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April 17, 2019

Honest leadership builds nations; not the form of government

Top Story

April 17, 2019

LAHORE: It is an honest leadership, together with a strong will, flawless justice system and an exemplary mode of governance that holds the key to building successful nations and not the model or form of governments, exclusive research undertaken by the “Jang Group and Geo Television Network” reveals.

Whether nations have full Presidential systems, semi- Presidential systems, parliamentary democracies, Absolute Monarchies, Constitutional Monarchies, One-Party states or military dictatorships, research shows that unless leaders, elected or non-elected, lead from the front by offering themselves for transparent and prompt accountability, countries and their citizens do not prosper and gain lasting respect.

Somehow or the other, for reasons unknown, a debate has suddenly ignited in a section of Pakistani media about switching over to a Presidential system instead of having a bicameral legislature headed by an elected prime minister.

Well, many parliamentarians sitting in Pakistan’s National Assembly (Lower House of Parliament) and the Senate (Upper House of Parliament) many not like this idea of having a Presidential system, but this debate has primarily found roots in the fact that since assuming power in August 2018, the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) regime has succeeded in passing only half a dozen bills in the National Assembly, obviously blocked and resisted by the strong opposition comprising Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N, the Asif Zardari-led PPP and Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam etc.

Yes, the PTI is undoubtedly enjoying a frail majority in the Lower House, rendering it incapacitated numerically to call shots freely, but the political entities constituting the rather strong and vocal Pakistani Opposition are least amused with the National Accountability Bureau-led accountability antics, subsequent arrests of some leading national politicians and the strong possibility of some more high-profile arrests in mega corruption cases in not-so-distant future.

As the Treasury benches in the Pakistani legislative houses contend, the Opposition is allegedly doing what it takes to hamper the legislative business that is vital for a democracy to function smoothly.

Research conducted by the “Jag Group and Geo Television Network” reveals that although the Presidential system is both popular and effective in at least 80 countries, it has failed to guarantee well-being of a large number of nations governed or ruled by powerful Presidents - both elected or non-elected.

In full presidential systems, the President is both head of state and head of government. There is no Prime Minister as such. Following is the list of countries - both democratic and non-democratic - that use the full Presidential systems as their form of government:

The United States of America, South Korea, Afghanistan, Sudan, Philippines, Argentina, Ivory Coast, Cyprus, Mexico, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Brazil, Panama, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Kenya, Georgia, Bolivia, Chad, Chile, Tunisia, Colombia, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Cameroon, Gambia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Senegal, Niger, Nicaragua, Ghana, Haiti, Armenia, Bolivia, Belarus, Costa Rica, Liberia, Malawi, Maldives, Togo, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Federated States of Micronesia, Mozambique, Namibia, Gabon, Palau, Mali, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Madagascar, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Djibouti and Kiribati.

Now, the above list shows both highly developed nations like the United States and South Korea, and a large number of extremely impoverished nations like Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Niger, Gabon, Palau, Mali Ghana, Haiti, Uganda and Cameroon etc, meaning thereby that had the full Presidential system been flawless, every nation falling in this category would have been ruing the roost.

So basically, barring the United States and South Korea, the Presidential system has not done much good for at least 70 world countries where it exists as the primary form of government, because many of these heads of states - both elected or non-elected - have acted like dictators and brutal autocrats.

Pakistan, by the way, is currently among countries having Semi-Presidential systems, where both President and a Prime Minister exist.

And many would argue that Pakistan falls among countries called Parliamentary Republics where a Prime Minister is the active head of the executive branch of government and also leader of the legislature.

We all know Pakistan has had military dictators, civilian dictators, powerful Presidents, symbolic Presidents, assertive Prime Ministers and even puppet Premiers. Hence, no form of government has actually worked here in this Land of Pure to improve governance, harness corruption, control nepotism and improve the lives of the Pakistanis.

The fact that a few countries often claim to be genuine Parliamentary Republics is debatable though. They have had histories with powerful Presidents and handpicked Premiers and vice versa. Pakistan can again be cited as one of the examples in this context.

However, these countries with Semi-Presidential systems include Sri Lanka, Russia, Egypt, Romania, France, South Africa, Taiwan, Guyana, Lebanon, Moldova, Mongolia, Algeria, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, San Marino, Cape Verde, Ukraine, Western Sahara and Yemen.

In such Semi-Presidential systems, the President has genuine executive authority, unlike in a parliamentary republic, but some of the roles of a head of government are exercised by the Prime Minister.

In the above list of Semi-Presidential systems, France, Taiwan and Russia have done well on many fronts, but the likes of Guyana, Lebanon, Moldova, Mongolia, Algeria, Angola and Yemen are either war-torn or have a large chunk of population languishing below or around the poverty line.

Most well-known and globally-acclaimed Parliamentary Republics include the likes of Italy, India, Albania, Turkey, Austria, Bangladesh, Fiji, Israel, Bulgaria, Ireland, Latvia, Iceland, Iraq, Singapore, Switzerland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Greece, Germany, Finland, Malta, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Ethiopia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Dominica, Estonia, East Timor, Trinidad and Tobago and Vanuatu etc.

The above list shows that Italy, India, Turkey, Austria, Israel, Germany, Singapore, Switzerland, Finland and Malta may have made a lot of headway towards genuine prosperity, but nations like Dominica, Estonia, East Timor, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu, Iraq, Bangladesh, Fiji and some East European nations are still struggling with a lot of political, economic and social ills to make a mark and emerge as developed states with near-perfect systems at least.

Then, there exist some Absolute Monarchies in which the Monarch, King, Emperor or the Queen happens to be the active head of the executive branch and hence exercises all powers.

These include Bhutan, Swaziland, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Brunei, Tonga and United Arab Emirates etc.

With the exception of Tonga and Bhutan, all other Absolute Monarchies are gifted with the divine wealth of oil. While the citizens of these oil-rich Absolute Monarchies may be leading befitting lives with all bounties and sans deprivation, a lot of serious questions regarding civil liberties and human rights do haunt these nations.

On the world map, we also have these Constitutional Monarchies, where a Prime Minister is the active head of the executive branch of government and also leader of the legislature in presence of a head of state or the Constitutional Monarch.

The Monarch in these countries only exercises his or her powers with the consent of the government and is largely a figurehead. In other words, these are nations with relatively more balanced government models, yet all countries falling in this category are not developed or rich. But, it goes without saying that most of these nations are largely developed in every sense of the word.

Key examples of enviable Constitutional Monarchies are United Kingdom, Australia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Canada, New Zealand, Denmark, Luxembourg, Belgium and Japan etc.

Yet these Constitutional Monarchies also exist in Andorra, Cambodia, Lesotho, Papua New Guinea, Antigua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, the Solomon Islands, Saint Lucia, the Bahamas and Samoa, which have not developed in any way, meaning thereby that even this system is not a totally perfect one.

Let us discuss some Semi-Constitutional Monarchies as well; where the Prime Minister (or equivalent) is the nation's active Chief Executive, but the Monarch still has considerable political powers that can be used at his/her own independent discretion or accord.

These nations include Bahrain, Morocco, Nepal, Jordan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein and a lot of Commonwealth Realms. Let us not forget here some fairly powerful and developed “One-Party” states like China, which are otherwise deemed non-democratic because the political power is concentrated within a single political party whose operations are largely fused with the government hierarchy.

Cuba, Syria, Laos, Turkmenistan and North Korea also fall in this notorious category of “One-Party” states and look where they stand! Lastly, a small part of the world is ruled by Military Junta states, where the national armed forces control the organs of government and where all high-ranking political executives are also members of the military hierarchy.

These include Libya, Thailand, Mauritania, Myanmar and Sudan etc. For a large part of its history, Pakistan was leading this list, although many international pundits still assert that the Pakistani armed forces covertly and overtly control all state operations.

On the other hand, many analysts differ strongly with this notion by maintaining that no matter how weak democracy may be, it is there in Pakistan—functioning better than many nations.

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