Sunday, 24 June 2012

Political Institutions

Capitol Building in Washington D.C. 

I. Introduction

Some countries in the world believe that democracy is the best form of government in which presidential democracy or parliamentary democracy is used to fit with situation of each country. United States is a good example of presidential democracy which the President has strong power to make decision in administration, military action, and also can exert veto power to the legislature. On the other hand, most democratic countries have preferred parliamentary democracy in which a Prime Minister is dependent on the vote of confidence of the Parliament elected by the people. Another interesting case is that some parliamentary democracies have monarchy who acts as head of state such as United Kingdom, Japan, Cambodia, Malaysia, etc. In addition, some countries have mixed system between the two constitutional designs by having the President and the Prime Minister as can be seen in France and other countries. According to changing domestic situations, there are also cases that some countries have switched from parliamentary system to presidential system (i.e. Sri Langka), but we rarely see the reverse case (president to parliament). Both systems have their own pro and con which are under comprehensive discussion and study by some scholars as follows:

Saturday, 2 June 2012

What is Political Culture?

Political Parties in Cambodia. The red dot indicates parties who competed in the Commune Council Election on 3 June 2012.

Photo of Commune Council Election on 3 June 2012 in Cambodia 

In general, different cultures and traditions, custom, beliefs, and values have been found among different countries and regions. Political regimes such as democracy and authoritarianism have been strengthened or eroded according to popular support and their thinking in a country with comparison to other countries in the region. Political moves are affected by the ways of thinking, attitudes, beliefs, and practices of political decision makers and the views and participation of the whole population.  As economic development can have positive impact on the sustainability of democracy, political culture, which has entrenched in a society consisting of different classes and religions, is also an important factor for social and political development. In some countries, such as United States and Great Britain, democracy has been firmly established and continued to be improved with high stability due to strong political culture of democracy which have existed a long time in the history. However, Western political culture may not be the same as that of Asia, in which during the period of cold war, communism and authoritarianism was the dominant political regimes. How about political culture in Cambodia? I leave the answer to all readers after go through this discussion article. The issue of political culture has been the major topic of discussion and studies by many scholars such as Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba, Larry Diamond, Yu-tzung Chang et al., and Amaney Jamal and Mark Tessler. Is there a democratic political culture – a pattern of political attitudes that fosters democratic stability, which in some way fits the democratic political system?  Has the growth of democratic legitimacy in East Asia stagnated or even eroded? What do East Asians think of how democracy works in their countries? Is popular support for democracy deeply rooted in a liberal-democratic political culture?