Presidential System Of Government: Meaning, Functions, Merits And Demerits

Table Of Contents
1. Meaning Of Presidential System Of Government
2. Functions Of President As Head Of State And Head Of Government
3. Merits Of Presidential System Of Government Of Government
4. Demerits Of Presidential System Of Government
Meaning Of Presidential System Of Government
Presidential system is a system of government in which all executive powers vested on one person with the title of the executive head of state of a country is also the head of government. The whole country is the president constituency and this is popularly elected by electorate. The constitution in this system is Supreme. The president can delegate some of his duties to the vice president to assist him.
The principle of separation of power among the three organs of government (Executive, Legislative And Judiciary) is strictly adhered to in this system. The system does not accommodate opposition. Example of countries that adopt the presidential system are: United States Of America, Nigeria etc.
Functions Of President As Head Of State
1. The executive president has the power to sign a bill into laws.
2. He receives visitors from the parts of the world.
3. He represents the country at international conference like UNO, AU, etc.
4. He also carry out ceremonial functions like representing the country in an event like fund raising, taking salute at parade grounds, independence day celebration etc.
Functions Of President As The Head Of Government
1. The executive president is the head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces and police.
2. He controls the civil service, agencies and departments of government.
3. He appoints special Advisers, Chief justice of the federation and ministers.
4. He initiates the formulation of policies in the country.
5. He prepares annual budget while the national Assembly deliberates and approves it.
6. The president sees to the maintenance of law and order in the society.
7. He proclaims state of emergency in a country if there is breakdown of law and order, war or invasion.
8. The president formulates foreign policy objectives and sees to its proper implementation.
9. The president has the constitutional or legal right to forgive or pardon those that have in one way or the other offended the state. E.g Presidents Alhaji Sheshu Shegari pardoned Ojukwu, the then leader of Biafra that fought to secede from Nigeria (The Second Republic in 1979-1983). This is known as prerogative of mercy.
10. The president initiates moves on allocation or the sharing of revenues among the different tiers of Government.
Features Of Presidential System Of Government
1. Legislative Form:
There is legislative checks on:
a. The national assembly must approve the annual budget proposed by the executive (Annual Budget).
b. Passage by bills: The passage of the president’s bill may be different if the ruling party is not constituting the majority in the house/parliament.
c. Power of Impeachment: The president can be impeached or removed from office by the parliament if found guilty of violating the provisions of the constitutions.
d. Ratification of treaties with other countries.
e. Approval of major appointment E.g minister, Ambassadors, political advisers.
f. Declaration of war, and state of emergency.
g. Vote powers.
2. Judicial Forms:
a. Powers of judicial review.
b. The use of Habees Corpus act.
3. Constitutional Forms:
a. Fixed term of office (4 years in office for 2 tenure).
b. The Executive must act within the limits and provisions of the constitution.
4. Public Opinions:
a. The use of mass media.
b. The use of pressure group.
5. International Form:
a. International treaties or agreement.
b. Sanction.
The Advantages/Merits Of Presidential System
1. The president has a free hand when appointing his ministers and political advisers. Therefore best ministers are given political appointment.
2. Checked and balances are very effective among the three organs of government.
3. There is individual responsibility of ministers. A minister could be held responsible for poor performance and can be dismissed by the president.
4. The president is popularly elected and as such the party does not have control over him but can only advice. He is only responsible to the electorate.
5. This enhance effective performance of each organs as powers are districtly separated.
6. It is democratic in nature because in the presidential system you have the electoral institutions, independent judiciary.
7. Supremacy of the constitution.
8. The president has a fixed time to stay in office. No room for life president.
Disadvantages/Merits Of Presidential System Of Government
1. Delay in the Execution of programmer due to separation of powers. E.g delay in approval of budget or names of those for political appointment.
2. Impeachment process may be difficult.
3. Problem may arise between executive and legislature where the ruling party is not maintaining the majority in the legislature.
4. There can be misuse or abuse of power by the president.
5. No Security For Tenure For Ministers: This can make ministers to be removed from office any time.
6. There is a lot of lobbying in the parliament which leads to corrupts practices in the system.
7. The system is costly to operate as there are too many duplication of functions both in the Executive and Legislature.

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