Work with your group to analyze the hypothetical countries below and discuss these questions:
- In which country does the system of representation most closely resemble a parliamentary system? Why?
- In which country does the system of representation most clearly resemble the United States congressional system? Why?
- Refer to Handout A: Background Essay: The Nature of Representation in the U.S. Congress as needed.
|Hypothetical Country A: Transalpinia
|Hypothetical Country B: Tutonia
In Transalpinia, the people elect a president every ten years. Every five years, the people elect members of a legislature, called the National Assembly. The country is divided into 87 departments, and each department sends a number of representatives based on its population. In decades past, the president and most of the members of the National Assembly were from the same political party, and so the president could accomplish much of his legislative agenda. In the last several elections, however, the majority of the Assembly has been from a party in opposition to the president’s party, and so the president has been forced to compromise on her goals.
Does the election system of Transalpinia more closely resemble the United States system of representation, or the parliamentary system of representation? Why?
In Tutonia, elections are held about every five years, but can be held sooner if the governing party decides to do so. At election time, people vote for the political party they prefer, and parties are awarded seats based on the percentage of votes they receive. The members of the legislature elect the chief executive, called the chancellor. The chancellor along with his cabinet members are in charge of enforcing the laws of the country. The chancellor, who is a member of the legislature, is almost always selected from the largest party in the legislature.
Does the election system of Tutonia more closely resemble the United States system of representation, or the parliamentary system of representation? Why?