The Westminster system is a democratic, parliamentary system of government modelled after that of the United Kingdom system, as used in the Palace of Westminster, the location of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Democracy is a form of government in which the supreme power is held completely by the people under a free electoral system TalkParliament#Screen-size. -->A  parliament is a Legislature, especially in those The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom and British overseas territories The system is a series of procedures for operating a legislature. A legislature is a type of representative Deliberative assembly with the power to create amend and change Laws The law created by a legislature is called Legislation It is used, or was once used, in the national legislatures and/or sub-national legislatures of most Commonwealth and ex-Commonwealth nations, beginning with the Canadian provinces and Australian Colonies in the mid-19th century when they were colonies. Examples of administrative divisions English terms In many of the following terms corresponding to British cultural influence areas of relatively low mean population Country to "Dominion of Canada" or "Canadian Federation" or anything else please read the Talk Page The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world's second largest country in total area. The written history of Australia began when Dutch explorers first sighted the country in the 17th century There are other parliamentary systems whose procedures differ considerably from the Westminster system. A parliamentary system, also known as parliamentarianism (and parliamentarism in American English) is a System of government in which
Important features of the Westminster system include the following, although not all of the following aspects have been preserved in every Westminster-derived system:
Most of the procedures of the Westminster system have originated with the conventions, practices and precedents of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which are a part of what is known as the Constitution of the United Kingdom. A convention is a set of agreed, stipulated or generally accepted Standards norms social norms or criteria, often taking the form of In Common law legal systems, a precedent or authority is a Legal case establishing a principle or rule that a Court or other judicial The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom and British overseas territories The constitution of the United Kingdom is the set of laws and principles under which the United Kingdom is governed Unlike the unwritten British constitution, most countries that use the Westminster system have codified the system in a written constitution. An unwritten constitution is a Constitution made by means of many laws passed over time to decide how things are run in the Government. In Law, codification is the process of collecting and restating the law of a Jurisdiction in certain areas usually by subject forming a Legal code. A constitution is a system for government often Codified as a written document that establishes the rules and principles of an autonomous political entity
However, uncodified conventions, practices and precedents continue to play a significant role in most countries, as many constitutions do not specify important elements of procedure: for example, some older constitutions using the Westminster system do not mention the existence of the cabinet and/or the prime minister, because these offices were taken for granted by the authors of these constitutions.
The pattern of executive functions within a Westminster System is quite complex. In essence, the head of state, usually a monarch or president, is a ceremonial figurehead who is the theoretical, nominal or de jure source of executive power within the system. Head of state is the generic term for the individual or collective office that serves as the chief public representative of a Monarchic or Republican Nation-state President is a Title leaders of Organizations companies, Trade unions universities, and countries. In practice, such a figure does not actively exercise executive powers, even though executive authority may be exercised in his/her name.
The head of government, usually called the prime minister or premier, will ideally have the support of a majority in the responsible house, and must in any case be able to ensure the existence of no absolute majority against the government. This article focuses on the cases where the Head of Government is a separate office from the Head of State This article is about the government position For other uses see Prime Minister (disambiguation. A premier is a title for the Head of government in some countries An absolute majority or majority of the entire membership (in American English, a Supermajority Voting requirement is a Voting basis If the parliament passes a resolution of no confidence, or refuses to pass an important bill such as the budget, then the government must either resign so that a different government can be appointed or seek a parliamentary dissolution so that new general elections may be held in order to re-confirm or deny the government's mandate. A motion of no confidence (also vote of no confidence, censure motion, no-confidence motion, or confidence motion) is a Parliamentary motion For other uses see Bill. A bill is a proposed new law introduced within a Legislature that has not been ratified, adopted Budget (from French bougette, purse generally refers to a list of all planned expenses and revenues In Parliamentary systems a dissolution of parliament is the dispersal of a Legislature at the call of an Election.
Executive authority within a Westminster System is essentially exercised by the Cabinet, along with more junior ministers, although the head of government usually has the dominant role within the ministry. A minister or a secretary is a Politician who holds significant public office in a national or regional Government. In the United Kingdom, the sovereign theoretically holds executive authority, even though the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Cabinet effectively implement executive powers. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the political leader of the United Kingdom In the Politics of the United Kingdom, the Cabinet is a formal body composed of the most senior government ministers chosen by the Prime Minister In a parliamentary republic like India, the President is the de jure executive, even though executive powers are essentially instituted by the Prime Minister of India and the Council of Ministers. A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a form of a Republic which operates under a Parliamentary system of government India, officially the Republic of India (भारत गणराज्य inc-Latn Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also other Indian languages) is a country The President of India or Rashtrapati ( Hindi: राष्ट्रपति a Sanskrit Neologism, lit The Prime Minister of India is head of the Council of Ministers, appointed by the President to assist the latter in the administration of the affairs of the executive Cabinet ministers Manmohan Singh - Prime Minister and also in-charge of the Ministries/ Departments not specifically allocated to the charge of any Minister
As an exemplar, the Prime Minister and Cabinet (as the de facto executive body in the system) generally must seek the permission of the head of state when carrying out executive functions. If, for instance the British Prime Minister wished to dissolve parliament in order for a general election to take place, the Prime Minister is constitutionally bound to request permission from the sovereign in order to attain such a wish. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the political leader of the United Kingdom In Parliamentary systems a dissolution of parliament is the dispersal of a Legislature at the call of an Election. A general election is an Election in which all or most members of a given political body are up for election TalkCommonewalth realm.--> The monarchy This power (along with others such as appointing ministers in the government, appointing diplomats, declaring war, and signing treaties, for example) are known as the Royal Prerogative, which in modern times are exerised by the sovereign solely on the advice of the Prime Minister. A minister or a secretary is a Politician who holds significant public office in a national or regional Government. Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting Negotiations between representatives of groups or states War is an international relations Dispute, characterized by organized Violence between National Military units A Treaty is an agreement under International law entered into by actors in international law namely States and International organizations. The Royal Prerogative is a body of customary authority privilege and immunity recognised in Common law and sometimes in Civil law jurisdictions possessing a monarchy Since the British sovereign is a constitutional monarch, he or she abides by the advice of his or her ministers, except when executing reserve powers in times of crisis. A constitutional monarchy, or a limited monarchy, is a form of Constitutional Government, wherein either an elected or hereditary Monarch is In a parliamentary or semi-presidential system of Government, a reserve power is a power that may be exercised by the Head of state without the
This custom also occurs in other Westminster Systems in the world, in consequence from the influence of British colonial rule. The British Empire was the largest empire in history and for over a century was the foremost global power. In Commonwealth Realms such as Canada, New Zealand or Australia, the Prime Minister is obligated to seek permission from the Governor-General when implementing executive decisions, in a manner similar to the British practice. A Commonwealth realm is any one of 16 sovereign states within the Commonwealth of Nations that each have Elizabeth II as their respective Monarch Country to "Dominion of Canada" or "Canadian Federation" or anything else please read the Talk Page New Zealand is an Island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses (the North Island and the South Island For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Australia topics. The term governor general or governor-general refers to a vice-regal representative of a Monarch in an independent realm or a major colonial circonscription An analogous scenario also exists in Commonwealth Republics, such as India or Trinidad and Tobago. A Commonwealth republic is any one of the 31 sovereign states of the Commonwealth of Nations with a Republican form of government India, officially the Republic of India (भारत गणराज्य inc-Latn Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also other Indian languages) is a country The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (ˈtrɪnɪdæd ən təˈbeɪgoʊ is an archipelagic state in the southern Caribbean, lying northeast of the South American
The head of state will often hold meetings with the head of government and cabinet, as a means of keeping abreast of governmental policy and as a means of advising, consulting and warning ministers in their actions. Such a practice takes place in the United Kingdom and India. In the UK, the sovereign holds confidential weekly meetings with the Prime Minister to discuss governmental policy and to offer her opinions and advice on issues of the day. In India, the Prime Minister is constitutionally bound to hold regular sessions with the President, in a similar manner to the aforementioned British practice. In essence, the head of state, as the theoretical executive authority, "reigns but does not rule". This phrase means that the head of state's role in government is generally ceremonial and as a result does not directly institute executive powers. The reserve powers of the head of state are sufficient to ensure compliance with some of their wishes. In a parliamentary or semi-presidential system of Government, a reserve power is a power that may be exercised by the Head of state without the However, the extent of such powers varies from one country to another and is often a matter of controversy.
Such an executive arrangement first emerged in the United Kingdom. Historically, the British sovereign held and directly exercised all executive authority. TalkCommonewalth realm.--> The monarchy George I of Great Britain was the first British monarch to delegate some executive powers to a Prime Minister and a cabinet of the ministers, largely because he was also the monarch of Hanover in Germany and did not speak fluent English. George I (George Louis German Georg Ludwig; 28 May 1660 &ndash 11 June 1727 For the first year of his life George was the only heir to his father's and three childless Hanover (i ( haˈnoːfɐ on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony ( Niedersachsen Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany ( ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant is a Country in Central Europe. English is a West Germanic language originating in England and is the First language for most people in the United Kingdom, the United States Over time, arrangement continued to exercise executive authority on the sovereign's behalf. Such a concept was reinforced in The English Constitution (1876) by Walter Bagehot, who emphasised the "dignified" and "efficient" aspects of government. The English Constitution is a Book by Walter Bagehot. Written in 1867, it explores the Constitution of the United Kingdom In this sense Bagehot was stating that the sovereign should be a focal point for the nation, while the PM and cabinet actually undertook executive decisions. A nation is a Human Cultural and Social Community. In as much as most members never meet each other yet feel a common bond it may be considered
The head of state or his/her representative (such as a governor general), formally invites the head of government to form a government (that is, an administration). Head of state is the generic term for the individual or collective office that serves as the chief public representative of a Monarchic or Republican Nation-state The term governor general or governor-general refers to a vice-regal representative of a Monarch in an independent realm or a major colonial circonscription This article focuses on the cases where the Head of Government is a separate office from the Head of State The term administration, as used in the context of Government, differs according to Jurisdiction. In the UK, this is known as kissing hands. There are notable exceptions to the above in the Republic of Ireland, where the President of Ireland has a mandate through direct election, and the Taoiseach (prime minister) prior to appointment by the President of Ireland is nominated by the democratically elected lower house, Dáil Éireann. The President of Ireland (Uachtarán na hÉireann n̪ˠə ˈheːɾʲən̪ˠ is the Head of state of Ireland. In Politics, a mandate is the Authority granted by an Electorate to act as its representative. Direct election is a term describing a system of choosing political officeholders in which the voters directly cast ballots for the person persons or political party that they desire to The Taoiseach (ˈtiːʃəx in English t̪ˠiːʃʲəx (plural Taoisigh ( or) in Irish) also referred to as An Taoiseach ( t̪ˠiːʃʲəx is the the ga '''Dáil Éireann''' ( English House of Representatives of Ireland) is the principal chamber of the Oireachtas (Irish parliament
Because of the mandate and the potentially significant constitutional powers of the Irish president, some authorities believe the Irish constitution is as similar to semi-presidential systems as it is to Westminster. The semi-presidential system is a System of government in which a prime minister and a President are both active participants in the day-to-day administration Similarly, under the constitutions of some Commonwealth countries, a president or Governor-General may possess clearly significant reserve powers. In a parliamentary or semi-presidential system of Government, a reserve power is a power that may be exercised by the Head of state without the One example is the Australian constitutional crisis of 1975, in which the Governor-General dismissed the Prime Minister, who held a majority in the Australian House of Representatives. The House of Representatives is one of the two houses (chambers of the Parliament of Australia; it is the Lower house, the Upper house being the Senate Because of differences in their written constitutions, the formal powers of presidents and Governors-General vary greatly from one country to another. However, as Governors-Generals are not directly elected, they lack the popular mandate held, for example, by an Irish president. Because of this, Governors-General rarely risk the public disapproval which would result from them making unilateral and/or controversial uses of their powers.
Although the dissolution of the legislature and the call for new elections is formally done by the head of state, by convention the head of state acts according to the wishes of the head of government.
In exceptional circumstances the head of state may either refuse a dissolution request, as in the Canadian King-Byng Affair, or dismiss the government, as in the Australian crisis of 1975. The King-Byng Affair was a Canadian Constitutional crisis that occurred in 1926 when the Governor General of Canada, Lord Byng of Vimy, refused Either action is likely to bend or break existing conventions. The Lascelles Principles were an attempt to create a convention to cover similar situations, but have not been tested in practice. The Lascelles Principles are a constitutional convention in the United Kingdom describing the circumstances under which a monarch may refuse a request from a
In The English Constitution, Bagehot emphasised the divide of the constitution into two components: the Dignified (that part which is symbolic) and the Efficient (the way things actually work and get done) and called the Efficient "Cabinet Government". A cabinet is a body of high-ranking members of Government, typically representing the executive branch.  Although there have been many works since emphasising different aspects of the "Efficient", no one has seriously questioned Bagehot's premise that the divide exists in the Westminster system.
Members of the Cabinet are collectively seen as responsible for government policy. All Cabinet decisions are made by consensus, a vote is never taken in a Cabinet meeting. All ministers, whether senior and in the Cabinet, or junior ministers, must support the policy of the government publicly regardless of any private reservations. When a Cabinet reshuffle is imminent, a lot of time is taken up in the conversations of politicians and in the news media, speculating on who will, or will not, be moved in and out of the Cabinet by the Prime Minister, because the appointment of ministers to the Cabinet and threat of dismissal from the Cabinet, is the single most powerful constitutional power which a Prime Minister has in the political control of the Government in the Westminster system. In the Parliamentary system a cabinet shuffle or reshuffle is an informal term for an event that occurs when a Head of government rotates or changes the
Linked to Cabinet government is the idea, at least in theory, that ministers are responsible for the actions of their departments. It is no longer considered to be an issue of resignation if the actions of members of their department, over whom the minister has no direct control, make mistakes or formulate procedures which are not in accordance with agreed policy decisions. One of the major powers of the Prime Minister under the Westminster system is to decide when a fellow minister is accountable for the actions of a department.
The Official Opposition and other major political parties not in the Government, will mirror the governmental organisation with their own Shadow Cabinet made up of Shadow Ministers. Parliamentary opposition is a form of political opposition to a designated government particularly in a Westminster -based Parliamentary system The Shadow Cabinet (also called the Shadow Front Bench) is a senior group of opposition spokespeople in the Westminster system of government who together under the
In a Westminster system, some members of parliament are elected by popular vote, while others are appointed. All Westminster-based parliaments have a lower house with powers based on those of the House of Commons (under various names), comprising local, elected representatives of the people. A lower house is one of two chambers of a Bicameral Legislature, the other chamber being the Upper house. The House of Commons' is the Lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords Most also have a smaller upper house, which is made up of members chosen by various methods:
In Britain, the lower house is the de facto legislative body, while the upper house practices restraint in exercising its constitutional powers and serves as a consultative body. The Senate of Canada (Le Sénat du Canada is a component of the Parliament of Canada, along with the sovereign (represented by the governor general The House of Lords is the second house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and is also commonly referred to as "the Lords" The Senate is the upper of the two houses of the Parliament of Australia. The Rajya Sabha (meaning the "Council of States" is the Upper house of the Parliament of India. In other Westminster countries, however, the upper house can sometimes exercise considerable power.
Some Westminster-derived parliaments are unicameral for two reasons:
Australia is exceptional because a prime minister must have an upper house (Senate of Australia) which is willing to pass budgets. The Senate is the upper of the two houses of the Parliament of Australia. Although government is formed in the lower house (Australian House of Representatives), the support of the Senate is necessary in order to govern. The House of Representatives is one of the two houses (chambers of the Parliament of Australia; it is the Lower house, the Upper house being the Senate To cite the prime example of its powers, the Senate maintains an ability similar to that held by the U.S. Senate (or the British House of Lords prior to 1911), to "block supply" (access to government revenue), to the government of the day. The United States Senate is the Upper house of the bicameral United States Congress, the Lower house being the House of Representatives Public finance is a field of economics concerned with paying for collective or governmental activities and with the administration and design of those activities A government which is unable to obtain supply can be dismissed by the governor-general - however this is generally used as a last resort and is a highly controversial decision to take, given that the government has a mandate from the electorate to govern. The term governor general or governor-general refers to a vice-regal representative of a Monarch in an independent realm or a major colonial circonscription Many political scientists have held that the Australian system of government was consciously devised as a blend or hybrid of the Westminster and the United States systems of government, especially since the Australian Senate is a powerful upper house like the U. The Politics of Australia take place within the framework of parliamentary democracy. The federal government of the United States is the central United States Governmental body established by the United States Constitution. S. Senate; this notion is expressed in the nickname "Washminster system". The ability of upper houses to block supply also features in the parliaments of most Australian states. The Parliaments of the Australian states and territories are legislative bodies within the federal framework of the Commonwealth of Australia.
The Westminster system is often criticised for breeding a variety of political cultures which undermine its effectiveness as a truly democratic and accountable system. Political culture can be defined as "The orientation of the citizens of a nation toward politics and their perceptions of political legitimacy and the traditions of political
The office of a Westminster prime minister is often criticised for being too powerful. As mentioned above, as he or she effectively determines when "consensus" is reached in cabinet, cabinet members do not have much independence to actively disagree with government policy, even for productive reasons. A cabinet member may be forced to resign simply for opposing one aspect of a government's agenda, even though he agrees with the majority of other proposals. Westminster cabinets also have a tendency to be very large, mostly for partisan reasons. As cabinet is the chief organ of power and influence in the government, members of parliament may resent being mere "back benchers" and thus actively lobby for a position in cabinet once their party is elected to power. The Westminster system is a democratic Parliamentary system of Government modelled after the British government (the Parliament of the United The Prime Minister, who is also party leader, will have an active interest in promoting as many members of the party to cabinet as possible, which critics argue undermines the idea of a cabinet driven by meritocracy. Meritocracy is a system of a government or another organization wherein Appointments are made and responsibilities are given based on demonstrated talent and Ability
Westminster governments usually do not have a very strong tradition of separation of powers, in practice. Separation of powers, a term ascribed to French Enlightenment Political philosopher Baron de Montesquieu, is a model for the Governance Though the head of state, be it governor-general, monarch, or president, will have nominal powers to "check" those of the prime minister, in practice these individuals are usually regarded as little more than figureheads who are not expected to actively intervene in day-to-day politics, often because they lack a popular democratic mandate to do so (governors-general are usually appointed upon the advice of the prime minister, while most Westminster presidents are chosen by parliament). In politics a figurehead, by Metaphor with the carved figurehead at the prow of a sailing ship is a person who holds an important title or office yet executes little Without an active check on the executive power of the prime minister, it is argued, the PM can in effect rule largely unquestioned. In Political science and Constitutional law, the executive is the branch of government responsible for the day-to-day management of the State. In particular, the ability of a Westminster prime minister to freely appoint a large variety of individuals, such as judges, cabinet ministers, and other senior bureaucrats, has long been a matter of political contention in nations such as India, Canada, and Australia. India, officially the Republic of India (भारत गणराज्य inc-Latn Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also other Indian languages) is a country Country to "Dominion of Canada" or "Canadian Federation" or anything else please read the Talk Page For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Australia topics.
The threat posed by non-confidence votes is often used to justify extremely well-disciplined legislative parties in Westminster systems. In order to ensure the government always has the confidence of the majority of the house, the political culture of Westminster nations often makes it highly unusual for a legislator to vote against their party. Critics argue this in turn undermines the freedom and importance of Members of Parliament (MPs) in day-to-day legislating, making cabinet the only organ of government where individual legislators can aspire to influence the decisions of the government. A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters to a Parliament. This in turn breeds an obsession with "getting in" cabinet, as mentioned above. Likewise, strong party discipline obviously ensures that no-confidence votes are very rare, though this also eliminates the usefulness of such votes as an active way of holding an incumbent government accountable. Party discipline is the ability of the Parliamentary group of a Political party to get its members to support the policies of the party leadership
Lastly, legislative committees in Westminster systems tend to be weak, as most senior policy will be made at the cabinet level, regardless of what individual MPs may or may not decide in committee. Their greatest power is often the ability to force a government to reveal certain pieces of information.
The Westminster system has a very distinct appearance when functioning, with many British customs incorporated into day-to-day government function. A Westminster-style parliament is usually a long, rectangular room, with two rows of seats and desks on either side. The chairs are positioned so that the two rows are facing each other. The intended purpose of this arrangement is to create a visual representation of the adversarial nature of parliamentary government. Traditionally, the opposition parties will sit in one row of seats, and the government party will sit in the other. Of course, sometimes a majority government is so large that it must use the "opposition" seats as well. In the Westminster System, there is a majority government when the governing party enjoys an Absolute majority of seats in the Legislature or In the lower house at Westminster (the House of Commons) there are lines on the floor in front of the government and opposition benches that members may cross only when exiting the chamber. It is often rumoured that the distance between the lines is that of the length of two swords although no documentary evidence exists to support this and in fact, weapons have never been allowed in the Palace of Westminster at any time.
At one end of the room sits a large chair, for the Speaker of the House. Speaker of the House is a political term referring to a number of people In the United Kingdom and Canada, the Speaker of the House The speaker usually wears a black robe, and in many countries, a wig. A wig is a head of Hair made from horse-hair human hair wool feathers buffalo hair or synthetic worn on the head for fashion or various other aesthetic and stylistic Robed parliamentary clerks often sit at narrow tables between the two rows of seats, as well. Clerk, the vocational title commonly refers to a White-collar worker who conducts general office or in some instances sales tasks
Other ceremonies sometimes associated with the Westminster system include an annual Speech from the Throne (or equivalent) in which the Head of State gives a special address (written by the government) to parliament about what kind of policies to expect in the coming year, and lengthy State Opening of Parliament ceremonies that often involve the presentation of a large ceremonial mace. In the United Kingdom, the State Opening of Parliament is an annual event held usually in October or November that marks the commencement of a session of the Parliament The ceremonial mace is a highly ornamented staff of metal and wood carried before a sovereign or other high official in civic ceremonies by a Mace-bearer, intended