India vs. USA Elections: Parliamentary System vs. Presidential System

6 Nov 2020  Read 71561 Views

Queen Elizabeth II, Hans Adam II, Salman of Saudi Arabia, Akbar or Henri, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, who were they? All these were the monarch who ruled their countries. Monarchy was the form of government recognized all around the world. A renowned phrase “Raja ka beta hi raja banega” was the concept of monarchy.

Countries such as the US & India later shifted from the system of the monarchy to different systems of government. India is a country with a ‘Parliamentary system’ governed under the Indian Constitution following Britain whereas the US adopted the ‘Presidential system of government’.

There is even a third system of government ‘hybrid system of government’ that incorporates both parliamentary and presidential system adopted by Mexico, Turkey, etc. The election process in a country with a presidential form of government is completely different from the election process in a country with a parliamentary form of government.

Parliamentary System vs. Presidential System

Parliamentary systems generally give distinguishment between the head of government as well as head of state with the head of government being the PM, Prime Minister and the head of state often being a President (elected either popularly or by the parliament).

The Parliament of India provides a parliamentary system of government, at both centre and state level. Therefore, articles 74 & 75 deal with the parliamentary system at the centre and articles 163 & 164 in the states. President is the nominal executive while the prime minister is the real executive. The parliamentary system of the government is the one where the executive is responsible to the legislature for its policies and acts.

Merits of the parliamentary system are as follows:

  • Coordination between the executive and the legislature: It is easier to enact and pass laws as the executive is a part of the legislature, and usually the majority of the legislature supports the government.
  • Non- authoritative in nature: Since the executive is accountable to the legislature and can vote it out in a motion of no confidence, there is no authoritarianism. Also, unlike the presidential form of government, power is not concentrated in the hands of a single person.

Demerits of the parliamentary system include:

  • No separation of powers: Since there is no genuine separation of powers, the legislature cannot always hold the executive responsible. There is no proper separation of powers and it is especially true if the government has a good majority in the house.
  • Unqualified legislators: The system creates legislators whose intention is to enter the executive only. They are generally unqualified to legislate, whereas;

In a presidential system, the President and members of the legislature (House of Representatives & Senate) are separately elected for a given length of time. Presidents are not empowered to remove members of the legislature but in the case of the parliamentary system, the Prime Minister can definitely be removed from his/ her office in two ways: either by a ‘no-confidence’ motion that is typically filed by the opposition or a coalition of opposition parties.

The no-confidence motion calls for a vote in the legislature to demonstrate that the legislature no longer has confidence in the Prime Minister (the Chief Executive) and his cabinet of Ministers.

Merits of the presidential system includes:

  • Separation of powers: Administration is efficient as the three tiers of the government are independent of each other and there is only a single executive.
  • Expert government: Since the executive is not responsible to the legislators, the President can choose experts in several fields to head-related departments or Ministries. This will ensure that people who are capable enough and knowledgeable form part of the government.

Demerits of Presidential system:

  • Deadlocks b/w executive and legislature: Since there is a stricter separation of powers so there can be frequent struggles between both arms of the government, especially of the legislature thus tampering with the efficiency.
  • Rigid form of government: Presidential systems are often accused of being rigid. It lacks flexibility.

Presidential Election in the US: How it is conducted?

Indian Parliament has two Houses: The Lower House (Lok Sabha) and the Upper House (Rajya Sabha) and US Congress constitute House of Representatives similar to Lok Sabha and The Senate similar to Rajya Sabha.

Members of the House of Representatives as well as The Senate elected by the people. Although, in the US, President is not directly elected by the People rather the US citizens go to the polls and cast their votes to the electors known as the electoral votes, and later on, these electors choose their presidential candidate.

If no candidate receives a majority of the electoral vote (at least 270), the President is determined by the rules enshrined by the Twelfth Amendment. Specifically, the selection of the President would then be decided by a contingent election in a ballot of the House of Representatives. 2020 US Presidential election had been conducted between Joe Biden & Donald Trump to elect its 46th President.


The parliamentary system as well as the presidential system have their own advantages as well their own loopholes. Advocates of the presidential system of democracy often claim that it is more stable than the parliamentary alternative or parliamentary system.

They also say that its complex mechanisms of separated and shared powers, checks and balances and it require far more deliberation and compromise of different interests in making laws than occurs in the parliamentary system whereas some claim parliamentary system to be better because of the check on the power of the executives and the ease of passing any legislation.

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 275 Post(s)

She is a Legal Content Manager at Finology Legal! With a Masters in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), a BBA.LL.B from ITM University, and patent analyst training from IIPTA, she truly specializes in her field. Her passion for IPR and Criminal laws is evident from her advanced certification in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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