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Political Institutions

Political Institutions

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Political Institutions

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  1. Nigeria Great Britain Russia China Iran Mexico Political Institutions AP Comparative Government Unit IV Part 1

  2. ReviewDefinition: State • A state is a political association with effective sovereignty over a geographic area. • These may be nation states or sub-national states, or in some cases supernational organizations.

  3. The Foundation of the State • The “STATE” • Most dominant political unit • No higher authority

  4. Nigeria Great Britain Russia China Iran Mexico Political Institutionsand Structures • Key Questions: • Who are the rulers? • What are the rules to control them? • Who controls AND WHY? • How are they Controlled? • WHO DO THEY CONTROL?

  5. Institutions in a State • A state usually includes: • A set ofinstitutionsthat claim the authority to make the rules that govern the exercise of coercive violence for the people of the society in that territory • Status as a state often depends in part on being recognized by a number of other states as having internal and external sovereignty over it.

  6. How Do States Gain and Keep Control? Four theories • By Force • By Evolution • By Divine Right • Through Social Contract • Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu…

  7. Political Institutions Executive Branch Can also include the Military Can also include the Bureaucracy Legislative Branch Judicial Branch Linking Institutions Political Parties Interest Groups The Media Review from AP Government

  8. The Executive Branch • Head of State • President • Dictator • Monarch • Head of Government • Prime Minister • Premier • Chancellor

  9. Head of State or Chief of State • Usually serves as the chief public representative of a monarchic or republican nation-state, federation, commonwealth or any other political state. • His or her role generally includes personifying the continuity and legitimacy of the state and exercising the political powers, functions and duties granted the head of state in the country's laws and constitution.

  10. Head of State or Chief of State • Charles de Gaulle described the role he envisaged for the French president when he wrote the modern French constitution. • He said the head of state should embody "the spirit of the nation" for the nation itself and the world: une certaine idée de la France (a certain idea about France). • Today many countries expect their head of state to embody national values in a similar fashion

  11. Head of Government • The Head of Government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. • Is the “Leader of the Government” • Process functions includes: • Initiates/sets policy • Domestic and Foreign • Enhances policy • Enforcement of policy

  12. Head of Government AND State • In presidential republics or monarchies, the head of government may be the same person as the head of state, who is often a president (of the republic) or a monarch. • Example: The United States

  13. Functions of Executive • Leader of State • Communicator of State Ideals • Implementation of Policy • Dynamism • Sets pace and enhances political structure

  14. Executives as Bureaucrats • Functions • Enforcement of laws, implement rules • Monopolizes outputs • Elaborates policy • Adjudicates policy • Spokesperson for special interest group • Interest aggregation • Communication function • Is it responsive?

  15. How Can Executive Power be Controlled? • Through Checks and Balances! • These agents of Control include: • Voting (where this is available) • Approval of budgets • Investigative Courts • Mass media reports • Interest groups • Internal advisory commissions • Whistle blowers

  16. The Legislative Branch • An assembly of elected representatives • 75% of 180 states have one • Congress • Chamber • Diets • Parliament • House of Commons • Majiles • Elected by “popular” vote • Accountable • Legitimate Russian Duma

  17. Nations with bicameral legislatures.      Nations with unicameral legislatures.      No legislature

  18. Functions of Legislative Branch • Enact Legislation • Debating Forum • Amend Legislation • Formulation of policy • Input comes from outside • the voters

  19. ReviewHow is Power Balanced Between the Executive and Legislative Branches? Presidential Systems • Separation of powers between Executive and Legislative branches • May be Dictatorship or Democracy • May be • Direct • Indirect – Representative Gov’t Parliamentary Systems • Merger of Executive and legislative branches with a PM selected by the majority party • Also may be Dictatorship or Democracy • May be • Direct • Indirect – Representative

  20. The Judicial Branch • Courts establish the “Rule of Law” for the society • Court system is based on who possesses the legitimate power of the government. • Authoritarian systems drive the judicial process. • *Democratic systems will have checks and balances that will separate the three branches.

  21. Classifying Institutions and Structures • Key Questions: • Who/which institution is in control? • Why are they in control? • How do they control? • When did it occur? • How does it work? • Are there checks/balances? • How does it work? • If not why not? • Are there rules to control the dominant player? • Who made the rules? When? • Do they work?

  22. What major institution holds the key in Great Britain?

  23. British Government Traditions • Who Should Govern? What should Government Do? • Trusteeship Theory • “The governments job is to govern” • Best interests of the masses • Interest Group Theory- Collectivism • Balance the needs of the people • Loyalty Prevails – England First • Individualist Theory • Parties should represent people rather than organized groups • The “Unions shall prevail” attitude was dismantled by the New Labour

  24. British Government Traditions • The PM Connection to the Crown • The PM is the "Head of Her Majesty's Government" • Queen provides “Formal assent” to all laws passed in Parliament • An age-old tradition of approval • No criticism of Parliament from Crown in public is allowed • The Crown can dissolve Parliament • Hasn’t been done since 1834

  25. What about this no Constitution business? • The UK constitution is not in a single, written document, but is drawn from legislation, treaties, judicial precedents, convention, and numerous other sources. • Two Basic Rules • The Rule of Law • The Supremacy of Parliament

  26. Great Britain Government • A unitary government • A melding of the Executive and Legislative branches • Parliament • A deliberate assembly of one nation for one interest, that of the whole -- more ceremonial than efficient or effective” • Fact -- The “Executive Branch” can secure every passage of its legislation • 97% of Whitehall’s bills are passed!

  27. British Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat”- Winston Churchill • David Cameron • Conservative Party ( Tories) • Nick Clegg • Liberal Democrats Being prime minister is a lonely job... you cannot lead from the crowd. Margaret Thatcher

  28. The Prime Minister • Prime Minister • “ First Among Equals” • Party leader • Chairman of cabinet • Major campaigner of policy • Patronage - vital weapon • selects all 20 cabinet members • Selects Cabinet • secures the close union and complete fusion of the executive and legislative branches • Majority party dictates

  29. GB’s Prime Minister • PM needs cabinet support, not electorate. • Apex of unitary government but cabinet positions are not fixed. . . • PM’s Power determined by events of state • HE HAS TO WATCH OUT FOR THE SHADOW CABINET (THAT’S THE MINORITY PARTY’S LEADERSHIP • Goal - maintain a good government . . . no matter what the posting.

  30. The Power of Whitehall • Insures that the government’s position is passed • Superior political power and flexibility • No constitution to inhibit but rules by constitutional principles Whitehall pictured in 2012, with The Cenotaph and Monument to the Women of World War II in the middle of the street, and the clock tower housing Big Ben in the background.

  31. “The Home Office was born out of the barrel of a gun. It was created to prevent public disorder after troops shot dead nearly 300 people after rioting... in 1780” Whitehall Bigwigs • Home Office • Home Secretary • The Foreign Office • Foreign Secretary • Treasury • Chancellor of the Exchequer Teresa May "The India Office is a miniature Government in itself.” William Hague “The Chancellor of the Exchequer is…entrusted with a certain amount of misery which it is his duty to distribute as fairly as he can." George Osborne

  32. The House of Commons • 650 members • Led by a speaker- John Bercow since 2009 • Term of office -- 5 years MAX • Division of power between the majority and the minority. • Party Line + whip • Goal -- “Don’t hurt the party” • Its function is to approve policy, not make policy

  33. Legislating in the UK • MP’s in House of Commons deliberate and debate the details of policy. . . not what policy but how to implement the policy • Purpose is to discuss legislation, not make it. . . • Legislation is made in Whitehall.

  34. Debate in House of Commons • Debates express “moods” of HC. • If legislation passes, debate was effective. • Debate functions to “weigh one’s peers.” • Debates allow minority to scrutinize administration • If the populous doesn’t like it. . . they can seek out the ombudsman to express dissent

  35. Minister’s of ParliamentMP’s • MP’s are used to “feel out” legislation – Publicize the issues! • Articulate political ideas – debating forum • H of C is a place to mobilize support • MP is not a legislator • Can’t go against party line • Can oversee how the bureaucracy manages policy endeavors • Has oversight function

  36. The House of Lords • A hereditary body formerly with inherited seats • Can initiate or amend legislation • Not elected. . . Selected • Not a cross-section of representation • Appointed “peers” hold office • The inherited “hereditary” seat holders were abolished 1999 • The “law” lords were made up of HC retirees, all appointed • Was considered Supreme Court of Great Britain until 2009

  37. The House of Lords • Power is limited • Delay common’s enactments up to a year . . . but no veto power • Always “conservative” body made up of retired MP’s who are favored by PM

  38. The Cabinet • Secures the close union and complete fusion of the executive and legislative branches • Apex of unitary government • Cabinet positions are not fixed • Majority party dictates • PM needs cabinet support, not electorate. • Power determined by events of state • Goal of Cabinet • To maintain a good government . . . no matter what the posting. • PM must watch out for the Shadow Cabinet • The Minority Party’s Leadership

  39. Parliament- Policy Making • Good policy is one that government finds acceptable to administer and publicly defend • Lawmaking is resource of the government. • Parliament averages only 85 bills per year • Most legislation updates old laws • Taxes • 30% of earnings-- socialism is expensive!! • 1/3 of workforce works for government • 1/2 of society on the DOLE (welfare rolls)

  40. Do they really NEED one? • It has been suggested that the British Constitution can be summed up in eight words: What the Queen in Parliament enacts is law. • This means that Parliament, using the power of the Crown, enacts law which no other body can challenge. • Parliamentary sovereignty is commonly regarded as the defining principle of the British Constitution. • This is the ultimate lawmaking power vested in a democratically elected Parliament to create or abolish any law.

  41. The British unitarysystem is beginning to look like a federalsystem • Devolution towards Scotland and Northern Ireland • Whig initiatives. • More freedom for local governments • London mayor is now elected official. • Reform in House of Lords • Electoral reform • A Bill of Rights???

  42. The 'new' Supreme Court (Created in 2009) • The Supreme Court is the same body as the old “Law lords” in a new courtroom (without their wigs) and no voting powers in the House of Lords • Powers • All the UK Supreme Court can do is issue a 'statement of incompatibility' against govt. legislation that concerns human rights • They have been the final court of appeal for Human Rights Act (HRA) cases in the UK since 1998, which can still be appealed further to the European Court of Human rights.

  43. Other Changes to System?? • For change to occur • Party in power has to reduce its own power • Is that likely? • Conservatism doesn’t breed change. . . • Parliament has total sovereignty + can change the law at any time to suit its needs. . .can that change? • EU Law can circumvent Parliament law • Electoral system bashes third parties . . • That will come next unit. . . 

  44. The Stone of Scone (or Stone of Destiny) • A stone placed inside the coronation chair upon which British monarchs are crowned • Scottish kings were formerly crowned on the stone AND it used to sit under the coronation chair in London’s Westminster Abbey, until Thursday, November 14, 1996. • The stone is now on display in Edinburgh Castle, with the intention to shuttle the stone to Westminster Abbey for future coronations of the British monarch.