Free Comparative Politics Essay Sample
The system is made up of the Executive, the Bundestag, Bundesrat, Political parties, Judiciary, and the Landers.
The president heads the state. The Federal Convention elects the president who serves for a maximum of two terms (one term represents five years). The present President of Germany is Christian Wulf, and the Chancellor is Angela Merkel, both belong to the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
Bundestag is the lower house of the German political system. Members of the Bundestag serve for a maximum of four years. The method of election is referred to as Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMPR). Fifty percent of the Bundestag Members are elected from 299 constituencies, while the other half are elected to represent Landers or the sixteen regions of Germany. They are elected using the first-past-the post system. This implies that every voter votes twice in Bundestag elections. The Chancellor serves a term of four years or can extend to two terms. He or she is elected by the Bundestag.
It is also known as the Upper House. Its main function is to veto legislations that affect the power held by the states.
Germany has only two parties; Centre-Left and Centre-Right. Centre-Right has two political parties in operation in different parts of the nation. The Christian Democratic Union operates in all the regions or Landers except Bavaria where the Christian Social Union operates. Center-Left party is also known as the Social Democratic Party.
Germany has a supreme court known as the Federal Constitutional Court with 16 judges. The judges serve for 12-year terms.
Germany is subdivided into Landers or regions to prevent one region from dominating the others. There are sixteen Landers in total.
2. Distribution of Governmental tasks in the Basic Law
The Basic Law states that, Germany is a federal state comprised of sixteen Landers. Government power is distributed between the Federation and Landers. Each of them has separate governmental organs and sovereignty rights. Every Lander has its own territory, power (courts, parliament, government, administration) and constitution. Germany is a social and parliamentary democracy. Power is divided to distinguish between the executive, legislature, and the judiciary. Judicial power is only exercised by the Federal Constitutional powers, and all judges are subject to the law.
- Four political innovations of the German system
- The Two-Track Voting System
- The indexing of the social security and maternity payments
- The Five-Percent Threshold Clause
- Constructive Vote of no Confidence
- Purpose of the Five-Percent Clause
To prevent the emergence of small parties that may lead to the destabilization of the Federal Republic of Germany.
- The voting system in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG)
Electoral System is known as the Multi Member Personal Representation (MMPR). The Bundestag has 598 seats. 299 are elected from the constituencies while the remainder is elected from Landers. Every elected member serves for a four-year period. Anyone who is above 18 years is eligible to vote, must live within the EU state, and resident of Germany for more than three months prior to the election. Every legal voter has two votes (constituency and party vote). There are sixteen federal regions or Landers, which are further divided into constituencies. The restrictive clauses of parties are valid to the whole electorate. The restrictive Five-Percent Clause is applied to all party votes to eliminate propagation of small parties. The 598 seats are distributed by Proportional Representation.
- The Social Welfare system of Germany
It is a conservative welfare state. There are differences between social classes and the conventional role models are protected. There is no redistribution of wealth in Germany. The country has social security in terms of healthcare, pension and long term insurance as well as unemployment benefits. There is also social assistance for the alleviation of poverty. In addition to that, every person accesses medical care.
- Political attitudes and participation in the political process of the Federal Republic
Immediately after World War II, German citizens were suspicious and looked for symbols of bad authority that represented previous regimes. For instance, after WWII, people felt that Hitler was the best. However, as time elapsed, they started to glorify Von Bismarck. They had no ideal model of a good and democratic system. By the start, of 1970, minority groups in Germany supported monarchy restoration, Nazism and one party domination. Later, people started to have positive attitudes towards the newly formed Federal Republic of Germany. As people became more allied to the Federal Republic, bonds to the previous regimes weakened. The public developed a positive attitude towards the chancellors, preferred the Federal Republic flag, and started to believe in the Bundestag officials. In the previous regime, for instance, the Third Reich and the Second Empire, few individuals had authority. However, with the new Federal Republic, the Basic Law was made and the democratic procedures were put in place. This made people to develop a commitment to democratic norms. In turn, the political scenes changed, multi-party system emerged, minority rights, a representative government, conflict management, and a representative government. Although the Radicals Decree tested the democratic system, Germans are more positive of their political system than before. Germans have embraced it and work to deliver because no system is perfect. It is peculiar that the German system of education does not teach students on nationalism, patriotic activities like celebration of national days and singing songs that indicate political allegiance. German has few national holidays, the national anthem is rarely sung, and the anniversary of the birth of the Federal Republic is not hyped and celebrated. In a cross-national survey, German ranks in the bottom in terms of possession and display of national pride.
- Discuss the politics of education in Germany
Education is funded by the state, and it is free from primary school through secondary to university. Authoritative, traditional, rote-learning methods were replaced with a pedagogy that is child-friendly. This curriculum did away with private schools and introduced a socially just system that abolished the stratification between the rich and the poor. However, the re-introduction of confessionally-tolerant system of education has attracted negative reaction from the media, parents and political circles. Maybe the confessionally-tolerant system will be abolished before it is implemented partly because it was associated with the Weimar Republic.
- Discuss Ostpolitik
The word “Ostpolitik” implies the policy towards East Germany. It refers to the normalization of the political relationship between East Germany and the FRG. Chancellor Brandt’s regime tried to abolish communist ideologies and cooperate with East Germany. West Germany was under the Christian Democratic Union while East Germany was under the oppressive Social Democrats.
- Is Federalism the best route for Germany, how did they choose the Federal System for Germany?
- Germany is a novel nation state. It existed since 1871, and its tradition was to be ruled by several large numbers of entities. All these entities had many skills in ruling themselves independently.
- The fact that the Allies realized that the best ways to prevent another government like Hitler’s to govern was to have a federal system, where power would not be in the hands of the central government.
- The main reasons for the introduction and adoption of the Constitution of 1958 (the Fifth Republic)
Reasons for the Introduction
The third and the fourth had not proven to be successful and productive, and Charles de Gaulle wanted a new Constitution. The ancient regime was a monarchy that did not have a formal constitution and everything relied on traditions and customs of France.
Provisions of the New Constitution
- It has legal provisions for the election of Parliament, the President, Government selection, and allocation of power for and relations between each of the aforementioned parties.
- It put France in a manner of accepting the ratification of International Laws.
- It has its own methods of amendment either through a Parliament process or by referendum.
- It has the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen adopted from France’s 1978 Constitution. This made France a democratic nation and enhanced its sovereignty.
- Characteristics of the French Governmental System
The President is elected by people to serve for a five-year term under the universal suffrage. The president is the head of state, controls defense, foreign policy and has the power to appoint the prime minister with the approval of all parliamentarians. The prime minster heads all government affairs and domestic policy. Parliaments is comprised of the National Assembly and the Senate. It creates and vetoes new laws.
- Conditions that a Presidential Candidate in France should fulfill
He or she should have at least 500,000 signatures of approval from senators, deputies, and mayors. The aim of this requirement is to reduce the number of presidential candidates.
- Describe the Semi-Presidential character of the 5th Republic
The President and the Prime Minister hail from different parties, and they govern through a co-habitation process.
This is defined as the governance of a nation where the president and the prime minister come from different parties and both are involved in governing the nation. One problem of cohabitation is differing ideologies.
- Explain the French electoral system
It involves “Scrutin àdeux tours.” This implies that there is a first and second round in the in French elections. This system is also known as run-off voting or second ballot. This system is used to elect presidents and legislative bodies.
- Events of May 1968
Students under the student body, Union Nationale des Etudiants de France (UNEF) staged the biggest protest ever in the history of France. The strike lasted for two weeks and involved more than 11 million workers. Trade unions and the main political party were against the protests that almost led to the collapse of Charles de Gaulle’s presidency.
UNEF demanded that police leave the University of Sorbonne, reverse the expulsion of students, and open Sorbonne and Nanterre Universities. Government negotiations broke down and students continued with protests.
- Explain the term “Government by Bureaucracy.”
Bureaucracy itself is a word with a negative connotation. More often than not, a government by bureaucracy means that the expenses of government operations are very high. Any public interference into the expensive operations and officious manner of the public officials is not allowed. Government by bureaucracy term implies that there are several bureaus of power; each is allocated resources and power. Advancing from one stage to the other and understanding their operations is very technical and difficult.
- Formal powers of the President in the Fifth Republic
The President is the most authoritative figure in all systems. He has excess power consolidated from the constitution.
- State the reasons for the continued existence and strengths of the Communist Party in France
The communist party is still in existence, in France. The first reason for its existence is that the bourgeoisie is in total support of the party because it helps them to “blind” the working class as they con their money. This party enables that people work hard, get little income as they maintain the lifestyle of the rich bourgeoisies.
- Explain the relationship between the President, the Prime Minister, and the Cabinet in the Fifth Republic.
The President has the most power in the political system of France. He appoints the Prime Minister and both cohabit. His appointment of the Prime Minister has to be approved by parliament. He does not make appearances at the senate or National Assembly to ensure that the legislature and executives are separate. The Prime Minister heads all government affairs. He recommends persons for the posts of ministers, lays out ministerial duties, oversees national defense, and the daily operations of the government. The cabinet has 15 members, chaired by the President and headed by the Prime Minister.
- Explain the composition and the duties of the Constitutional Council
- The Supreme Court, it has nine members, 3 named by President, 3 by Senate, 3 by National Assembly and, aside them, all of the living former Presidents.
- It must ensure that all laws passed are Constitutional
- It is the Guardian of the Constitution and the regularity of elections
- Explain the role of interest groups in French politics.
In France, interest groups are many, but they are very weak. Ideology, profession, and religion divide them. They include farmer’s unions, small businesses, students, and commercial groups.
In the Fifth Republic, the electorate has focused their attention on the bureaucracy and the President. This is contrary to what happened during the Fourth Republic where people focused on the legislature. Under the Fifth Republic, interest groups act using private contacts, official institutions, for instance, the Economic and Social Council, and several advisory bodies. Interest groups get contacts through putting retired civil servants on their own payrolls. This facilitates private alliances that help in advancing the agenda of several interest groups.
- Explain the essentials of Marxism.
Marxism stresses on the fact that, at any point, social life is based on “conflict of interest.” The major conflict exists between the Bourgeoisies (the rich controllers of production means) and the Proletariat (the working class). In Marxism, the social class is used to show how societies change and why the change occurs. Class conflict explains a situation where change is an outcome of the opposition between social classes as they follow their own different goals in the community.
Marxism is a theory of politics that seeks to expose the economic and political contradictions that underlie the capitalist system. Marxism also seeks to explain a way that a communist society can be established.
According to Marxism, in capitalism, there are two main classes, which are the Proletariat and Bourgeoisies. In addition to that, the capitalist society is divided into economical infrastructure and the ideological and political superstructure.
- Did the Soviet system owe more to Lenin or Stalin
Stalin did a lot in terms of supporting the propagation of communism in the Soviet Union. Stalin started to read books about Karl Marx when he was in college. He was expelled from college because he tried to organize strikes and convert students to adopting the Marxist ideologies. Although he was against socialism and supported the provisional government, he gave into Lenin’s ideologies and supported socialism. He organized several strikes, and tried to influence the Soviet people into attaining a positive attitude about communism.
- How Lenin modified the Marxist theory
Lenin introduced the Vanguard Party for elites. This party had full time revolutionaries meant to organize the working class or the proletariat and the people of the Soviets. Originally, Marx had proposed for violent protests after which the proletariat. Lenin believed that the government should not be dissolved rather it should be taken under the Vanguard or the Communist Party. In Marx’s words, he had perceptions of government dissolution after which the proletariat will rule. Marx never mentioned about imperialism while Lenin felt that imperialism exploited workers on the Soviet. Lenin thought that, after the abolishment of capitalism, all the people who had supported it should be killed or deported to Siberia. On the other hand, Marx never mentioned about killings of former capitalist supporters.
- What is meant by “Dialectics”?
Dialectics is the most vital unifying concept that shows how the human mind understands and perceives most ideas and core concepts. This is the foundational philosophy of Karl Marx, with the exception of disputes arising from naturalism and science in the line of Marx’s thoughts.
- What is the meaning of “Near Abroad” for Russia?
The region that was affected by the Cold War lay on the present Russian nation. After the Cold War, the Soviet Union was disbanded, and the all the 15 Nations that constituted the Soviet Union freely entered the stage of international politics. Russia was distinguished as the lawful inheritor of Soviet Union’s place in the United Nations League.The remaining 14 Nations took a sovereign status with a fresh slate. These 14 states are referred to as Near Abroad. They comprise of the region of former states of the Soviet Union. This term is applied in the relations between Russia and the 14 states, and it implies the existence of an unequal and special relations. One fact is that, Russia dominates all the states in Near Abroad area.
- What were Gorbachev’s errors/failures?
Gorbachev was the last President of the Soviet Union.
- He failed to initiate Soviet Union reforms that would end a deepening economic crisis.
- His party was involved in deep ethnic problems and as a leader; he failed to unite all tribes in the Soviet Union.
- He had embraced ideas presented by people persecuted in a decade running from 1960-1970. Gorbachev later adapted those ideas as public policy meaning that it was a continuation of the minds of dissidents.
- He was unresponsive to the changes in the political tunes among the nations of the Soviet Republic and put the lives of millions through a “stagnated” way of life.
- His failures are crowned by the dissolution of the Soviet Union, perhaps a magnification of large and existent problems.
- Gorbachev created a police state where the police force is very strong and yields the enormous power over the people.
- Poor political and economic reforms under Gorbachev’s regime led to the demoralization, and loss of responsibility values of the general Soviet citizens.
- His regime also saw the deterioration of human rights in the Soviet Union due to the strong police force.
- Explain Perestroika, Glasnost’s meanings.
The words “Perestroika” and “Glasnost” are two different Russian words; Perestroika refers to rebuilding and Glasnost means openness. Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the idea of Perestroika, and Glasnost to end the era of dictatorship in the Soviet government. While serving as the Communist Party’s Secretary, Gorbachev introduced freedom of speech. This was aimed at opening discussions about difficulties that Soviet Union citizens faced. He promoted and encouraged discussion from the people on how to rebuild and reconstruct the Soviet Union after what had happened during the Cold war. This brought about new thinking among the citizens, and consequently the improvement of the economy and the political system of the Soviet government.
- Explain the Soviet Union’s (USSR) view of International Relations.
The Soviet Union related negatively with international nations especially the US and Britain.
- What was the Brezhnev’s doctrine?
The Soviet Union related negatively with international nations especially the US and Britain. This caused the Soviet Union to introduce Doctrines like the Brezhnev’s doctrine that ensured its protection from NATO. Leonid Brezhnev, a Soviet leader was the one who introduced the doctrine. This doctrine ended when Poland held a free election in 1980, and it was replaced with the Sinatra Doctrine.
The doctrine was used to attack countries that were trying to liberalize themselves from the governance of USSR. The Britons saw Russia as a threat of human kind because they speculated that Russia had Atomic bombs, thus; the propagation of conflict between the two countries. The USSR had also governance conflicts among its satellites. The Soviet Union was not in good relations with countries like Afghanistan and Korea, because they attacked them. This doctrine was a Soviet Foreign Policy that was introduced back in 1968. Its activities included countering any Eastern Bloc nations, which tried to challenge the leadership of social states towards the adaptation of capitalism. The Soviet state used this doctrine as an excuse to intervene and attack Czechoslovakia in August 1968, and earlier attacks towards Hungary in 1956. The doctrine aimed at destabilizing the proceedings of nations that wanted democracy, and strengthen the power of the Soviet state around the Eastern Bloc to protect itself in case NATO decided to attack it. Describe the Russian legislature, the 2 houses of Parliament in Russia.
- Describe the Russian legislature, the two houses of Parliament in Russia.
The Russian legislature is structured according to its constitution, where the President is the head of the state, and multi party system is accepted. The Prime minister exercises executive power and is appointed under consensus from both the President and Parliament. Since Russia gained its independence in 1991, it faced a challenge to set up a political system; but in 1993, President Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin used military force to dissolve the parliament that was under the Soviet Union, the approval of the new constitution approved supremacy of the President. Powers of the legislature are controlled by the Federal Assembly of Russia which is divided into two; State Duma (lower house), and Federation Council (upper house). State Duma must put all bills forward, and then the Federation Council considers the bill and puts them on its calendar. The Federation Council has no power of opposing any bill brought forward by Duma.
- Explain the Duma’s functions.
The Duma is considered as one of the Houses of parliament and is said to be the lower house. It is considered as the powerful house because one of its main roles is to propose a bill and bring it forward to the Federation Council for its approval.
- Compare the powers of the President and the powers of the Prime Minister in Russia.
In Russia, the Prime Minister is the most ranked minister in a cabinet either in the executive, government or in the parliamentary system. The Prime minister selects and can dismiss cabinet members; he is the chairperson of the Government of the Russian Federation. The President is the head of the state, and the most powerful because he chooses the Prime minister.
- What does Kuomintang mean?
Kuomintang of China is a political party, which was founded in 1911 by Sun Yat-Sen, it ruled China from 1928 up to 1949. Kuomintang is also romanized as Guomindang, and its translation is the Chinese Nationalist party. This was the founding and ruling party of the Republic of China.
- How did the Communist triumph in China?
Communism is a kind of governance that promotes social, political, and economical ideas among the citizens of a nation. It promotes freedom of speech to everybody no matter the background or the status of a person. This kind of governance promotes the right of one to bring up ideas of his that can influence the nation positively and ensure growth of its economy. In China, the Communist Rule took over from the Kuomintang in 1949. This could be the underlying reason behind China’s prosperity as major world economies experience economic recession. The products that China is producing are behind this development; they cater for our daily basic needs. The other reason that communism has prospered in China is because it enhances production of goods which are cheap, convenient, and are easy to use. Communism in China promotes education; a person is well educated at either a lower cost or using scholarship. Enhancement of knowledge is the key to communism in China thus; one can be able to be innovative. Innovation is highly approved and persons get chances to prove their innovativeness.
Communism in China has enhanced transportation; and there is no delay when going to work or when travelling. China invented the world fastest train that travels at a speed of 380 km/hour. Communism creates an environment that gives a chance to things that are of help to the entire nation, unlike in the Republicans who oppose almost everything that is brought forward in the Congress. Innovation as the key of China’s prosperity is the world’s largest producer of energy through wind turbines.
- What was the “United Front” strategy?
The United Front strategy was a war against the Empire of Japan. It was known as the Second Sino-Japanese War. It became serious in 1937 when the United States and the Soviet Union gave economic support to the Great China. China used this strategy to join World War II after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and tried to control the politics of China. Japan wanted to dominate China by controlling their raw materials, labor, and food. The war ended in 1945 when Japan was defeated by the communism forces of China.
- Explain the Long March of 1934-35.
The Long march involved China’s soldiers who trekked from one border of China to the other without considering what they would be using as food. They were not well armed, and their survival from their enemies was the greatest challenge. Majority of them died while trekking, but they never gave up because they were fighting for communism. This was in the era when Mao Tse-Tung, a communist army commander led his soldiers to fight Chiang Kai-shek army which was national. During that time, the Nationalist surrounded the communist and forced them to exit from their base. After a while, the communist leaders chose to gain a territory in the north, and decided to locate at Sheshi. They went through the blockage of the Nationalities, and began their trek towards Sheshi, a journey that was approximately 8,000 miles. This journey was full of difficulties because the Communist soldiers lacked majority of the resources that were essential in times of war. They were less armed, and succumbed to fight the Nationalist soldiers they met on their journey north. Only 30,000 of the 100,000 that started the journey were able to reach their destination on October 1935.
- Explain the “Great Leap Forward.”
The Great Leap Forward occurred in 1958 in Great China. This was a decision done by Mao to make sure that China did not lag behind in terms of modernization. Mao concluded that the Chinese people were hard working and they had the capability of doing anything because they were innovative enough. He felt that if the Chinese people indulged in agriculture and industry then by the year 1988, China would be a super power. This great focus of Mao was the one called The Great Leap. He believed that for a community to work efficiently it should be well fed, and food is gained from agriculture. In creating communism, he advised the communities to offer their tools, animals, and personal resources to the disposal of the community. This enabled sharing of resources and enhanced the labor force in China. The local resource like schools and nurseries were given out to the communes and ensured that the adults were employed and the children gained knowledge and skill. A health society was established by opening of the health sectors and the old were catered for at the homes of the old to curb relatives who were working from worrying.
- What does Mao’s democratic dictatorship mean?
During the era of the “Great Leap Forward,” Mao’s democratic dictatorship occurred. Mao dictated that all the belongings of the Chinese people should be put under the disposal of a commune. He decided for the people that they should share the tools that they had on their disposal to improve the agriculture and industry sector.
- What is a Commune?
He introduced a commune that was made up of 5000 families who gave up their right to own personal property. This was done for the sake of supporting the commune.
- Explain the four modernizations.
The four modernization included; the bringing up of the agriculture sector to feed the people and export other foods to outside countries. The industrial sector also was part of modernization and ensured production of machineries and tools for better productivity. The third one was modernization, which was meant to improve the internal defense to ensure Chinese people are free when conducting their business. The last one involved the development and improvement of science aimed at making China a super power.
- Explain how the Communist party functions in China and the role of the military in the Chinese society.
The Chinese Communist Party is involved in ruling the Great China and the military to protect the borders of China from invading enemies.
- Explain the Legislature of Communist China.
The Chinese Communist party National Representative Congress controls the legislature. The legislature is involved in making decisions that are crucial in China and its elections are done after every five years.