Comparative politics at Hochschule Rhein-Waal

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What is a function?

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Why do we compare political systems?

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How did the academic field of
comparative politics evolve?

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Exemplary flashcards for Comparative politics at the Hochschule Rhein-Waal on StudySmarter:

Five approaches in
comparative politics today

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What is an optional referendum?

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What is a majority?

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What is democratization?

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Exemplary flashcards for Comparative politics at the Hochschule Rhein-Waal on StudySmarter:

What are the key charateristics of a parliamentary system?

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What are advantages of parliamentarian systems?

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What are disadvantages of parliamentarian systems?

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What are the key characteristics of a semi-presidential system?

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What does "cohabitation" in a semi-presidential system mean?

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Exemplary flashcards for Comparative politics at the Hochschule Rhein-Waal on StudySmarter:

Comparative politics

What is a function?

Service provided by a subsystem for a supra system.

Comparative politics

Why do we compare political systems?

  1. giving advice to politicians
  2. solving problems
  3. understanding politics
  4. classifying political systems

Comparative politics

How did the academic field of
comparative politics evolve?

  1.  Old Institutionalism (1st half of 20th century)
  2. Behavioural Revolution (1950s - 1980s)
  3. New Institutionalsim (since 1980s)

Comparative politics

Five approaches in
comparative politics today

  1. Institutions
  2. Interests
  3. Ideas
  4. Individuals
  5. International environment
  6. (Interaction)

Comparative politics

What is an optional referendum?

An optional referendum is a referendum which does not by law have to be held, but can be initiated by the government.

Comparative politics

What is a majority?

  • Unanimity: everyone agrees
  • Consensus: no one disagrees
  • Concurrent majority: more than one majority required; eg. double majority in EU Council
  • Absolute majority: more than half of those entitled to vote
  • Simple majority: more than half of those voting
  • Qualified majority: more than a simple majority; eg. two-thirds majority
  • Blocking minority: a minority is able to prevent a proposal from passing
  • Weighted majority: majority after adjusting votes for differences in voting power
  • Plurality: the largest number of votes, but not necessarily a mojirty

Comparative politics

What is democratization?

Democratization is the process of transition from authoritarianism to liberal democracy.

  1. old (authoritarian) political system loses legitimacy, military and policy shift their loyalties and eventually the old system breaks down
  2. alternative liberal-democratic structures and processes are constructed (democratic transition)
  3. new institutions become so embedded in the minds of both elites and masses that democracy becomes "the only game in town" (Prezworski) (democratic consolidation)

Comparative politics

What are the key charateristics of a parliamentary system?

  • Directly elected legislative body
  • Fusion of executive and legislative institutions
  • Collective executive that emerges from the legislature and is responsible to it
  • Separation of head of state and head of government
  • Government is dependent upon the support of parliament
  • A majority in the parliament can force the government to resign (vote of no confidence)

Comparative politics

What are advantages of parliamentarian systems?

  • Stability: Most of the world's stable democraccies are parliamentary systems
  • Efficiency: Fusion of executive and legislative can create strong and effective government
  • Accountability: Direct chain of accountability from voters to parliament to cabinet to prime minister

Comparative politics

What are disadvantages of parliamentarian systems?

  • powerfull excutive: The fusion of the executive and legislative, and a large legislative majority, combined with tight party discipline, can produce leaders with too much power
  • potential instability: parliamentary systems without a legislative majority can be weak and unstable

Comparative politics

What are the key characteristics of a semi-presidential system?

  • Directly elected legislative body
  • Directly elected president
  • Prime minister (and government) who is appointed by the president from the elected legislature and is accountable to the legislature
  • President and prime minister share executive power
  • President can dissolve parliament and call a referendum and has strong emergency powers

Comparative politics

What does "cohabitation" in a semi-presidential system mean?

In semipresidential systems such as that of France, cohabitation entails that the offices of president and prime minister are held by members of competing political parties. Though cohabitation can lead to political crisis, it can also help to bridge ideological divides. For instance, the presidency of Jacques Chirac in France was marked by a long period of cohabitation (1997–2002) that encouraged consensus on a number of issues, such as European policy and foreign affairs.

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