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The structure of goverment in the UK and the USA
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The Queen is officially head of all the branches of government, but she has little direct power in the country. The constitution has three branches: Parliament, which makes laws, the government, which laws (puts them into effect) and the courts, which interpret laws. Parliament has two parts: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Members of the House of Commons are elected by the voters of 650 constituencies. They are known as Members of Parliament. The Prime Minister is advised by a Cabinet of about twenty other ministers.
The Prime Minister, or leader of the Government, is usually the leader of the political party. The Cabinet includes the ministers in charge of major government departments or ministries. Departments and ministries are run by civil servants, who are permanent officials. Even if the Government changes after an election, the same civil servants are employed. Members of the House of Lords are not elected. About 70 per cent of them are because their fathers were peers before them. 30 per sent are officially appointed by the Queen, on the advice of the Government, for various services for people.
Gordon Brown is the UK’s new Prime Minister. He has taken over from Tony Blair, who had the job for 10 years. His real name is James Gordon Brown He is 55 years old Like Tony Blair, he belongs to the Labour Party He was born in Glasgow, Scotland His father was a Church of Scotland minister He was brought up with his brothers John and Andrew He was super clever at school He was accepted by the University of Edinburgh to study history at the age of only 16 He is married. His wife’s name is Sarah Before he went into politics, he was a lecturer and worked as a TV journalist He became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on the 27th of June, 2007 He used to be good at rugby and tennis He can work 18 hours a day He supports Raith Rovers football club He says he owns an IPod music player and is a fan of TV’s X-Factor It is said that he likes to wake up to the sound of the Arctic Monkeys
The party which wins the most seats in the General Election forms the government in Britain. The leader of the winning party becomes Prime Minister. As the leader of their political parties and leaders of the country, Prime Ministers are powerful because they have the majority supported in Parliament and they can choose their own ministers and government. The PM, chooses a committee of ministers called the Cabinet. This is made up of the selection of senior MPs from the House of Commons and some members of the House of Lords. Each member of the Cabinet is the minister responsible for a government department: for example, the Secretary of State for Education and Science is responsible for all the schools, universities and teachers in Britain. The Cabinet meets at the Prime Minister’s house – 10 Downing Street. The cabinet works as a team and all ministers must accept the decisions of the «group». The team of ministers must always agree in public because they are collectively responsible for the decisions they make. If a minister cannot agree with all the others, he usually resigns from the Cabinet. Cabinet meetings are held in private and the details must remain secret for at least 30 years. Margaret Thatcher tried to change this style of the Cabinet and was forced to resign when the other ministers could not agree with her. Cabinet ministers cannot, however, do as they please! They are responsible to Parliament and must answer questions every Tuesday and Thursday in the Commons – this is called Prime Minister’s Question Time. Everyone wants to know what has been decided behind the closed doors of the Cabinet Room.
The Monarch Is the official head of state and an integral part of Parliament in her constitutional role; has mostly representative functions; gives the royal assent to the House of Lords; is the head of the Commonwealth of Nations The Government The Prime Minister Is the head of government; is the leader of the party with the majority seats in the House of Commons The Cabinet About 20 ministers; determines policies and coordinates government departments Non – Cabinet Ministers Parliament The House of Commons The House of Lords (about 650 elected MPs – members of Parliament) makes laws; discussed political problems The Official Opposition The largest opposition party; forms the Shadow Cabinet (over 1100 permanent, non-elected members; peers and life peers) examines and revises bills from the House of Commons; can delay bills for one year People (all men and women over 18) chooses chooses elect Is responsible to officially appoints life peers officially appoints
Congress The House of Representatives 435 members The Senate 100 members The Administration The President The Vice President The Cabinet Secretaries as heads Of the most Important Departments in the Administration The People All men and women over 18 approve elect elect appoints
After its 200th birthday the United States of America still holds the leading position in the western world. A country that has inspired many names - , , is still referred to as land of superlatives - , , . In size the United States is not the biggest. What makes the USA the leader of the western world is its economic, political and military dominance over other countries. The United States is a parliamentary republic. The Government is divided into 3 branches: legislative (the US Congress), executive (the President and his Administration) and judicial (the US Supreme Court). There are two main political parties in the USA: the Democratic (symbolized by a ) and the Republican (symbolized by an ). The US president is both head of State and of government. He is elected for a 4 – year term. The Supreme Court consists of Chief Justice and 8 Associate Justices who are appointed for life. The Supreme Court is supposed to decide whether a law of the Congress or an executive order of the President is .