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How does the parliamentary system work?

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Quick Answer

In a parliamentary system, legislative bodies are elected by the people, and they then elect one of their own members to be the prime minister or executive leader. Additionally, the prime minister's cabinet is elected by the legislature from its own members.

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Full Answer

Once an executive officer or cabinet member has been elected in a parliamentary government, he is answerable directly to parliament for his actions. In most cases, the prime minister is also the leader of his party, which may lead to some polarization in leadership. If the prime minister loses the support of the legislature, he must call immediate elections. An unpopular prime minister can also be removed from office by losing his seat in the parliament. Parliamentary systems often include a president or monarch as the ceremonial head of state, as in Great Britain's constitutional monarchy.

Parliamentary systems of government find it easier and faster to pass laws and legislation. This is often helpful in a heavily divided nation, but it also results in the inability of the party not in power to stop bad legislation. Parliamentary systems are also an easy transitional system for nations that are moving away from monarchies and dictatorships, as such systems immediately dilute the amount of power held in any one person's hands but still allow for a ceremonial monarchy to exist.

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