Meaning, Advantages And Disadvantages Of Presidential System Of Government

Table Of Contents
1. Meaning Of Presidential System Of Government
2. Features Of the Presidential System Of Government
3. Advantages And Disadvantages Of the Presidential System of Government
4. Functions Of The President
Definition Of Presidential System Of Government
A presidential system of government exists where the head of state is also the head of government. It has non-parliamentary executives, e.g., U.S.A. and Nigeria in the 2nd and 4th Republic.
Features Of the Presidential System Of Government
1. The head of state is also the head of government.
2. It has a non-parliamentary executive. That is, members of the executive are not also members of the legislature. There is, therefore, a separation of powers.
3. The president is a popular choice of the entire electorate.
4. There is the existence of checks and balances.
5. The president is not accountable to the legislature but could be removed through impeachment.
6. The legislature enjoys a fixed term of office.
7. There is an absence of collective responsibility.
8. There is the absence of an officially recognized opposition party.
Advantages Of The Presidential System Of Government
1. The single leadership inherent in the system makes for effective leadership and removes the possibility of conflict in the cabinet system’s dual leadership.
2. The president chooses his political officeholders and can remove them. He is, therefore, free to choose those he considers can serve him and the nation well.
3. The absence of “winners take all” makes it possible for the best talents in the country to be chosen from anywhere in the country.
4. Members of the executive are not also members of the legislature; this helps to serve as a check to despotism.
5. Removing the government by a vote of no confidence does not apply in a presidential system; hence frequent elections, which may destabilize the state, are avoided.
6. Decisions can easily be taken because of the absence of collective responsibility. Matters of national importance can be urgently attended to.
7. The president is a popular choice of the whole electorate, an embodiment of the state, and a symbol of unity.
8. No party is regarded as opposition in a presidential system; members of the legislature can work together as a team.
Disadvantages Of the Presidential System Of Government
1. The existence of a single leader with overwhelming power can break a dictatorship.
2. Members of the legislature could abuse the power of impeachment.
3. The president’s power to choose his political office holders and remove them at will could be abused by a reckless Chief executive, and there is the possible lobbying and corruption.
4. The power of veto exercised by the president in the system could be recklessly applied.
Functions Of The President
1. He is both the head of state and the head of government.
2. He appoints his ministers and can remove them.
3. He is the commander in chief of the Armed Forces.
4. He formulates major policies of the government and sees to their execution.
5. He receives ambassadors accredited to the country as well as receiving visiting heads of state.
6. He takes the salute on ceremonial occasions.
7. He opens new parliament sessions and sends presidential messages to the parliament.
8. He exercises the power of the prerogative of mercy.
9. He has the power to declare a state of emergency.
10. He permits the bill.

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