The United Kingdom and France share numerous differences, although they are both democratic countries. The most notable distinction between the two nations is that the U.K. governance system functions as a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. The French political system can be referred to as a semi-presidential republic.
The Three Powers:
A monarch leads the U.K. government in principle. This leader serves more as a figurehead in the modern world, mainly concerning themselves with ceremonial duties. The Prime Minister holds the powers of the executive. The leader of the monarch cannot interfere with Parliament. This clause allows the U.K. house of Parliament to enjoy absolute sovereignty. The British refer to this as a fusion of powers. The system offers checks and balances by drawing the executive brand from the legislative branch. This task makes the PM answerable to both chambers of Parliament. Before 2010, the U.K. did not have a Supreme Court. This feature meant that the Speaker of Parliament was also burdened with leading the judicial branch of government.
France operates differently as they face elections to put a person in the presidency. A popularly elected individual will often emerge as France’s head of state and government. The French system is set up to provide executive powers to the President of France. The British and French have Prime Ministers; however, they are appointed differently. In Britain, the citizens vote for their PM, whilst in France, he is set by the President’s executive power. In the French political system, the PM is obligated to name the cabinet ministers.
France’s executive comprises a president, prime minister and cabinet. This system differs from the U.K. as the executive cannot interfere with any legislature. It is the job of the PM and cabinet ministers to choose the direction of domestic policy. To have any bills passed, they have to pass through Parliament.
The critical difference is that the French separation of powers is significantly defined. There is minimal overlap in the branches of government. Their system can be referred to as “semi-presidential” because they are still answerable to Parliament; however, this only applies to some executive elements. If summoned in the French system, the prime minister and cabinet ministers must appear before Parliament.
France’s democracy places a considerable amount of power in the hands of its President.
An example of a fully presidential system is the United States. The President is not obligated to appear before Congress unless facing a vote of no confidence/impeachment. This is very different to Britain and other European states. The PM of Britain does not have the power to force bills rejected by the National Assembly. The French President can do this and call for reviews of bills they do not support. Although this action is only possible once every bill is passed, it still makes the French President considerably more powerful than the British PM in decision-making.
The British system mainly employs a two political party concept. Independent candidates are available; however, fewer and bigger parties have dominated the political climate for the last 90 years. The two main political parties in the U.K. are the biggest and often produce the most number of members of Parliament. To make decisions in the U.K., there is a need for agreement on behalf of the executive and legislature. These features of their democracy mean that party unity and discipline become essential factors. Legislation is often crafted and passed based on party support within the chambers of Parliament. A well-disciplined governing party can often struggle to get important legislation through because of a rebellious and well-disciplined opposition that makes up a substantial part of their chambers. Scholars have criticised this method because of the volatility it causes in the fusion of powers. The executive’s incumbency is often threatened in situations like these, making it difficult to gain confidence in the PM.
France’s democracy makes use of an executive presidency. This critical factor in their system was developed to promote personal leadership. It rests on giving the President more powers because he was chosen by most of the country. His decision is often final, and if leading political governors are unhappy, they have the right to break away and form their party.
In the British democracy, elections are mandatory every five years. The House of Parliament can move up the date of elections if a twU.K.thirds majority is obtained in the House of Commons. The polls are based on constituencies which mainly contain numerous single-member districts. To become a duly elected member of Parliament, you have to be first-past-the-post. In simple, this means that the aspiring candidate who obtains the most votes becomes a Parliament member.
If any contesting party can obtain a majority of the seats in Parliament, then they are deemed the outright winners. This victory translates to at least 326 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons. This party is then provided with the opportunity to form the next government. They often appoint their most prominent elected members and make them cabinet ministers. One party cannot create the executive if there is no outright victory. In this instance, the government members will be appointed in a coalition. However, in the history of the U.K., this has proven to be less common than in other nations.
The French presidential election is held once every five years. Once the President has been elected, the parliamentary seats are contested approximately one month later. Both the President and members of Parliament serve five-year terms. The French system is widely different from the British one as there are two rounds. The two-round system entails a run-off election if a single candidate fails to gain over 50% in the initial election. In this instance, the two aspiring candidates with the most votes will proceed to a second round. During this time, it is common for defeated presidential candidates to declare their support for one of the remaining two candidates.
In the French electoral system, constituencies come from single-member districts. This is similar to the U.K., except the MPs must also win through the two-round system. The process here differs from the french presidential election as only 12.5% of the eligible electorate is required as a ticket to the next round of elections. In the French system, there is a mixture of results as coalitions, and outright majorities happen equally.