Constitutional Engineering Paper

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ConstitutionalEngineering Paper


Recommendationsas per the unitary/federal system of government.

Inmy opinion, for Russia it would be best to adopt the federal systemof government. There are several reasons for that and they can bedivided into two groups, one of them being purely theoretical and theother being a reflection of why Russia can exist with this and notanother one.

Thefederal system of government per se can be considered more democraticthan unitary because it provides for a better democracy in virtue ofits characteristics (Gerring et al., 2007). The federal system meansgreater diversification of opinions in different parts of a givencountry because the more power subjects of a federation gain the morethey can do for a specific group of people. In a unitary state thecentral government would have to deal with the same problem in everycorner of the country. That being said, the government would have tofind a solution and provide for it in legislature. However, in thatcase a solution risks to be vague since the government would have toinclude the opinion of population in every part of the country andoutlining a compromise between all of them would be a very broad andgeneral process.

Atthe same time, when more authority is given to federal organs,finding a solution for the same problem independently in differentparts of a country would help to focus on more specific details andcharacteristics of the problem and, therefore, foster the adoption ofa more concrete solution in each given place. Therefore, the federalsystem has at least several advantages: better diversification ofrepresentation of the population and decentralization that fostersmore effective management (Gerring, 2007).

Now,let us apply this theory to the Russia. First of all, we rememberthat Lady Glinda’s goal is to create the new, democratic Republicof Oz. Above I have explained why the federal system of government isbetter than the unitary system of government from the point of viewof democracy – reaching better representation and effectiveness forall is always the priority of a democracy. Therefore, I think thatfederal system is what Lady Glinda exactly wants her country tobecome. Secondly, we know that the history of Russia is quite complexsince different parts of it were ruled by the . Introducing unitarymodel of government would be not wise because counties have grown toomuch apart during the period of separation, therefore making them onestandardized country would be too much preliminary. Rapprochementshould definitely come through federalization, not at once (if atall).

Recommendationsas per presidential, parliamentary and semi-presidential systems.

Inmy opinion the semi-presidential system would be the most suitableand the most beneficial for Russia. Again, my explanation will havetwo parts – the theoretical one, which explains why thesemi-presidential system is good per se, and the one that applies thetheory to the reality of the newly emerged Republic of Oz.

So,to begin with, I would like to say that presidential andparliamentary republics are extremes among the three given variantswhereas semi-presidential system is in its essence an attempt tostrike a delicate balance between the two. A semi-presidentialrepublic is the one in which along with the head of state exists aCabinet headed by the Prime-Minister or his analogue. Therefore, itis different from the parliamentary one because it has a head ofstate who acts not only ceremonially but also actually as well as itis different from a presidential republic in which the executivebranch is limited to the single person – the president himself whoremains unchecked (Systems of Government: Semi-Presidential Models,2012). To the contrary, the semi-presidential republic has a moresophisticated and a more perfect system of checks and balances whichis badly needed for Russia if it really wants to become a realdemocracy.

Whereasin a presidential republic a president decides the majority of issueshimself (either in the absence of a strong legislative organ orpossessing such extent of power that cannot be checked or overriddenby an actually existing one), a parliamentary republic risks to dealwith too many opinions of deputies of the legislative organ whichwould not be eventually possible to be put together (Systems ofGovernment: Semi-Presidential Models, 2012). At the same time, asemi-presidential republic is something in the middle – a head ofstate and the parliament check the powers of each other, have spheresof operation divided between them and carry out differentresponsibilities.

Now,what touches upon Russia. This country knew in its past what is thesingle-handed rule of one person, the different counties which wereruled by different heads did not get along very well and were split.Therefore, in order to prevent such split in the future and preventany usurping of power the country needs someone who along with thepresident will govern the state. Plurality of mind in government iswhat the Russia needs and this can be ensured by creating a cabinetthat would consist of people appointed by the president, butresponsible to the parliament that, in its turn, would be formed fromthe grassroots.And also, though now the country has Lady Glinda whois a good ruler introducing a system that would provide for aneffective set of checks and balances would promote democracy that wasdeclared by Lady Glinda to be the national goal of the country.

Recommendationsas per the unicameral and bicameral parliament.

Inmy opinion, Russia would need a bicameral parliament. A very goodexample of what kind of a bicameral parliament the Russia needs isthe parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany. The reason forthis is simple and has in fact been already mentioned above in theprevious sections – given that Russia has had a complicated historyand was split into different parts I recommended it to become afederal republic. A federal republic usually needs to be governed ontwo levels by two differing bodies – the two chambers of aparliament. The first one (or the upper one) would be responsible forthe legislature for the entire federation and thus promulgate lawsthat would be obligatory for all the subjects of the federation fromthe position of the center (since we know that federal authoritiescan govern spheres of legislation like international relations anddefense while subjects of federation usually cannot).

Thesecond (or lower) chamber would be functioning as a forum forrepresentatives of federal entities who would be discussing problemsof federal legislation that would be handed down on them later (OneChamber or Two? Deciding Between a Unicameral and BicameralLegislature). The lower chamber is namely the instrument how localauthorities can influence federal legislation that would later beimposed on them.

Therefore,basically, the responsibilities of the two chambers are virtually thesame, the only difference is that the same bill is to be consideredby different people. In this case people in the center, on the onehand, will be able to see what’s best for the country, and peoplefrom the province would have their own, differing angle. Making thesetwo points of view compromise will make the bill in questionbeneficial for everyone. Say, if the raising of retirement age isdiscussed it is not only the central(the federal) part of theparliament who has to adopt the bill. These are also thepeople whocome from provinces and who may have a different view on the problem,who participate in the discussion from the standpoint of a provincecitizen.

Thissystem’s undeniable advantage consists in the fact that it isall-consuming, it provides for a multi-side approach to politics andallows to work comprehensively both from the bottom, from thegrassroots, and from the top, i.e. from the federal level. Suchinclusiveness would result in making the Russia’s politicshealthier. The pros of bicameralism is that it is, as I already said,all-consuming, it provides for greater diversity of representation,because every given problem is dealt is from the top (federal level)and from the bottom (lower chamber). A very significant con, however,is that greater number ofthe deputies complicates the possibility ofreaching consensus.

Recommendationsas per the electoral system.

Whenchoosing between the first-past-the–post and proportional systems Ithink that the Russia would be better off if it chooses the firstsystem among the two mentioned. There are two specific reasons why Ithink so. First of all, choosing the first-past-the-post systemensures greater diversity of representation which, again, results inbetter democracy which is, in its turn, the goal of Lady Glinda(Abramson et al., 2010). In the proportional system a person votesfor a political party who, except its leaders, is actually faceless.This makes voters risk to some extent because they vote for ideas butthey cannot be sure about how much faithful the people in the partywill be to these ideas (Abramson et al., 2010). The second reason Iwould recommend this system is that we already agreed to create abicameral parliament and, therefore, the two-level system ofrepresentation. With this in mind, I would say the following.

Onthe one hand, the FPTP is indispensable for the election to the lowerchamber because locals in each district from which representativesare elected have to know the face of their candidate and not theparty, they have to be confident in him as in a personality, knowwhat he personally stands for and how he can help them. On the otherhand, it may make sense to apply the proportional system to the upperchamber. Political parties represent the central, the federalauthority, whereas personalities represent local societies. Thissounds like a good system of checks and balances.

However,everything I said about the electoral system above touched uponelections to the bicameral parliament. Now, what touches upon theelections to the executive branch. There are two option here: eitherthe government is formed according to the partisan principle in whichthe head of the government is a person who is leading the winningparty or the head of the government is appointed by the head ofstate. Both options fit into the concept of the semi-presidentialrepublic. However, I think that in order to have the power of theparliament checked the head of the government should be appointed bythe head of state. There are two reasons or that.

First:usually a situation in which the leader of a party becomes the headof government happens within the framework of the proportional systemof elections to the parliament, not the FPTP one. Second: accordingto what I have already recommended Russia above legislative branchseems to have much power and the President has not been entitled todo much yet.. Therefore, to secure him with some power, according tohim the power to form the cabinet subject to the approval of the bothchambers of the parliament would be right, I am convinced.

Now,as per the quantity of deputies. In my opinion, the upper chamber hasto be smaller and the lower chamber has to be bigger. The reason forthat is that the number and quality of the problems emerging at thelocal level is bigger and, therefore, needs better elaboration andmore nuanced consideration as well as the widest variety of mindsrepresented possible.

Ithink that terms limits for the both chambers of the parliamentshould vary from one another. I think that the upper chamber shouldfunction about twice as long as the lower chamber of the oneconvocation. The reason for that is changing federal government andparliament too often may result in the unwanted political turbulencein the country which will lead, in the best-case scenario, tostagnation and, in the worst-case scenario, to public unrest,fragileness of the political system and the political party. At thesame time, local representation in the parliament through the lowerchamber should be as diverse as possible and can be changed morefrequently in order to better reflect the more swiftly changing needsand problems of local people. Therefore, I would propose that theupper chamber has four years in office and that the lower be electedevery two years.

Therefore,all of the above being laid down, I once again restate that in myopinion the best win-win option for the Russia would be becoming afederal state and a semi-presidential republic with FPTP electoralsystem and bicameral parliament the chambers of would function to agreat extent independently, working on different groups of mattersand reelected according to different procedures.

TheCase of Russia

Historicalevent that suggests that Russia needs a federal system of government

TheState Department Bureau together with Intelligence Research jointlyheld and sponsored a conference that was to discuss Russia’sFederalism state on 10thDecember, 1988 Barynski, 2006). This conference was composed ofexperts spread across all sectors mainly outside the governmentsystem together with many representatives from the government inattendance for the general discussion. The main agendas in discussionfocused on the global experience with the federal state of governmentto the then current political arrangement that existed between thethe centre and the regions (Barynski, 2006). In addition, theconference aimed to discuss the political interactions between thecenters and all the regions in Russia to access the effectiveness ofa federal system of government.

Oneof the most significant findings of this conference was the fact thatRussia indeed had met the classical definition of this system.Federalismand all its supporting arms, was clearly encrypted in the Russianconstitution (Richard, 2005). Moreover, they also discovered thatsuccessful federal systems of government had grown on the basis ofpredispositions and their historical characteristics that were allaimed at formulating an effective federal system of government. Inthis regard, Russia was discovered not to be having these twosignificant factors (Richard, 2005). In addition, Russia was buildingits central to regional relationships that was an important factor inbuilding a sustainable federal government. There was a need forRussia to revisit and revise its political, social and economicsystems towards an integrated system that was aimed at strengtheningthe federal system of governance


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“Systemsof Government: Semi-Presidential Models.” 2012. DemocracyReportingInternational., 20 March 2016).

Abramson,P.R. et al., 2010. “ComparingStrategic Voting Under FPTP and PR.” ComparativePolitical Studies, Volume43, Issue 3. 20 March 2016).

Gerring,J et al., 2007. AreFederal Systems Better Than Unitary Systems? Boston:Boston University,&lt 20 March 2016).

Baryski,V. Robert. (2006). TheSoldier in Russian Politics 1988-1966.New York. Routledge.

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