Advantages and Disadvantages of Parliamentary System of Government: Parliamentary system of government is also known as cabinet or westminister system of government. It is a government where all the executive powers are vested in a Prime Minister who is the head of government and head of the majority party or ruling party, but is not the head of state.
Like other systems of government, cabinet system is practiced by many countries of the world because of its numerous advantages that fits the system. However, that does not also mean that the system lacks its own disadvantages anyway. Like Johan Cruyff said “Every advantage has its disadvantage”.
Conversely, today I will be sharing with you the advantages and disadvantages of parliament system of government. Coupled with that, I am going to explain briefly what parliamentary system of government is all about.
If you have been searching the internet for comprehensive information on the advantages and disadvantages of cabinet system, this is the best article for you. Before going to the crux of this work, lets quickly see what a parliamentary system of government means.
- See that advantages and disadvantages of federal system of government
- Advantages and disadvantages of unitary system of government
What is a parliamentary or cabinet system of government?
Simply put, a parliamentary or cabinet system of government is a system where the head of state is different from the head os government. In this system of government, the head of state who exercises only ceremonial functions may be a monarch, or a president, who is the figure head, symbol of the state and the father or mother of the Nation.
In a parliamentary system of government, there is usually no complete separation of powers between the arms of the government. Most times, both the legislature and the executive arms of government are fused together. Thus, the powers and functions of the legislature and the executive are vest in the hands of one body
Advantages of Parliament system of government
Below are the advantages of merits of a parliamentary or cabinet system of government:
1. It reduces friction, creates friendship and promotes co-operation between the two arms of government:
Parliamentary system of government is advantageous because it create a friendly relationship between the executive and legislative arm of the government. This is so because, the two arms of the government are not separated.
In light of that, Instade of creating a situation where all the organs of the government will be separated, and given the power to check and question the activities of each other, as postulated in the principle of separation of powers; It helps free flow of information between the two arms of the government and bridges graps that may lead to misunderstanding.
2. Faster and quicker decision making:
When the legislative and executive arms of the government in a parliamentary system of government are joint together, it is usually faster and quicker for decisions to be made.
The fusion of powers makes parliamentary approval of the policies and programmes of government fast, thereby helping quick decision and implementation of government policies and programmes.
3. It requires less personnel and less cost:
Unlike a presidential system where all the arms of government are separated and occupied by different set of people, the fusion of the legislature and the executive in a parliamentary system of government means that less personnel and cost are required to run a cabinet system of government.
Conversely, it is right to say that parliamentary system of government is less expensive than a presidential system.
4. It promotes good governance:
Parliamentary system of government also promote good governance because the individual and collective responsibility of the executive to the parliament will make all members of the cabinet to work hard for the successful administration of the country. It also ensures accountability and transparency.
Now that you know the advantages of parliamentary system of government, it is important to also know the disadvantages of the system. Below are the reasons why many countries has refused to adopt a parliamentary system of government despite it advantages.
Disadvantages of parliamentary system of government
Below are the disadvantages or demerits of a parliament or cabinet system of government:
1. Members of the parliament will become too powerful, arrogant and likely to abuse power:
While parliamentary system may seem to always promote good governance, it will also make members of the parliament to become too powerful, arrogant and this might also lead to the abuse of political powers.
In other words, members of the parliament in a parliamentary system of government are Supreme and unquestionable.
2. The Prime Minister is loyal to his party:
In a parliamentary system of government, the prime minister is usually loyal to his party and not the people because he is directly elected as he becomes Prime Minister by virtue of being the leader of his party. Thus, he will tend to be loyal to his party and not his people.
3. Uncertainty and instability in government:
No doubt, in a parliamentary system of government, there is always uncertainty of the tenure of office of the prime minister as the parliament can give a “vote of no confidence” to dismiss him at any time.
This may lead to crisis, segregation or instability in governance.
4. Overload of the functions of the cabinet:
The fusion of the legislative and executive functions in the members of the cabinet may overburden the members of the cabinet with double functions and some ministers may not cope well.
It can also lead to the ineffectiveness of the government because the fusion of powers and functions of the legislative and executive arms of government will be too much for only the cabinet to handle.
5 Lack of specialization leading to inefficiency:
Lastly, while it is true that parliamentary system requires less personnel to handle both legislative and executive functions, it is important to note that a minister may lack specialization in the art of governance in one arm of government, thus leading to inefficiency in such regard.
- Advantages and disadvantages of an unwritten constitution
- Differences between unitary and federal system of government
By way of conclusion, it is worthwhile to note that parliamentary system of government has been criticized by many political scientists over the years. One of the major criticisms of this system of government is the fact that; there is always uncertainty of the tenure of office of the prime minister.
This is so because the parliament, by a vote of “no confidence” can dismiss the cabinet and elect a new party leader as Prime Minister to form a new cabinet. This is also one of the disadvantages of the system which I have already explained above.
Hope this article was helpful? Well, if you still have any question or contribution about parliamentary system of government, i enjoin to send it using the comment section below this post.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC, is a Law Student and a Certified Mediator/Conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a Developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and React Native. Samuel is bent on changing the legal profession by building Web and Mobile Apps that will make legal research a lot easier.