Table Of Contents
1. Meaning Of Cabinet System Of Government
2. Features Of Cabinet System Of Government
3. Advantages And Disadvantages Of Cabinet System Of Government
4. Functions Of The Prime Minister
Definition Of Cabinet System Of Government
A cabinet system of government is referred to as a parliamentary system. It is the type of government that provides for dual leadership, i.e. a head of state and a head of government. While the head of state is a constitutional and ceremonial head, the Prime Minister who is the head of government exercises executive powers e.g. Britain, Nigeria in the first republic.
Features Of Cabinet System Of Government
A cabinet system of government has the following characteristics:
1. There is dual leadership. i.e. There is a different person who acts as the head of state and another person acts as the head of government.
2. The members of the cabinet are also members of the legislature. There is therefore fusion of power.
3. There is the existence of collective responsibility.
4. The executive could be removed through a vote of no confidence by legislature.
5. Members of the legislature do not have a fixed term of office because the Prime minister could ask the head of state to dissolve the legislature.
6. The executive are accountable to the legislature and depend on their support to carry out their major policies.
7. The opposition party is given official recognition.
Advantages Of Cabinet System Of Government
The outstanding advantages inherent in the system are:
1. The cabinet can easily get its policies approved by the legislature since they sit and direct the business of the legislature.
2. The principle of collective responsibility helps to prevent the emergence of dictatorship on the part of the executive.
3. Also, the collective responsibility makes it mandatory on the part of the cabinet members to always consider matters of state importance carefully and thoroughly.
4. The recognition of the official opposition helps to check the excesses of the party in power. More over, the official opposition party stands as an alternative government.
Disadvantages Of Cabinet System Of Government
1. Cabinet system of government does not give the Prime minister the opportunity to choose any person as a member of his cabinet whom he feels can serve him and the nation well.
2. The executive is always under undue influence of the political party in power.
3. The Prime minister who contests election from a particular constituency is therefore not a choice of the people.
4. The opposition which is given official recognition can engage in subversive activities.
5. The existence of dual leadership can bring about conflict.
6. The legislature could be turned to a mere rubber stamp because of the presence of the prime minster and the ministers in the legislature.
7. The principle of collective responsibility can bring about delay in treating matters that require urgent attention.
8. Also, the principle of collective responsibility does not make it possible to know whom to praise for work well done and whom to blame for work badly done.
Functions Of The Prime Minister
1. He is the head of government. He and his ministers are equal but he is first among equals. (Primus inter pares).
2. He appoints his ministers and assigns portfolio to them.
3. He determines the agenda of cabinet meetings and acts as the chairman.
4. He is the leader of his political party in parliament and act as the spokesman of the government.
5. He advices the head of state on the excise of his power of prerogative of mercy.
6. He advices the head of state on the dissolution of the legislature.
7. He has power to declare a state of emergency.