executive factors among France, Germany and the United States
France is one of the most important republics of the European Union and Europe as a continent. Given its historical background, it represented a true inspiration to other European countries and outside Europe regimes, such as for instance Iraq after the fall of the Saddam Hussein administration.
The reason for which the executive organization of the French state represents such an important model is largely connected to the relation between the president, the government, and the parliament.
In this sense, the major issue with the decision to adopt one executive system or another laid in the need for a political balance between "accountability to citizens and protection of their basic rights against the need for government that is strong enough to be effective"
. Therefore, there are three aspects to be taken into account. On the one hand, there is the voting mass which is essential for any type of system because it represents the actual essence of Rousseau's social contract. On the other hand, there is the role of the president to be envisaged. In most situations the role of the president is crucial because it can set the balance between the executive and the legislative powers. Finally, there is also the matter of the parliamentarian control and activity. In this sense, it is important to note that the parliament represents the first subject in the political life.
The semi-presidential republic aims at striking a balance between the symbolic function of representation of the president as opposed to the executive powers it entangles.
The choice of semi-presidential republics is relatively new, as only few countries in Europe chose it for more than half a century. Such examples include France, Finland, or Portugal
. This is largely due to the fact that in effect semi-presidential countries imply an increased power of the president in the executive branch. This in turn enables a more comprehensive role for the executive and the actions taken in this sense imply a less important accountability issue.
France is an important example of semi-presidential republic. In this case, the president is directly elected by the people but at the same time it exercises executive attributions. Unlike the other body directly elected by the people which are the parliament, the president is fully implicated in the activities of the government.
The president is the head of the state; he represents the state at the highest level of foreign policy which means that he is also in charge of foreign policy affairs. This is an important issue because it offers the precise perspective of the role of the president. However, in semi-presidential systems, such as France, the role of the president is much extended. It includes a strong connection with the executive branch as he is the one to name the prime minister. In this sense, there is a better understanding between the two entities and often disputes on matters of internal politics do not take place.
The role of the president, especially in France is very important. This is largely due to the influence he has on the political life. He appoints the prime minister who in turn should propose for approval his own choice of ministers. More precisely, the Constitution states that "On the recommendation of the Prime Minister, he shall appoint the other members of the Government and terminate their appointments"
This is a crucial moment because it offers the niche of agreement for the new government.
The semi-presidential model is now spreading throughout Europe, especially among the newly democratized countries from the former communist bloc. The choice for semi-presidency is relevant because at the moment of the fall of communism there had to be a strong power to deal with executive matter and from this point-of-view, the president is the person which bears the most legitimacy because he is elected by all the population. In turn, unlike the Parliament he holds the executive power. From this perspective the legitimacy with the actual power of the president enabled these post communist countries to have a stronger grip on the changing events
Another important element of the semi-presidential republic and thus of France is the power to dissolve the National Assembly. In this sense, the Constitution of the French republic states that "the President of the Republic may, after consulting the Prime Minister and the Presidents of the Houses of Parliament, declare the National Assembly dissolved"
. This aspect is important because it represents the element of control towards the Parliament. From this perspective it can be considered that the President holds superior rights on the Parliament. However, such events occur only in situations such as in 1968 when the French people were called to the polling stations twice in less than two years.
The United States
The United States is a particular case for the study of politics because it offers one of the most interesting systems of government around the world.
The executive branch is represented most importantly by the President of the United States. In this sense, as stated in the Constitution, "the executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four years…together with the Vice President"
. The Cabinet led by the Vice President is the other part of the executive body. The increased role of the President, even if the Constitution had always envisaged it as strong, became visible during the presidency of F.D. Roosevelt who experienced the Big Crisis and thus the New Deal projects
. At that time, there was a need for an increased role of the president, one which was legally supplied by the Constitution.
The president and therefore the vice president and the Cabinet are directly elected by the people. Unlike other countries, the United States holds elections not for the parliament but rather for the president and for the executive branch. In this respect, it is important to note the issue of responsibility which could be considered at a higher degree as the semi-presidential republics. The President, given his direct link to the people, is also directly accountable. This has had a major importance in the last decades in terms of elections because it influenced the presidential candidates because it offered them a different and more in touch experience with the voters. More precisely, the candidacies and the run off to the elections are more people oriented
. Finally, this is one of the major points in terms of popularity and voters' choice throughout the four-year mandate.
The executive branch is built also on the 15 departments which are run by the Vice President. They include the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, among others
. The legislative body however, represents an independent part of the U.S. administration and while the latter can impeach the president, the former has limited powers in this sense.
Germany has a well defined structure in terms of the executive body and the scheme of the administration. Firstly, this is largely due to the fact that the administration is federal. This implies a delegation of authority from the central to the local. From this point-of-view, it resembles the United States. However, the government and thus the executive branch are different.
Secondly, while in both cases studied previously, the President had increased powers in terms of executive authority, in the German system, the president is more or less a symbolic function. The executive power is held by the Chancellor.
Thirdly, it is important to note that the administrative scheme of the German state allows for a different allocation of authority largely due to the fact that the country is divided in particular administrative territories which also allow the election system to choose its representative. Unlike the U.S., the German system however, does not offer increased powers to the federal authorities. Better said, "while most of responsibility for policy making and legislation lies at the federal government level, it has no formal leverage on policy co-ordination on the local level. The federal government and its ministries do not have field offices of their own (on the regional or local level) through which co-ordination might be effected. Moreover, the federal government has no formal power to oversee the implementation of its policies since, according to the federal division of functions, carrying out federal policies and legislation falls to the Lander (and from the Lander to the local authorities)
The clear separation of authority from the federal level to the regional one is also visible in the way in which the parliament is elected and structured. In this sense, the Parliament is represented by sixteen Lander parliaments with governments at the local level. This is an important aspect because it reveals the decentralization of authority at the local level.
The Chancellor is the most powerful and influential political figure in Germany. Unlike the president, the Chancellor is part of the most important political party or…