British and American political systems
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25. British and American political systems Great Britain Is a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarch (=a head of the state)The Queen is impartial, she does not rule, acts on advice of her ministers the country is governed, in her name, by the Government today it’s Queen Elizabeth II., in office since 1953The Parliament Consists of the Sovereign (formally) + the House of Lords + the House of Commons The House of Lords Higher, but less powerful, 700 non-elected members Hereditary peers = Lords, or Viscounts, generally those, who’ve inherited their title Life peers = those given the titles for their service in public life, their children do not inherit them Lords spiritual = 2 Archbishops (York, Canterbury) and 24 Bishops The House of Commons Lower, but more powerful, 650 MPs (Members of Parliament) The elections take place at least once in five years Each constituency (a part of Britain) elects one MP The Party, which got the most votes, gets to form the Government (with Prime Minister as its head) 3 main political parties in Britain: the Conservative, the Labour, the Liberal-DemocraticScottish Parliament Democratically elected unicameral legislature located in Edinburgh Its 129 Members cannot decide about foreign policy, only some domesticNational Assembly for Wales Democratically elected devoted assembly of 60 Members Can make legislation in Wales without having to consult with the UK ParliamentNorthern Ireland Assembly Democratically elected unicameral body consisting of 108 Members Has power to legislate in wide area (in such that is not reserved for the UK Parl.) The USA Is a federal republic consisting of 50 states + District of ColumbiaEach state has slightly different laws, education, taxes and governmentEach state government has to keep to the Constitution, it sets the basic form of government – 3 Branches (executive = president, legislative = Congress, judicial = Supr. Court)The federal government deals with the Matters concerning the whole USA (foreign affairs, defence, finance)The President Head of the federal government Elected every 4 Years – maximally twice – by a system called the electoral college Each state has a number of electoral college votes, according to the number of Senators and Representatives in the state Is asked to agree with a bill, can vetoThe Congress (the seat = Capitol Building) America has developed a two-party system: the Democratic and the Republican The House of Representatives Lower, but more important 435 Representatives (Congressmen/women) elected by their states Number of Congressmen elected by one state depends on its size Can decide whether a bill becomes a law The Senate Higher, but less powerful 100 Senators elected by their states Each state has 2 Senators Has to agree with the lower house on order to pass the law to the PresidentThe Supreme Court Watches over the President and the Congress – whether they obey the Constitution