Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Opposition-less Government?

One reason to oppose the so-called "joint government":

Power House

When Kenya convulsed with violence after its flawed election in late December, many expressed surprise that one of Africa’s most stable countries could so quickly fall victim to ethnic hatred. But political scientists Steven Fish and Matthew Kroenig noted something else: a feeble legislature. Despite the opposition winning twice as many legislative seats as the president’s party, opposition members still took to the streets. Why? Because they wanted the only office that has any power in the country: the presidency.

In a groundbreaking new study, Fish and Kroenig rank the power of 158 national legislatures around the world, based on a survey completed by more than 700 country experts. The strength of parliaments and congresses is measured
using four groups of factors: influence over the executive (such as powers of impeachment), autonomy (such as whether the executive can dissolve parliament), vested powers (such as the power to declare war), and the capability to get things done (such as having the resources to hire staff).

They find that countries with strong legislatures are far more likely to have resilient democracies. Weak legislatures often cannot keep executives in check, especially when autocratic leaders come to power. “This decade, the great enemies of democracy are presidents,” says Fish, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “If you have a legislature that’s vested with the power to stand up to them, you can keep democracy on track.”

The title of world’s most powerful legislature is a tie between Italy, Germany, and, curiously, Mongolia, where the 1992 constitution created an especially healthy parliament, thanks in part to fears that China or Russia could easily manipulate a strong president. At the bottom of the list sit Burma and Somalia. The U.S. Congress is outranked by 40 other national legislatures, scoring poorly in part because its laws are not veto proof.

Fish and Kroenig believe that countries with stronger parliaments may also be less prone to civil wars and might even be more disposed to economic growth. “We haven’t yet found anything wrong with having a strong legislature,”says Fish. It may be that the best advice for any young democracy is to make sure not to build a House of cards.

Foreign Policy Magazine - March/April Edition (hervee garahguy baival download deer ni darj baigaad uzeerey)


Ачболд said...

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