Perks of Parliamentary

Clay Risen analyzed the effectiveness of a parliamentary system using the German example in his article “German Lessons”. He considers how some Americans fantasize over the German system because their many parties allow for greater representation and they must work together in coalitions. For years Germany had three major parties: the CDU, the SPD, and the FDP. As people got frustrated with their parties, they left and created new parties. Germany now has six major parties, which is troublesome because when it comes to grand-scale decision making, each party is based on specific personal preferences, and therefore cannot make decisions about such important issues. Risen argues America’s two-party system is better because each party covers a broad spectrum of ideals, making it more efficient in decision making. (1) 


An article published by the Jerusalem Post talks about how in Germany the police attempted to ban an alt-right group from marching on the anniversary of the Kristallnacht. The far-right group blames all the Muslims in Germany for violence inflicted upon Jews. Chancellor Merkel allowed for a great number of Muslim migrants in 2015, which led to the creation of a new political party in Germany; the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party argues that Islam does not coincide with the constitution of Germany. (2)


Is a multiparty, parliamentary system of government less effective at decision making than a two-party, presidential system?


There is no definite answer to this question. A lower number of parties causes each party to be responsible to have a certain stand on a variety of issues. As seen in the U.S., though, this can create a stalemate in Congress as each party does not want or does not know how to cooperate and compromise with the other party. A parliamentary system allows for this cooperation, but the parties comprising the coalition governments might not have a firm stance or be able to make a difference on certain issues.

(1) Clay Risen. “German Lessons” Democracy: A Journal of Ideas

(2) Reuters. “Merkel Commemorates Nazi Kristallnacht Against Jews With Synagogue Speech” Jerusalem Post. (November 9, 2018)

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