constituencies to improve their chances of retaining power.
Source The Hindu
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