Although an argument could be made for either system of governance, ultimately the parliamentary system is better for democracy than the presidential. The literal translation of democracy is “rule by the people”, but the practical definition of democracy encompasses far more than just that. If we were answering this question using only the literal translation, then the presidential system would probably win the debate because the leaders are all elected by the people. However, given that democracy in the real-world sense requires more than just rule by the people, the parliamentary system is more equipped to ensure that democracy endures. In a presidential system, the executive and legislative are independent of one another, which allows for the possibility, and likelihood, of the two bodies being controlled by different parties. This leads to stalemate and often a general unwillingness to cooperate and compromise, which creates an unstable and chaotic government that can’t be fully committed to upholding democratic ideals for the people. In a parliamentary system, however, the executive and legislative are very closely linked. The people elect their legislatives, and then the winning party’s leader becomes the executive, or prime minister. This allows for the executive to be a highly qualified politician chosen by his/her peers, as opposed to a presidential election, which arguably is not much more than a popularity contest. Because the two bodies are from the same party, it’s much easier to pass legislation and keep the government working for the people. The fact that the executive isn’t directly elected by the people isn’t a problem for democracy because the prime minister must report to the House of Commons regularly, which means they’re still being held accountable for their actions, policies, and decisions. As discussed in The Guardian article “Both Labour and Tories face a battle to win back truculent voters in 2015”, the parliamentary system also allows for coalition governments, which further allows for all citizens’ voices to be heard. Overall, I’d argue that a parliamentary system is better for democracy than a presidential system.
“Both Labour and Tories face a battle to win back truculent voters in 2015.” The Guardian. 1/5/15. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jan/05/labour-tories-battle-voters-2015-election