12 Facts About Westminster system


Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary government that incorporates a series of procedures for operating a legislature.

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Key aspects of the Westminster system include an executive branch made up of members of the legislature, and that is responsible to the legislature; the presence of parliamentary opposition parties; and a ceremonial head of state who is different from the head of government.

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The Westminster system is often contrasted with the presidential system that originated in the United States, or with the semi-presidential system, based on the government of France.

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Westminster system is used, or was once used, in the national and subnational legislatures of most former colonies of the British Empire upon gaining self-government, beginning with the first of the Canadian provinces in 1848 and the six Australian colonies between 1855 and 1890.

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Unlike the uncodified British constitution, most countries that use the Westminster system have codified the system, at least in part, in a written constitution.

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For example, some older constitutions using the Westminster system do not mention the existence of the cabinet or the prime minister, because these offices were taken for granted by the authors of these constitutions.

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Executive authority within a Westminster system is de jure exercised by the cabinet as a whole, along with more junior ministers, however, in effect, the head of government dominates the executive as the head of government is ultimately the person from whom the head of state will take advice on the exercise of executive power, including the appointment and dismissal of cabinet members.

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Electoral Westminster system is often set out in a Representation of the People Act.

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Some political scientists have held that the Australian system of government was consciously devised as a blend or hybrid of the Westminster and the United States systems of government, especially since the Australian Senate is a powerful upper house like the US Senate; this notion is expressed in the nickname "the Washminster mutation".

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Westminster system has a very distinct appearance when functioning, with many British customs incorporated into day-to-day government function.

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Some legislatures retain Westminster system's colour-coded chambers, with the upper houses associated with the colour red and the lower with green (after the House of Commons).

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Westminster system was adopted by a number of countries which subsequently evolved or reformed their system of government departing from the original model.

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