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Parliamentary vs Presidential system - which is better?

JameauxJameaux PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
I think it is time for this great debate. I am a very vocal proponent of constitutional reforms as apparent in many of my posts. However, instead of simply shoving opinions down somebody else's throat, I would like to engage any argument about this topic in a civilized manner.

Let us start with the Parliamentary vs Presidential system. I believe that we need to shift to the parliamentary form of government which has better results in terms of corruption perceptions index. I'm highlighting this particular benefit because people in general are more vocal against corrupt politicians versus all other issues.

"The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is the most widely-used global corruption ranking in the world. It measures how corrupt each country’s public sector is perceived to be, according to experts and businesspeople."

Upon looking at countries and their form of government, it is apparent that most of the countries under a parliamentary system are in the top as least corrupt countries.

Link: https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi/2021



With the exception of Hongkong (a special administrative region of China) and Switzerland (Directorial type of government), the rest in the top of the list above are Parliamentary systems.

Additionally, I'd like to show this video made by fellow Pinoys on why we need to switch to better systems. Reason being the system causes behavioral change. A good politician can only do so much in a bad system, worse, he may become bad because of a rotten system. But a good system can force a bad politician to behave, worse, that politician will get kicked out, easily.




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Comments

  • Herr_StarrHerr_Starr Member PEx Icon 🎖️🎖️🎖️
    There is a reason most former communist countries switched to Parliamentary Systems. It's a more responsive, and efficient form of Government where the winning party gets to enact legislation to support their agenda. It makes Government more responsive to voters. 

    The Presidential System is meant as a means of checks and balances, we just have to see the Philippines' performance compared to neighbors such as Thailand and Malaysia. Its not a coincidence that there is only one major country that uses the Presidential System. :wink:
  • Herr_StarrHerr_Starr Member PEx Icon 🎖️🎖️🎖️
    An oldie, but still true today, the US is no longer a democracy.

    17 April, 2014

    The US is dominated by a rich and powerful elite.

    So concludes a recent study by Princeton University Prof Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Prof Benjamin I Page.

    This is not news, you say.

    Perhaps, but the two professors have conducted exhaustive research to try to present data-driven support for this conclusion. Here's how they explain it:

    Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.

    In English: the wealthy few move policy, while the average American has little power.

    The two professors came to this conclusion after reviewing answers to 1,779 survey questions asked between 1981 and 2002 on public policy issues. They broke the responses down by income level, and then determined how often certain income levels and organised interest groups saw their policy preferences enacted.

    "A proposed policy change with low support among economically elite Americans (one-out-of-five in favour) is adopted only about 18% of the time," they write, "while a proposed change with high support (four-out-of-five in favour) is adopted about 45% of the time."

    On the other hand:

    When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it.

    They conclude:

    Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organisations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.

  • JameauxJameaux PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    ^

    Actually, the U.S. free market is generally what makes its economy work. Foreigners may even own lands. Although it is still a presidential system, its elections is quasi-parliamentary because of the electoral college. However, experts believe that if the U.S. were a parliamentary government that it would perform much better.

    In contrast to the Philippines, the 1987 constitution is one of the most restrictive in terms of foreign direct investment. Article 12 has a lot of provisions discouraging foreign investors to set up shop (e.g. 60/40). Legislations to address these restrictions are not enough due to resulting too much bureaucracy, complex arrangements and processes that a business have to go through that eventually turn off these international companies. These are simply band-aid solutions that try to circumvent provisions hardcoded in the constitution.

    Worse, the Philippines presidential structure is unitary. Where power and decision making of government is concentrated in Metro Manila. That's why majority of PEZA accredited locations and buildings are in Metro Manila. People have to move from a faraway province to earn higher salary. This results to congestion in Metro Manila and keep other low-performing provinces being poor.

    That is why the best system for the Philippines is a Federal-Parliamentary and 100% open economy. Open the economy so that foreign direct investors won't have a hard time setting up their companies here which will result to jobs. Filipinos don't need to be OFWs.

    Federalism to empower other regions and allow them to make economic strategies relevant to their geographical locations. They can have better tax incentives and arrangements for foreign investors and have a healthy competition with other regions. This will decentralize and decongest Metro Manila.

    Parliamentary system to address corruption. As provided in my first post, countries under parliamentary are predominantly the least corrupt. This will further improve investor confidence.

    The only losers here would be our local oligarchs who for the longest time continue to abuse the perks and benefits that the 1987 constitution provided to them. Monopolies and oligopolies will try to smear anything that talks about changing the constitution.
  • Herr_StarrHerr_Starr Member PEx Icon 🎖️🎖️🎖️
    Jameaux said:
    ^

    Actually, the U.S. free market is generally what makes its economy work. Foreigners may even own lands. Although it is still a presidential system, its elections is quasi-parliamentary because of the electoral college. However, experts believe that if the U.S. were a parliamentary government that it would perform much better.

    In contrast to the Philippines, the 1987 constitution is one of the most restrictive in terms of foreign direct investment. Article 12 has a lot of provisions discouraging foreign investors to set up shop (e.g. 60/40). Legislations to address these restrictions are not enough due to resulting too much bureaucracy, complex arrangements and processes that a business have to go through that eventually turn off these international companies. These are simply band-aid solutions that try to circumvent provisions hardcoded in the constitution.

    Worse, the Philippines presidential structure is unitary. Where power and decision making of government is concentrated in Metro Manila. That's why majority of PEZA accredited locations and buildings are in Metro Manila. People have to move from a faraway province to earn higher salary. This results to congestion in Metro Manila and keep other low-performing provinces being poor.

    That is why the best system for the Philippines is a Federal-Parliamentary and 100% open economy. Open the economy so that foreign direct investors won't have a hard time setting up their companies here which will result to jobs. Filipinos don't need to be OFWs.

    Federalism to empower other regions and allow them to make economic strategies relevant to their geographical locations. They can have better tax incentives and arrangements for foreign investors and have a healthy competition with other regions. This will decentralize and decongest Metro Manila.

    Parliamentary system to address corruption. As provided in my first post, countries under parliamentary are predominantly the least corrupt. This will further improve investor confidence.

    The only losers here would be our local oligarchs who for the longest time continue to abuse the perks and benefits that the 1987 constitution provided to them. Monopolies and oligopolies will try to smear anything that talks about changing the constitution.
    Checks and Balances versus actually enacting legislation. 

    The Philippines would be much better off moving to a Parliamentary System, all it would take is a President who will categorically state that when the move is made to such a system, he/she will not seek office. 😉


  • JameauxJameaux PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    edited June 11 #6
    Jameaux said:
    ^

    Actually, the U.S. free market is generally what makes its economy work. Foreigners may even own lands. Although it is still a presidential system, its elections is quasi-parliamentary because of the electoral college. However, experts believe that if the U.S. were a parliamentary government that it would perform much better.

    In contrast to the Philippines, the 1987 constitution is one of the most restrictive in terms of foreign direct investment. Article 12 has a lot of provisions discouraging foreign investors to set up shop (e.g. 60/40). Legislations to address these restrictions are not enough due to resulting too much bureaucracy, complex arrangements and processes that a business have to go through that eventually turn off these international companies. These are simply band-aid solutions that try to circumvent provisions hardcoded in the constitution.

    Worse, the Philippines presidential structure is unitary. Where power and decision making of government is concentrated in Metro Manila. That's why majority of PEZA accredited locations and buildings are in Metro Manila. People have to move from a faraway province to earn higher salary. This results to congestion in Metro Manila and keep other low-performing provinces being poor.

    That is why the best system for the Philippines is a Federal-Parliamentary and 100% open economy. Open the economy so that foreign direct investors won't have a hard time setting up their companies here which will result to jobs. Filipinos don't need to be OFWs.

    Federalism to empower other regions and allow them to make economic strategies relevant to their geographical locations. They can have better tax incentives and arrangements for foreign investors and have a healthy competition with other regions. This will decentralize and decongest Metro Manila.

    Parliamentary system to address corruption. As provided in my first post, countries under parliamentary are predominantly the least corrupt. This will further improve investor confidence.

    The only losers here would be our local oligarchs who for the longest time continue to abuse the perks and benefits that the 1987 constitution provided to them. Monopolies and oligopolies will try to smear anything that talks about changing the constitution.
    Checks and Balances versus actually enacting legislation. 

    The Philippines would be much better off moving to a Parliamentary System, all it would take is a President who will categorically state that when the move is made to such a system, he/she will not seek office. 😉


    The intended checks and balances of the Philippine presidential system is counter productive due to it being unitary. The money trail is long when tax revenues are remitted to the national government and then the budget such as the IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment) are released back, proper accountability is not enforced.

    This does not hold accountable the leaders in LGUs esp if they are incompetent because they can simply sit back and relax while they continue getting their fixed IRA. There are municipalities lorded over by traditional politicians who are idiots but continue to stay in power. Imagine having 2 options in voting a mayor and both of them are idiots. The people have no choice but to vote anyway. So really, you cannot fault the people because it is the system that's prohibiting them in having a good leader.

    Parliamentary system addresses this deficiency. People vote for parties they align their principles with and not a popular individual. This gives chance for normal persons to become leaders because the party gets to choose the best leader who will represent them. If they get an idiot, their party will suffer and will be grilled by the shadow government, the true opposition unlike what we have here in the PH. Losing parties in parliamentary system are still able to participate in government. They can get their own opposition leader who will engage the PM in the weekly question hour. They can continue to scrutinize government actions such as spending. It is not a zero sum game unlike the presidential system. In this recent elections, Leni could have been an opposition leader and has her own cabinet in the shadow government. In other countries, many members of parliament have day jobs. They are normal people.

    Back in 2016 Duterte categorically said he will step down if the push for changing the form of government happens. The PDP-Laban draft was already approved in the lower house to switch to a Federal-Semi-Presidential/Parliamentary. However, it is always getting blocked in the Senate. Guess who the chairman was? It was Kiko Matsing Pangilinan. The invited resource speakers who were experts in Federalism and Parliamentary were only given 2 minutes each to speak. Lol

    The current senators which is nationally elected will become irrelevant in a Federal-Parliamentary system. That is because, the representatives are required to represent a certain region. Since the current senate does not work like that, they will have to step down as new elections will take place.

    This is now a battle of opinions for the masses as a plebiscite is required to change the constitution. If the movement gets enough support from the masses, it will create pressure to the Senate. Someone who is passionate about changing the system should chair the constitutional committee. He doesn't have to be an expert to the 1987 constitution. He just needs to know the rules on how to chair the committee. He needs to have influence and good communication skills esp to a general Filipino audience. That's why Robin Padilla is fit for the job.
  • BusilakBusilak PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    One hurdle in the change to Parliamentary system is Filipinos want to elect their President. I get that feedback from common folks.
  • JameauxJameaux PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    Busilak said:
    One hurdle in the change to Parliamentary system is Filipinos want to elect their President. I get that feedback from common folks.
    People can still elect a president separately as head of state with ceremonial powers like in Germany. The prime minister will be head of government.



    A president in a parliamentary system is like a unifying symbol, to legitimize the state no matter what its political situation is. The prime minister can always be voted out by his own party using vote of confidence and be replaced by someone else. Or he resigns due to pressure. Which forces parties to choose the best leader most of the time to avoid these issues. Recently, Boris Johnson of UK survived a vote of confidence however, it puts a lot of pressure on him to perform better.

    In a presidential system like the U.S. and the Philippines, the head of state and head of government is the same (president).

    Also, in order to properly address that specific feedback, people need to be educated why a parliamentary system is better than presidential as I indicated in my previous posts. The issue is some people may lack interest in the details such as dissertations made by global political experts. It would be quicker to cite stuff like top 30 least corrupt countries and look at the common denominator. Of course its not the end-all be-all and it takes someone like Robin Padilla to continually educate the masses as he has now the platform to influence and put pressure to his colleagues in the senate.
  • So many of the nations perceived to be relatively clean of corruption have parliamentary systems of government --- what could be the reason or reasons? I think that it's not enough to say that parliamentary is better than presidential just because of the corruption perception index. It would be nice to know what makes such phenomenon happen.
  • If we move to a Parliamentary system of government, we're basically giving our legislators more and more powers. Yes, lawmaking becomes easy, but how would that ensure that corruption would be lessened? Most of our legislators are corrupt after all. 

    I think the first step in all of this is to improve our education system. Most voters do not really understand how democracy works or how our political system works. Another suggestion I have in mind is to require presidential candidates to have a bachelor's degree and voters to have bachelor's degree as well. I can't stand people who vote based on emotions without counter-checking whether their decisions are well-informed.
  • Herr_StarrHerr_Starr Member PEx Icon 🎖️🎖️🎖️
    edited June 15 #11
    Are Presidential Systems free of corruption little Prince? The Philippines says no. 😉
  • JameauxJameaux PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    edited June 15 #12
    So many of the nations perceived to be relatively clean of corruption have parliamentary systems of government --- what could be the reason or reasons? I think that it's not enough to say that parliamentary is better than presidential just because of the corruption perception index. It would be nice to know what makes such phenomenon happen.
    Of course it is not enough that's why someone needs to be NOT lazy to find out why. Research and read why. Knowing that there is a common denominator for these least corrupt countries is a starting point.

    So what do you need to do now? It's simple. Read and understand the structure of a Parliamentary system and study the details on its difference from the Presidential system.

    However, I would understand if a person may have not time to do all these research just to verify the information. Still, the onus is on the person if he wants to better his arguments.

    Here's a sample study made by Juan Linz, a Sterling Professor (highest academic rank in Yale). Simply put he is considered the best in his field in political science.

    Link:
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://edisciplinas.usp.br/pluginfile.php/4251407/mod_resource/content/1/LinzJuan%281990%29_TheVirtuesofParlamentarism.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwiNlq7C4a_4AhX9SWwGHZg2DqkQFnoECCMQAQ&usg=AOvVaw3B7TfP-5h7JUsF5iQagKS9

    If you can't access the link which is a downloadable PDF file, just Google search "Juan Linz parliamentary"


  • JameauxJameaux PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    edited June 15 #13
    If we move to a Parliamentary system of government, we're basically giving our legislators more and more powers. Yes, lawmaking becomes easy, but how would that ensure that corruption would be lessened? Most of our legislators are corrupt after all. 

    I think the first step in all of this is to improve our education system. Most voters do not really understand how democracy works or how our political system works. Another suggestion I have in mind is to require presidential candidates to have a bachelor's degree and voters to have bachelor's degree as well. I can't stand people who vote based on emotions without counter-checking whether their decisions are well-informed.
    "Most of our legislators are corrupt after all" - in here I'm assuming you were referring to the lawmakers that get elected under our current PRESIDENTIAL system? Take note there is no PDAF, DAP, or other Dubidapdaps in a Parliamentary system.

    This is the exact reason why we need to switch to Parliamentary as these legislators that you refer to as corrupt may no longer be in the government in the first place.

    The Parliamentary system forces politicians to behave or they get exposed and voted out or willingly resign due to embarrassment. The Parliamentary government's check and balance is the shadow cabinet, which is a true opposition because these are usually the losing party (2nd to the winning party) or a coalition of losing parties. The shadow cabinet is like the mirror of the executive government's cabinet. There is an opposition leader which is the counterpart of the Prime Minister. And each cabinet secretary has its own counterpart.

    Members of a shadow cabinet have no executive power. It is the shadow cabinet's responsibility to scrutinise the policies and actions of the government, as well as to offer alternative policies. The shadow cabinet makes up the majority of the Official Opposition frontbench, as part of frontbenchers to the parliament.

    In Parliamentary systems like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, etc. there are regular debates which are televised. They call it the Question Hour where the opposition grills the cabinet's actions and its policies. I mentioned these countries because many Pinoys like to be OFWs in these countries or migrate to live as permanent residents in these countries.

    If the PM and its cabinet are incompetent or corrupt, they can easily get exposed. In Australi, only one Australian prime minister, Malcolm Fraser, has ever been defeated in the House of Representatives by an explicit motion of no confidence. In addition, six prime ministers were unable to enact important policy and therefore resigned, two prime ministers were unable to obtain supply from the House of Representatives, one prime minister was unable to obtain supply in the Senate and was dismissed by the Governor General, one Prime Minister never had the confidence of the House of Representatives, lost a motion of no confidence and refused to resign. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_prime_ministers_defeated_by_votes_of_no_confidence#:~:text=Only one Australian prime minister,explicit motion of no confidence.

    So a lazy, corrupt, idiot person will think twice to even become politician. Even better, they will not get accepted by a political party because instead of helping promote the image of the party, they become a problem. This is where you weed out bad politicians.

    See? Useless politicians are forced to resign or get voted out. No need for EDSA rallies. The system itself forces the behavior to be fixed.

  • JameauxJameaux PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    Are Presidential Systems free of corruption little Prince? The Philippines says no. 😉
    Exactly! Although corruption may not entirely be eradicated, evidence suggests that most countries under Parliamentary systems are less corrupt than many Presidential ones.
  • Are Presidential Systems free of corruption little Prince? The Philippines says no. 😉
    I don't disagree with you, but that's not my point.
  • @Jameaux, the onus belongs to the person who advocates a change in the system.
  • Jameaux said:
    Are Presidential Systems free of corruption little Prince? The Philippines says no. 😉
    Exactly! Although corruption may not entirely be eradicated, evidence suggests that most countries under Parliamentary systems are less corrupt than many Presidential ones.
    Such as? :|
  • Herr_StarrHerr_Starr Member PEx Icon 🎖️🎖️🎖️
    Are Presidential Systems free of corruption little Prince? The Philippines says no. 😉
    I don't disagree with you, but that's not my point.
    Fair enough. 

    Considering your posts, I would say the big benefit of a parliamentary system is proportional representation. We wouldn’t have situations where a single person represents millions of people. It also makes it impossible to vote directly for the Prime Minister…Just think about how many poorly qualified candidates would have never come to the fore in such a system.

    As it stands, the Philippines gets the worst of both Worlds, a government that is both inefficient and corrupt. 
  • JameauxJameaux PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    @Jameaux, the onus belongs to the person who advocates a change in the system.
    Nope. The onus belongs to the person who doesn't want to change the system (status quo). The status quo, the Philippines' presidential system has already been proven to be corrupt.
  • JameauxJameaux PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    edited June 18 #20
    Most voters do not really understand how democracy works or how our political system works. Another suggestion I have in mind is to require presidential candidates to have a bachelor's degree and voters to have bachelor's degree as well. I can't stand people who vote based on emotions without counter-checking whether their decisions are well-informed.
    Totally agree on the bolded part. Ironic that an example is your view of democracy by requiring presidential candidates and voters to have a degree. This is not how democracy works where EVERYONE should be allowed to participate in the elections no matter what their educational status is. There are many intelligent and smart people who don't have degrees. Buy yeah, in a presidential system, it would be hard to get good leaders that's why it needs to be replaced.

    In a parliamentary system, people usually vote for parties that have platforms aligned to them. This eliminates fanaticism to a single personality unlike the presidential system which is popularity and emotions-based.

    Your statement seems to validate my argument so thanks.
  • JameauxJameaux PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    Jameaux said:
    Are Presidential Systems free of corruption little Prince? The Philippines says no. 😉
    Exactly! Although corruption may not entirely be eradicated, evidence suggests that most countries under Parliamentary systems are less corrupt than many Presidential ones.
    Such as? :|
    Such as many studies made by different political experts. If you bothered to read the one from Juan Linz or visited the CPI website, you may not have no longer asked this.

    However, to provide more references to you, here: https://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/740901468764140505/pdf/multi0page.pdf

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