What is Parliamentary System, Definition & Organization

Tue, 02/12/2013 - 08:07 -- Umar Farooq

What is Parliamentary System

On the basis of the relationship between the legislature and the executive we have two types of governments namely the Parliamentary and the Presidential. In a Parliamentary system the legislative and the executive department of the government are very closely related and are interdependent for the performance of governmental functions. Under this system there is no separation of the legislative and the executive departments. The Parliamentary form of government is also known as the Cabinet system or Cabinet Form of Government because the cabinet is the link between the two departments. It is also called a responsible government because executive department is responsible and answerable to the legislative department.

Organization of Parliamentary Form of Government

It is organized in the following manner:

The Nominal or the Titular Head

Under this system the king, the queen president is a nominal head because in theory he/she enjoys all the powers, but in practice these powers are exercised by different departments.

The Real Executive

The Cabinet or the Council of Ministers enjoys the real powers. The Prime Minister is the real head of government. All the ministers are also all members of the parliament and are responsible to it for their acts and policies. After general elections the party that enjoys the support of the majority in the parliament becomes the ruling party. Its leader becomes the Prime Minister. Other members of the cabinet are nominated by the Prime Minister and are appointed by the nominal head. They have individual as well as collective responsibilities.

The Legislature or the Parliament

This is the most important organ of the parliamentary government. In theory the parliament is supreme or sovereign. It can do anything. The cabinet can remain in power so long as it enjoys the support of the majority members of the Parliament. If the parliament passes a vote of no confidence against the cabinet, it has to resign or the parliament is dissolved and fresh elections are held.

Definition of Parliamentary System

Following are some definitions of parliamentary form of government

"It is democratic form of government in which government is accountable before the legislature."

Encyclopedia Britannica, "the system in which the real state powers are controlled by the cabinet, cabinet is taken from the parliament and cabinet members are individually or collectively responsible before the parliament."