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Constitutional Structures, April 5 and 7

by: Grecia Sanchez

Constitutional Structures, April 5 and 7 POLS 2310

Marketplace > University of Texas at El Paso > Political Science > POLS 2310 > Constitutional Structures April 5 and 7
Grecia Sanchez
GPA 4.0

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About this Document

These notes cover the first topics we saw in class about the Constitutional Structures to the definitions of unicameral and bicameral structures of Legislative branch
Introduction to Politics
Dr. Taeko Hiroi
Class Notes
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Grecia Sanchez on Sunday April 10, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLS 2310 at University of Texas at El Paso taught by Dr. Taeko Hiroi in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 38 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Politics in Political Science at University of Texas at El Paso.

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Date Created: 04/10/16
CONSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURES At this chapter, we will see what are the fundamental constitutional features of a democratic policy, what their consequences are, and their processes. REQUIREMENTS FOR A DEMOCRATIC POLICY  Has to have the principles of the Constitution (it has to agree at least on the way rulers are going to be elected, how they are going to resolve problems, and the way they are going to enact policies)  Different interests have to be heard  Government has to be effective (the gov has to be able to enact policies, otherwise it is not doing anything for its citizens; if there are no rules that represent our interests the government is not being effective)  Regulative government (the power has to be divided into its three branches) and it has to have transparency (a form in which the government can be accountable to its citizens) CONSTITUTION  Every country has it  Enacts the basic rules and structures of the country   Some countries may abandon its current constitution to make another one more suitable to its needs  Some constitutions are thin, other rough   May be codified (the constitution contains all policies) or uncodified (unwritten constitution; structure may be found in different sources like traditions or papers. This type of constitution is rarely used nowadays) FEATURES OF CONSTITUTION  Separation or fusion of powers (it either states the division of the three branches or It states the conjunction of one unique power)  System of government (it can be presidential or parliament) PRESIDENTIAL PARLIAMENT Has three branches Fusion of powers Population elects presidents There  is  only  one  election  concerning population Population   also   elects   members   of Prime Minister directs the government Congress President   is   accountable   to   us,   the Prime Minister is chosen by the members population of the Parliament President has fixed terms (4 years), same Members of Parliament are chosen by as   Congress   members;   House   of the population (the only election) Representatives (2 years) and Senate (6 years) Constitution   structures   powers   of   the There are no fixed terms President President has the veto power (bills come Prime Minister is also a member of the to president’s desk and he can either veto Parliament the WHOLE bill or approve the WHOLE bill) Partial veto powers: you approve part of There is the vote of no confidence (if the the legislation and veto the other part government is weak, the Parliament can (you can pick). This power is not held for give the vote of no confidence to the the US president. Prime Minister setting again elections at the Parliament for a new Prime Minister) US president does not have the power to Prime Minister is directly accountable to enact legislation (he has to make friends the Parliament and indirectly accountable at   Congress   so   his   interests   can   be to the populance heard) If the government is weak, nothing gets The strength of the system relies on the done Parliament You may have a predominance of one Political   parties   is   more   likely   to   be specific political party at the Congress equitative (in number of seats at least) If government is weak, Prime Minister is removed   because   of   the   vote   of   no confidence LEGISLATIVE GRIDLOCK  Gridlock can also mean deadlock or stalemate   It consists of the inability of a system to enact law when needed  Perfect example of this is when we think something needs to be done at the city and we don’t see any changes towards this interest  It can create frustration in the citizens since things are staying the same and the problem remains  It is more likely to occur in Presidential system than in Parliament because in Presidential system the government is divided and you have different elections, this creates policy disagreements and people at the front may need more time to solve this issues and we may just not have the same time as they to resolve this. Meanwhile at the Parliament, since you have only one election, it is less likely to have different parties (different interests) at Parliament. CONSTITUTIONAL FEATURES  Legislative branch: represents interests, makes and rejects law, deliberates, and oversees the President  It is important to keep in mind Congress matters (without it, power would only be up to one person and this would be a dictatorship)  The legislative branch can be unicameral and bicameral. Unicameral means there is only one chamber (Costa Rica is an example). Bicameral means there are two chambers (the US is an example). In general, unicameral is predominant is the world. At bicameral countries, lower house tends to be more powerful than upper house. Symmetric within chambers occurs when you have equal power chambers (US) unlike when you have the upper house being in charge of the tradition laws and the lower house which can actually delay laws (UK).


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