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Module Guide

This parliamentary democracy module is made up of eleven units as outlined below. Each unit contains an Overview, Learning Objectives, Commentary, Recommended Reading, Study Questions, and Internet Resources.

Unit 1

Introduction: Principles of the Westminster Model
Parliaments and Legislatures
Representative Government and Responsible Government
Shared Power and Parliamentary Sovereignty

Unit 2

The Westminster Model of Parliamentary Democracy: A Millennium of Evolution
The Development of Responsible Government
Broadening the Right to Vote
20th Century Reforms
The Crown's Role

Unit 3

Other Democratic Models of Governance
The American Presidential Model
The Mixed French System
Parliamentary Modifications in New Zealand, Israel and South Africa
Federalism and Charters of Rights

Unit 4

Legal Basis of Parliament
Constitutional Conventions and Written Constitutions
Upper Houses
Functions of Parliament
Relations between Legislatures in the Same State

Unit 5

The Executive and Legislative Branches of Government
under the Westminster Model
The Functions of the Cabinet
The Responsibilities of Cabinet Ministers
Prime Ministerial Dominance
The Decline of the Power of Legislative Assemblies

Unit 6

Privileges and Immunities of Members
What Are the Privileges and Immunities of Members?
Why Do these Privileges and Immunities Exist?
Limits to Privileges and Immunities

Unit 7

Roles of Members
Constituency Service
Who Are the Representatives?
Agency Representation

Unit 8

Role of Parties
Party Discipline
Parties and Legislative Leadership

Unit 9

Electoral Process
Free and Fair Elections
Electoral Boundaries

Unit 10

Electoral Systems
Majoritarian or Proportional?
Electoral Systems in Action
Proportional Systems

Unit 11

Future of Parliamentary Democracy
Direct Democracy
Technology and the Future: e-democracy?