Abstract
Like the American system ours is federal: i.e., there are two levels of government, neither of which can change the powers of the other or make laws within certain fields assigned to the other. The British system is 'unitary': the British parliament can make laws on any matter, local government has whatever powers the national government delegates to it. Like the British, ours is a system of responsible government . The Government (the Prime Minister and cabinet) is 'responsible' to parliament. This means that at any time, simply by vote of no confidence, carried on whatever grounds, the parliament can remove the Government from office or force it to call an election. In the American system the head of the executive Government, the President, cannot be removed by the Congress (except by impeachment, which requires a kind of trial). As in the British system, a general election can be called at any time (by the Governor General, on the advice of the Prime Minister). There is a maximum term by which an election must be called, but an election can be held short of term. This makes the parliament responsible to the electorate -- for example, if Government policy that has general community support is blocked by the opposition or minor parties, the Government can appeal to the electorate. In the American system the terms of office of the House of Representatives, Senate, and President are all 'fixed', so that an early election cannot be held. If a President dies or resigns, the Vice President serves out the remaining part of his term. There are no circumstances in which the American President can dissolve Congress and call an early election. The U.S. constitution has separation of powers , i.e., the members of the Executive (in our terms, the Government) do not have seats in Congress or participate in its sessions, and they are not removable by Congress and cannot dissolve Congress. The Judiciary is also separate from both Executive and Congress (though judges are appointed by the Senate on the nomination of the President, and can in exceptional cases be removed)..
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