Posts

facts about parliamentary democracy
There are many structures by which countries can run a government, ranging from democracy to totalitarianism. Parliamentary democracy is a specific form of democracy that originated with the parliament and has been evolving ever since. In order to better understand this form of government that is different than the one the United States possesses, here are seven facts about parliamentary democracy.

7 Facts About Parliamentary Democracy

  1. The structure differs from a presidential democracy. In a presidential democracy (such as the one the United States operates under), the chief executive (president) and legislature (congress) undergo separate elections. Conversely, in a parliamentary democracy, the elected legislature (parliament) chooses the chief executive (prime minister). The parliament can remove the prime minister at any time by a “vote of no confidence,” which is a less laborious task than removing a president.
  2. People refer to the British Parliament as the “Mother of Parliament.” This is because Britain developed the Westminster System of parliamentary democracy: a specific system founded on centuries of traditions. Other colonial states adopted the system, such as Australia, and many of them still operate under some variation of the Westminster System today.
  3. Fifty-one countries currently operate under a parliamentary system. Among these countries are Canada, India, Japan and Spain. Most of these countries function in combination with other systems, such as a constitutional monarchy, in which a monarch may share political power with the parliament.
  4. Prime ministers’ powers vary. There are variations in a lot of the parliamentary systems around the world. A prime minister’s power can change depending on the country and allocated duties in the constitutions. The strong prime minister model exists in the United Kingdom and most other countries that were once part of the British Empire. Some of the prime minister’s powers in these countries include the power to change the structure of ministries and the ability to call for elections at any time. Countries in which several political parties must work together to maintain a legislative majority, such as Australia, Italy and Belgium, usually possess weak prime ministers.
  5. There are a few semi-presidential systems. These are systems in which a president and prime minister rule together. The powers between the two seats can vary, with one having more power than the other or both having equal influence. Most countries that operate under this system do so to put checks in place to avoid presidential dictatorships. Examples of countries with this system include Ireland, Portugal and Russia.
  6. There is often less gridlock. Along with the facts about parliamentary democracy, there are some pros and cons. Because the parliament elects the prime minister, people often observe that these two branches function better together than in a presidential democracy in which the public elects the president. Oftentimes legislation passes with less resistance, whereas the United States has faced government shutdowns when legislation was at a standstill.
  7. There can be a quick overturning of leaders and inconsistency. While legislation can pass more efficiently, a negative consequence of the parliamentary structure is the rapidity with which things can change. Because the parliament can remove the prime minister anytime he or she falls out of favor, this can lead to a lot of restructuring and inconsistent leadership. This happened during the Brexit process, in which three separate prime ministers received the appointment to deal with the aftermath of the vote.
Many believe it is important to know about the different forms of government structures so that one can examine their own country and evaluate its relative effectiveness. Hopefully, these basic facts about parliamentary democracy have provided a foundation to understand the structure and some of the pros and cons of the system.

 – Lindsey Shinkle
Photo: Pixabay

 

Argentina Brexit
In the wake of the Brexit vote, equity funds in Europe experienced outflows of 19.2 billion euros while some $21.7 billion flowed out of actively managed U.S. equity funds. The uncertainty caused by Brexit is pushing investors to move their money into emerging markets worldwide. Argentina is one of them.

Since taking office in December, President Mauricio Macri has overhauled the protectionist and populist policies of his predecessor, kept Argentina’s peso currency competitive and encouraged more foreign investment. Nevertheless, despite Macri’s clear rules that will potentially guarantee stability and build confidence among Argentines, poverty levels in Argentina have risen.

According to a recent report published in May by the U.N.’s Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), in Argentina between 25 and 32 percent of all children live in multidimensional poverty, among whom 8.4 percent of girls and boys up to the age of 17 live in extreme poverty.

In the first six months in office, Macri’s administration oversaw more than 179,000 layoffs, over 66,000 in the public sector alone. Workers have also suffered under the economic pressures of record inflation and skyrocketing prices of utilities.

Contrary to the popular pessimism, President Macri is hopeful. “The country has already received investment pledges worth $16 billion…The U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union may make countries like Argentina more attractive to investors,” Macri said at the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Idaho in June.

Marci envisioned Argentina to be part of a global scenario, that anyone could come in with their money and go out with their money whenever they like.

The Sun Valley conference is known as a gold mine for deals in the world’s communication and technology industries. With huge outflows of funds in the U.K., Macri is hoping that the new business-friendly atmosphere will attract enough new investment to boost domestic production and create new jobs.

“The number-one priority is reducing poverty,” said Macri. “We are launching the most important infrastructure program in our history–ports, energy, trains, waterways…and agribusiness.”

Long-term aftermath effects of the Brexit vote are still unclear, but President Obama’s historic visit to Argentina this year is expected to kickstart another wave of U.S. international investment.

A study in 2010 found that U.S. companies with international investment create the domestic jobs and pay higher wages than companies focused solely on the domestic market. Indeed, multinational corporations added 289,000 domestic jobs in 2007-2009 even as the recession pillaged more than eight million jobs from Americans overall.

Yvie Yao

Photo: Flickr

Brexit_Implications
People across all nations are asking about the impact of Brexit on the world, but only a few are asking the very important question of, “What will be Brexit’s impact on Africa?” As powerful countries such as the U.S. and Germany wait anxiously for the final vote count, anticipating possible financial fallout, the third world has much larger concerns, especially Africa.

Brexit Implications on Africa: Humanitarian, Political and Economic

Whether or not there will be a recession in Britain following the country’s exit from the EU is unclear, but what is certain is that if an economic crisis does occur, Africa will be hit hard.

Great Britain has long been a strong trading ally for Africa, and according to The Chicago Tribune, the European Union has preferential trade agreements with every African country except for Libya and South Sudan.

Due to the Brexit, British officials will now have to rewrite many of their trade agreements with African nations, which will take extensive time and manpower. However, this could prove to be fruitful for Africa, as strict regulations such as the Common Agricultural Policy — set in place by the EU will no longer apply to trade legislation.

According to the European Commission, the Common Agricultural Policy is an EU initiative aimed at invigorating “agricultural productivity, so that consumers have a stable supply of healthy food”. Part of this policy grants subsidies to European farmers to promote sustainable agriculture and the growth of healthy food.

BBC reports that African farmers feel as though the subsidies attached to the Common Agricultural Policy “undermine the concept of a level playing field”. The U.K. agrees with their African allies and adamantly fought for policy reformation before their exit. Brexit’s impact on Africa will not only be economic, for it will also influence the political and humanitarian realm.

The U.K. and Aid to Africa

Prior to the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union, it had incredible authority over the EU’s political and humanitarian initiatives in Africa.

The European Development Fund, according to the Chicago Tribune, is “the European Union’s main vehicle for providing development aid to Africa”. Britain was a leading voice in dictating the mission of the fund, as the third biggest contributor at 14 percent.

Even more impressive was the U.K.’s power over the African Peace Facility and its backing of the African Union Mission in Somalia. Britain made sure that the EU paid for 90 percent of the program, a 22,000-strong multinational force that protects the Somali Federal Government from the extremist militant group al-Shabab.

Before the Brexit, Britain was already beginning to lose their battle over policy in Somalia as the rest of the EU voted to pull some funding, hinting at a divided opinion about African aid.

The future of European policy in Africa is ambiguous, as one of the continent’s most passionate advocates is no longer a member of the EU. While this may seem like troubling news for Africa, the Brexit could turn out to be a blessing for the entire region.

The U.K. will no longer be held back by the EU’s restrictive guidelines as it applies to foreign policy and unless recession strikes Britain’s economy, it is likely that they will stay true to their promise of providing 0.7 percent of their gross national income to African aid.

Liam Travers

Photo: Public Domain Images