Westminster system

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Types of government

The Westminster System is a common form of Parliamentary system found in several macronations throughout the globe. Named for the house of legislature in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Westminster system is often thought to have heavily inspired many modern democratic legislative systems. Despite this, the Westminster system is generally distinct against other parliamentary systems of the world, with the system usually only being used in former territories of the British Empire.

Westminster systems are characterised by having both a Head of State and a Head of Government with most, if not all, effective power vested in the Head of Government. The Head of Government is typically the leader of the executive branch of government, holding most of the powers the leader of the nation requires. The Head of State on the other hand typically holds only reserve powers for use in states of emergency or other exceptional circumstances - although it is not entirely uncommon for the Head of State to be considered the official leader of the nation, regardless of their individual power. As in the original British system, the Head of State may be a Sovereign or an elected Presidential figure. In the case of the latter it is common for the President to hold more power than the Sovereign, although not a significant level of power in either case.

At a legislative level the Westminster system is operated as a multiparty democracy, usually with two or sometimes three leading political parties and a number of smaller political parties. As such power in a Westminster system is usually heavily based on Party politics rather than the politics of Party leaders or candidates, with the largest party almost always being the ruling Party. The second largest Party in terms of Parliamentary seats is usually afforded some status as the official opposition of the ruling Party. Typically, Westminster Parliaments are bicameral - the Lower House has the most political power, whilst the Upper House has more restricted power in most instances. At least one of these Houses - usually the Lower House - is democratically elected. In the case of the United Kingdom, the Upper House consists entirely of appointed (formerly hereditary) seats rather than elected seats.

Westminster Parliaments can usually be dissolved and reformed at any time, typically dissolving itself at the end of the year and reforming at the beginning of the year. Additionally, the Westminster system is characterised by giving Parliament the ability to force a government out of power through a vote of no confidence or similar legislative measures. Parliament can also declare a General Election at any time (often following the rejection of the standing government). Members of Parliament are usually elected in districts from across the nation, with each Member of Parliament representing the citizens of their district at a national level. Despite this, there is usually no obligation for a Member of Parliament to stay true to the wishes of their constiuents - most Members will vote accordng to their own consience.