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A Democratic Duel
If one were to set out to form a nationbased on democratic principles, there wouldbe essentially two paths to take: presidentialor parliamentary. Both hold their own05in terms of advantages and disadvantages,and both possess the endorsement of greatprosperous nations. Parliamentary is the farmore common order, but many attribute itsprevalence to the legacy of the British Empire10rather than to its superiority.The disparity between the two is hardlysubtle. In a presidential system, the executiveand legislative branches of governmentare completely independent of one another,15such as in the United States of America. ThePresident, elected directly by the people,is a national figure that is at once the headof government and state, but is separateand distinct from Congress, the lawmaking20body. On the other hand, a parliamentarysystem is a fusion of executive and legislativepowers with the executive, most oftencalled Prime Minister, being a member ofParliament. In the latter arrangement, members25of Parliament, the legislative assembly,are elected by the people, but then chooseamongst themselves the most fit to be executive.Most often, a monarch, like in GreatBritain, is given the responsibility of heading30the state and being the icon of nationalceremony.Other divergence occurs in the term limitsand standards of accountability in whichthe executive is held to. For instance, the35presidential model allows for fixed terms andscheduled elections. As such, the Presidentenjoys the assurance of a secure term inwhich he or she can work to establish andmeet goals for the nation's advance. Only in40situations where the President is found guiltyof serious crimes will he or she be removedfrom office before the end of the term.Conversely, the Prime Minister is subjectto much more scrutiny and job insecurity.45Legislatures within this model of governmentare expected to question the Prime Ministerdirectly on a weekly basis and are able toremove the executive any time confidence islost in his or her ability, character, or judgment.50Hence, parliamentary systems aresubject to random elections that can moreeasily replace an unfit leader.Advocates of the presidential model positthat it is more democratic because the people55themselves choose their executive. They contendthat the fixed terms even allow for somestability that the parliamentary organizationdoes not allow. Likewise, a further benefitlies in the separation of powers subject to60checks and balances, in which the executiveand legislative bodies are able to monitor oneanother and assure that power is not centralized.Yet, critics of the system allow that thePresident's national status affords tendencies65toward authoritarianism. Furthermore,as a rule, deadlocks or stalemates are muchmore common within a system that often hasexecutive and legislative bodies under thecontrol of different parties. Cynics therefore70suggest that the presidential model is privyto discord and inefficiency—not to mention,presidents are difficult to remove whenthought to be unfit.Those in favor of the parliamentary model75believe that the fused government allows forunity and harmony that is all but alien withinthe former. Not only is it faster and easier topass legislation, but more often than not, thegovernment operates more cooperatively.80Since it is very unlikely that the ruling partywill choose a Prime Minister from anotherparty, the executive and legislative bodies arealmost always working in accord. Moreover,when a Prime Minister is decided unfit, he or85she can be removed and replaced right away.This system, they argue, is much more efficientand less prone to corruption. Yet, noteveryone agrees. With the legislature holdingsupreme power, critics contend that "tyranny90of the majority" is all too likely. Not only arethe people not directly electing their leader,but there is also nobody to oppose or vetolegislation passed by Parliament. The minorityparties have virtually no say and the ruling95party of the assembly can easily manipulatewhen the Prime Minister will be replaced andwhen elections will be held.The two systems represent very differentapproaches to democracy, and as such, operate100so. One must consider both democraticideals and effectiveness in deciding the bestway to select a leader. While presidentialelections can become feeble popularity contests,centralized power is a real concern.
1. What statement best summarizes the passage?
2. The approach of the author is best described as
3. The author states that a possible reason for the greater practice of parliamentary than presidential democracy is
4. Which option gives the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?
5. Suppose a country with a parliamentary system and a country with a presidential system were choosing representatives to a global sports competition like the Olympics. Based on the paragraph in lines 11-31, which respective governmental officials from the parliamentary and the presidential system would be the most desirable and fitting representatives?
6. As used in line 39, the word "advance" most closely means
7. The paragraph in lines 53-73 primarily serves to
8. As used in line 70, the word "privy" most closely means
9. It is most reasonable to infer that those concerned about a "tyranny of the majority," as described in lines 89-90, are afraid that what would be likely to occur in such a situation?
10. Which option gives the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?
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