Is India's constitution written or unwritten

Great Britain and India: Two Political Systems in Comparison

Table of Contents

1. The concept of the political system

2. The political systems of Great Britain and India in comparison
2.1 Great Britain
2.1.1 The Constitution
2.1.2 The government
2.1.3 Parliament
2.1.4 The voting system
2.1.5 The parties
2.2 India
2.2.1 The Constitution
2.2.2 The government
2.2.3 Parliament
2.2.4 The electoral system
2.2.5 The parties

3. Great Britain's Influences on the Indian Political System


1. The concept of the political system

The concept of the political system is considered a standard political science term that seems to be self-explanatory. Most monographs, for example, refrain from explicitly specifying a definition of the political system. So on the one hand there is a vague version of the term, on the other hand there is also a strictly system-theoretical usage. Systems theory understands a political system to be a social sub-system that is responsible for producing collectively binding decisions. This includes all state and non-state institutions. D. Easton (1957) sees the political system both as addressees of social claims and benefits (inputs) and as suppliers of binding decisions and measures (outputs). In contemporary political science, many analyzes are based on the classic institutional system of western industrial societies (e.g. government, parliament, elections, party system, interest groups) (Nohlen 1998: 610ff.).

In this paper, the concept of the political system is narrowly limited to the representation of state institutions. Instead of the political system, the term of the system of government, which only has state institutions such as the constitution, the government, the parliament, the electoral system and the parties, can be used. However, it should be emphasized once again that state institutions alone do not constitute a political system. Non-governmental organizations such as economic, social and cultural interest groups play an essential role in the political process. To go into this in detail, however, would go beyond the scope of the housework.

2. The political systems of Great Britain and India in comparison

Great Britain and India belong to different cultures and have therefore gone through very different developments. Therefore it is difficult or even impossible in some respects to compare these two countries with one another. And yet both have a link: they can look back on part of a shared history, the colonial era. In the 17th century the British East India Company established branches in Madras, Calcutta and Bombay, among others, and through this private trading company Great Britain ruled India indirectly until the Sepoy Rebellion in 1857. This was followed by direct British rule, which did not end until 1947 with India's independence. The colonial era mainly influenced the Indian political system:

"Britain's contributions to India undoubtedly include the introduction of ideas, institutions, and language conducive to the evolution of a liberal democracy in amodern state. [...] One process unfolded within Britain itself as Liberals and Conservatives and later Labor debated the most suitable forms of government in changing socio-economic circumstances and so generated concepts of "good government" and institutions of "representative government" and "democracy" that were later echoed in British dependencies such as India. ”(Mansingh 1998: 15) At this point the question arises to what extent these changes have persisted to this day. The British modified India's policy to a great extent during the colonial period, but whether this was done in the long term cannot be clearly assessed without a detailed examination of the facts. This problem is to be investigated by comparing the political systems of Great Britain and India.

2.1 Great Britain

2.1.1 The Constitution

Great Britain is the only state in Europe that does not have a constitution that is formulated in a single document. Statutory regulations, traditional conventions and recognized representations of constitutional principles form a foundation of regularity, however, without systematisation and without hierarchy. All British laws are equally important, there are none with special constitutional quality (Kastendiek et al. 1998: 194). The basic statutes enacted by parliament (statue law) are the Magna Charta Libertatum (1215), the Petition of Rights (1627), the Habeas Corpus Act (1679), the Bill of Rights (1689) and the Act of Settlement (1701) and the parliamentary laws from 1911 to 1949. The constitutional conventions have the character of rules of the game for the political process that regulate the relations between Westminster (parliament), Whitehall (government, ministerial administration) and the Queen. They are only rarely put down in writing, but are considered a recognized catalog of standards. In Great Britain there is also a kind of constitutional theory through various substitute constitutional texts, the most important of which are Walter Bagehots The English Constitution (1867) and Albert Venn Diceys The Law of the Constitution (1885).

The two cornerstones of the British Constitution, however, are the rule of law and parliamentary sovereignty. The rule of law is understood to mean the binding of state action, which is intended to protect against state arbitrariness and which ensures that parliament enacts laws regulating the transfer of powers to the government. No special majorities are required to amend the constitution because there is no constitutional document. This simplifies the practice of flexible constitutional development. The notion of parliamentary sovereignty will be discussed in more detail in the section on the UK Parliament.

In 1998, the British Constitution was also given a kind of "catalog of fundamental rights" when the European Convention on Human Rights, which the British government had already signed in 1952, was adopted into British law. In the tradition of English common law, British judges can continuously develop this “catalog of fundamental rights” on the basis of precedents (Bundeszentrale 1999: 6ff.).

The political system in Great Britain is also characterized by a high degree of intertwining of powers.

2.1.2 The government

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as Great Britain's full name is, is a hereditary constitutional monarchy, the head of state of which is the ruling monarch. The British are therefore not citizens, but subjects. Officially, it is not the parliament that governs, but the Queen of Parliament. One of the duties of the monarch is to appoint members of the government, bishops of the Anglican Church - the state church of Great Britain -, chief judges and heads of the military sworn in on the monarch, at the suggestion of the Prime Minister. The functions of the monarch are therefore of a representative, ceremonial and integrative nature (Bundeszentrale 1999: 8). Active intervention by the monarch can, however, become unavoidable if unclear parliamentary majorities result in the dissolution of parliament or if in a parliament without a majority for a party one of the party leaders has to be commissioned to form a government (Sturm 1991: 182f.).

Accordingly, the country is officially ruled by the monarch; however, the actual executive power rests with the party that forms the government majority as a result of elections, headed by the prime minister. Government work is based on three principles: The dominant position of the prime minister is controversial. Its power is not limited by a coalition partner or a constitutional principle. The prime minister's patronage potential is reinforced nowadays by a media-friendly, personalized political style. The British constitutional theorist Richard Crossmann has therefore put forward the thesis of prime ministerial government.

The second working principle is dercollective responsibility, the collective responsibility of the ministers for government decisions. If a minister does not agree with a decision, he can express his criticism internally at appropriate meetings. In public, however, he has to support the decision or he has to resign. In the case of ministerial responsibility, the minister is responsible for the policy of his ministry. Serious mistakes lead to his resignation or his dismissal (Bundeszentrale 1999: 9).

In the area of ​​local politics, local self-government cannot be reconciled with the British principle of central government operating from London. The municipalities (counties and these subordinate districts) can only perform the tasks assigned to them by the central government within narrow limits, because all state power - including municipal authority - is derived from parliament. The national territory is viewed as a unit on which local bodies are located only for the purpose of efficient administration, to which certain competences have been assigned by parliament (Hübner & Münch 1998: 62).

Critics of the so-called British "Westminster Model" argue that there are no counterweights to the executive and the prime minister's power. They see only one effective way of limiting power: the defeat of the government majority in the general election. The proponents of the “Westminster model”, on the other hand, emphasize its efficiency orientation, uncompromising attitude and the lack of blockades from other powers (Kastendiek et al. 1998: 202).

2.1.3 Parliament

According to the classic definition of the constitutional theorist Albert Venn Dicey from 1885, the term parliamentary sovereignty is understood to mean the right of parliament to pass or abolish any law. It is therefore not tied to any of his previous decisions (Kastendiek et al. 1998: 194).

Parliamentary sovereignty is derived from the unitary state; it is indivisible. Although competences can be assigned to regional parliaments, they cannot rely on their own state quality. Theoretically, all political institutions in Great Britain can be dissolved again in the lower house of the British Parliament with a one-vote majority (Bundeszentrale 1999: 8).

The British Parliament consists of two chambers: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. In the lower house there are 650 members of the government and the opposition, who are elected for five years. Within the government, a distinction can be made between those MPs who hold government offices and the so-called “backbenchers” who have no government office. The office of opposition leader is paid by the state. The parliamentary sessions are chaired by the speaker, who is elected by the members of parliament. Care is taken to ensure that the speaker represents the interests of all parliamentarians. The prominent role of the speaker shows that in the British Parliament the plenary debates are in the foreground and not the committee work.

The tasks of the House of Commons include legislating, electing the head of government, overseeing the government and publicly addressing political issues. Here the opposition has only a weak position. It sees itself primarily as a criticism, as a government in a waiting state. Only on 19 days (denoposition days) does the opposition determine the topics of the discussion. The government majority decides on an early end of the session on a partial aspect of a law (closure), on the end of the debate and thus the time of the vote of the lower house (quillotine) as well as on the selection of topics for discussion when considering changes to the law (kanga- roo) (Kastendiek et al. 1998: 209).

Besides the monarchy, the House of Lords is the second state institution that has largely lost its former importance. Today it is an institution clearly subordinate to the House of Commons. In relation to the House of Commons, the House of Lords does not see itself in a conflict situation, but in a complementary function (Kastendiek et al. 1998: 207). It has the opportunity to thoroughly discuss the House of Commons' draft bills, which are usually passed under time pressure. The expertise of many area experts in the House of Lords plays an essential role in this. Since 1949 it has only been possible for the House of Lords to postpone a legislative proposal by the House of Commons for a maximum of one year. The House of Commons can reject any objection with a simple majority.

The over 1000 members who sit in the House of Lords in the UK Parliament are not elected. About two thirds of the lords have inherited their peers dignity. Since 1958, the Prime Minister has had the opportunity to appoint life peers. They essentially do the political work. A distinction must also be made between the Lords Spiritual, the spiritual lords such as the Archbishops and Bishops of the Anglican Church, and the Lords Temporal, the secular lords, to which the members of the royal family and the Law Lords belong. The Law Lords are highly qualified judges who make up the House of Lords Judicial Committee, the final judicial body of appeal in civil and criminal matters. In contrast, the House of Commons is solely responsible for financial legislation (Bundeszentrale 1999: 11).

2.1.4 The voting system

The UK electoral system is characterized by a high degree of continuity. Since 1832, the number of eligible voters has gradually increased, and the constituency sizes have been adjusted to one another several times. These reforms ensured that the UK majority electoral system was never seriously challenged as proportional representation began to prevail in Europe around the turn of the century. In the majority voting system, the electoral area is divided into as many constituencies as there are mandates to be assigned. The candidate who wins the most votes in his constituency receives the mandate without the remaining votes being offset at a higher level.

The relative majority electoral system is characterized by the tendency to establish a two-party system - in Great Britain with the Conservatives and the Labor Party - unless strong regional parties oppose it, and at the same time the aversion to smaller parties that have not developed regional focuses. This leads to an under- or over-representation of the votes and to a great sensitivity with regard to changes in the opinion of the electorate, because the change in votes from one major party to the other is usually accompanied by a clearly excessive loss or gain of mandates. Between 1964 and 1979 there was a relatively frequent change of government between the Laboratory and the Tories.

One advantage of the British majority voting system, however, is that it converts the relative majority of votes of the largest party into absolute mandate majorities, which is why coalitions are unnecessary and the decision as to who holds government power lies directly with the voter. Still, after a reform of the UK electoral system, voices are getting louder. A modified German electoral system (additional member system) is up for debate (Hübner & Münch 1998: 94ff.).

2.1.5 The parties

There is no political party law in the UK. According to the British understanding, parties are social initiatives for which the state is not responsible and which it does not finance with tax revenues (Bundeszentrale 1999: 14). The primary goal of British parties is not the representation of social interests, but the conquest of political power, which is concentrated solely in parliament (Kastendiek et al. 1998: 204).

The structure of the relative majority voting system has consequences for party competition. Parties with broad support but few strongholds in the country are clearly disadvantaged, as the votes cast for them are not taken into account in almost all constituencies. It is difficult for a third party to gain political influence. In a two-party system, however, the existence of smaller parties is not excluded, only their participation in the government.

The Labor Party has been in government since 1997, and its transformation from Old Labor to New Labor went hand in hand with a greater distance from the trade unions. The Conservative Party is the second strongest force in parliament, which primarily aims to defend national traditions and institutions (Bundeszentrale 1999: 15). The Irish nationalists are currently the most stable third party. The British electoral system causes difficulties for smaller parties, but regionally anchored parties aiming at self-determination, autonomy or breaking away from the motherland can certainly be influential. The Welsh party Plaid Cymru, for example, relies on nationalism and the preservation of the Welsh language. Linguistic assimilation will be inevitable in the future. How this will affect the party remains to be seen.It is likely, however, that it will become less important. The Scottish National Party, which advocates an independent Scotland, has clearly lost its explosiveness (Hübner & Münch 1998: 79ff.).

2.2 India

2.2.1 The Constitution

India gained independence from British colonial power on August 15, 1947. The constitution of the Republic of India, which came into force on January 26, 1950, is one of the longest and most detailed constitutions in the world with its 395 articles and nine appendices. It contains both the federal constitution and the standard constitution of the federal states. The constitutional fathers practically adopted the colonial constitution (Government of India Act) of 1935, which was expanded by a catalog of basic rights (Bundeszentrale 1997: 27ff.). This resulted in a “peculiar contrast between a centralized British-style parliamentary democracy and a 'federalism from above', which is also rooted in colonial heritage,” which is anchored in the Indian constitution to this day (Rothermund 1995: 389). According to Article 1 of the constitution, India is a union state with a federal structure: it consists of 25 union states with equal rights and seven centrally administered union territories. The federal structure of India is necessary in order to give the many regional interests in the multi-ethnic state opportunities to express themselves. Every Indian citizen has the basic rights, i. H. Freedom of opinion, speech, belief, assembly and association as well as the free choice of residence and occupation, guaranteed by the constitution. Because of these rights, no Indian may be discriminated against because of his race, religion, belief or gender; He can sue in court for violations of the catalog of fundamental rights. Nevertheless, it should not be left unmentioned that the caste system is still ubiquitous in India and so social injustices are legitimized.

Since the colonial constitution of 1935 was tailor-made for the viceroy and served as a template for the Indian constitution of 1950, at first glance it looks like a presidential constitution. The Prime Minister is only mentioned briefly. But that is deceptive. So it says42. Amendment of 1976 that the President must follow the advice of the Council of Ministers, and the 44th Amendment of 1978 that the president can only declare a state of emergency if the Council of Ministers has issued a written resolution (Rothermund 1995: 389).

Constitutional amendments require the consent of the President and a majority of MPs from both Houses of Parliament, at least two-thirds of those present. In the event of interference in the federal structure of India, in the case of restructuring of the judicial organization or the presidential election mode, at least half of the state parliaments must also agree.

The bourgeois parliamentary democracy of the Indian republic also provides for a strict three-way division of powers into executive, legislative and judicial branches (Günther et al. 1990: 33).

2.2.2 The government

The head of the Indian Union is the President; the governors appointed by him act as heads of the union states. The state president is not elected directly, but by a committee of federal and state representatives. He can belong to a different party than the Indian Prime Minister. The extensive emergency powers of the President of the Republic are noteworthy: they can be used and civil liberties revoked if the internal order of the state is threatened or an external attack is imminent. However, after six months at the latest, the imposition must be confirmed by both Houses of Parliament. Furthermore, the President can remove a Union state from its government if the Governor of a Union State informs the central government that the Union state which he administers has become “ungovernable”. This measure is referred to as president's rule (Bundeszentrale 1997: 29f.). However, the Indian Prime Minister has repeatedly been able to make use of the extensive emergency powers of the President by giving the President appropriate advice. There are no known cases in which the President has spoken out against such a council (Rothermund 1995: 390).

The executive branch of the Indian Union consists of the President, the Vice-President and the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. Officially, the executive power of the Union is exercised in the name of the President, but the real executive power lies with the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, i.e. the cabinet, cabinet ministers of state and certain vice ministers. In his absence, the President is represented by the Vice-President, who also chairs the Upper House of the Central Parliament. The prime minister and the council of ministers are collectively responsible to the lower house of the central parliament and depend on its vote of confidence (Günter et al. 1990: 34). The Indian Prime Minister has a position so strong that his colleagues in other countries can only dream of it (Rothermund 1995: 391). One of the tasks of the prime minister is to appoint the ministers to be appointed by the state president.

In the Union states, the government consists of the governor and the Council of Ministers, headed by the Chief Minister. Here the governor appoints the chief ministers and the ministers proposed by this, who are collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly (VidhanSabha) of the Union state. In the Union states, too, the actual executive power is exercised not by the governor, but by the chief minister and his government (Günther et al. 1990: 35).

2.2.3 Parliament

India has a parliamentary form of government. The government must answer for all its decisions and actions to the elected representatives of the people in parliament. Ultimately, sovereignty rests with the people.

India has a bicameral parliament, made up of the Rajya Sabha- demCouncil of States or House of Lords - and the Lok Sabha- demHouse of People, respectively. House of Commons - put together.

The Indian Parliament represents the legislative power. The House of Commons dominates financial legislation, but all other laws require the consent of both Houses. Every other year, a third of the members of the Rajya Sabha resign and are replaced by new MPs. It consists of a maximum of 250 members, 12 of whom are appointed by the President on the basis of specialist knowledge or practical experience in certain scientific areas. The others are elected indirectly by the legislative assemblies of the Union states. The Lok Sabha is composed of 530 members of the States and 13 members of the Union Territories, who are directly elected every five years, as well as two members who are nominated by the President to represent the Anglo-Indian community. The Lok Sabha elects its own president (speaker).

In the Union states, the legislature consists of the governor and the legislative assembly, which in some states comprises only one house, in others it is supplemented by the legislative council, which has only consultative rights. Some of the Union territories administered by an administrator appointed by the President also have legislative bodies (Günther et al. 1990: 35).

2.2.4 The electoral system

The Indian Constitution only lays down the basic rules for elections. The definition of the details of the right to vote was left to later legislation by the Constitutional Fathers. Therefore, the vast majority of Indian suffrage can be found in the Representation of People Act of 1950 and 1951, which has been supplemented several times based on the experience gained in the general elections and with a view to simplifying the electoral process. The electoral laws are uniform across the country. Every Indian citizen is entitled to vote, unless they are excluded from voting for specific reasons, such as insanity, crime, corruption or illegal business.

The Indian parliament is elected by majority voting, with a third of the members of the upper house being elected every two years in state elections and every five years the members of the lower house in general elections. An electoral college, which consists of the members of both houses of the central and state parliaments, elects the Indian president every five years. The vice-president is also appointed for five years by the two houses of the central parliament in a joint meeting (Günther et al. 1990: 34).

Until 1967 the federal and state elections were held in parallel, which resulted in an enormous stabilization of the political scene. In 1971 Indir a Gandhi uncoupled the federal government from the state elections by bringing the elections forward by one year. The general election became a national plebiscite. The state elections, which had gotten in step through the multiple use of the despresident's rule, lost their significance for national politics. As a result, regional parties were founded, each limited to one federal state (Rothermund 1995: 403).

2.2.5 The parties

The parties are not mentioned in the Indian constitution. To date, however, a multi-party system with around 50 parties, small parties and independents has been established (Bänziger 1999). In order to achieve the status of a national party, an organization must have received at least four percent of the votes in four union states. In India, fewer than ten parties meet this requirement. In order to be recognized as a state party, an association must receive four percent of the votes in a union state. Under this condition, between 30 and 40 organizations are considered parties of states.

The parties in India are dependent on donations because they are not supported by the state and cannot finance themselves with the help of membership fees. This often creates connections between parties and financially strong interest groups, especially large companies.

The political activity of most parties is mainly focused on elections and working in parliament. Their main goal is to gain and maintain power, not the representation of interest groups according to a pluralistic understanding, which is why, with the exception of the Communist Party, they lack a fixed program. This explains the numerous coalitions between parties, which target very different groups of voters, as well as the frequent parties leaving and joining. Since state governments have repeatedly been overthrown by the constant change of party, this has no longer been allowed since 1985.

The most important national parties include the Indian National Congress (INC), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Janata Dal, the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) derived from this party. Thanks to the leading role of the INC in the Indian struggle for independence, the party has a broad social base and a nationwide organizational structure. Up until 1989, the INC owed its high share of the vote of 40 to 50 percent to its policy of defending national unity and its foreign and domestic policy concepts, which were well received by the majority of the Indian population (Günther et al. 1990: 36ff.). Since 1989 the INC has been increasingly ousted by the BJP, which has been the country's strongest party since the May 1996 elections. The BJP represents a militant Hindu nationalism and has asserted itself as a conservative force in the Indian party spectrum. The social base of the BJP is primarily formed by the lower middle classes of the urban population in northern India.

An Indian peculiarity lies in the strength of the regional parties, which are parties of a single Union state and often form the government there or are represented as the strongest opposition party. In the last 20 years the regional parties have gained in importance. They are parties that emerged from the controversies between the central government and the federal states - especially with regard to their economic neglect - and who embody the identity of a particular area (Draguhn 1989: 52).

The increasing influence of the regional parties was most recently reflected in the all-India parliamentary elections in September 1999. Neither of the two big parties was able to achieve an absolute majority. The Congress Party recorded the worst result in more than 50 years, and the BJP was only able to win the elections with the help of a “National Democratic Alliance” consisting of 24 parties. This government alliance brings together such diverse groups as "the Hindu zealots of the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, the Samata Party of the ancient socialist Fernandes in Bihar, the Akali Dal of the Sikhs in Punjab or the Dravidian nationalists of the DMK in Tamil Nadu" ( Bänziger 10/1999). The party merger was necessary for the BJP to win votes in southern India, where only a Hindu minority lives.

Political scientists fear for the political stability of India because of the BJP coalition. The fragmentation of the political landscape by the regional parties not only has the disadvantage that the political forces in India are seldom able to agree on a consensus; it also has positive sides: for far too long the ruling Congress party in Delhi has disregarded the legitimate interests of the Union states, and for far too long the upper castes, especially the Brahmins, have dominated the party landscape (Bänziger 04/1999). The “greatest democracy in the world”, as India is often referred to, is thus on the way to pluralism.

3. Great Britain's Influences on the Indian Political System

After the political systems of Great Britain and India have been presented individually, a concrete comparison of the state institutions of both countries now follows. As a historically evolved state, Great Britain does not have a written constitution, but in addition to the rule of law and the principle of parliamentary sovereignty, both of which are considered constitutional bases, only legal provisions, traditional conventions and various substitute constitutional texts as sources that justify and establish the form of government that exists today explain. The Indian Republic, on the other hand, has a constitution that came into force barely 50 years ago and that grew out of India's anglicised legal tradition. In terms of content, the Indian constitution follows the pattern of the British Government of India Act of 1935 in a striking way. It is based on its structure and on its concept of a uniformly regulated, centrally controlled federalism right down to the wording. They also have in common their extraordinary length (Rothermund 1995: 417f.). For example, the model of parliamentary democracy and cabinet government was adopted from the British constitution. The parliamentary form of democracy in India is sustainably strengthened by the adoption of unwritten British conventions, by subsequent decisions of the Supreme Court and by amendments to the constitution that restrict the power of the president (Bundeszentrale 1997: 29). Since Great Britain has an unwritten constitution, while India has a fully formulated constitution, the regulations for constitutional amendments are also different. While in Great Britain no special majorities are required to amend the constitution because there is no constitutional document, in India, in the simplest case, both the President and the majority of the members of both Houses of Parliament must approve an amendment.

The meaning of the catalogs of fundamental rights is also different. In Great Britain, a kind of catalog of fundamental rights was only adopted into British law in 1998; in India, fundamental rights are guaranteed to every citizen by the constitution. With regard to human rights violations in India, however, the extent to which fundamental rights are actually implemented there remains controversial.

In addition, the British principle of entanglement of powers contrasts with the Indian model of separation of powers.

With regard to the executive, a distinction should be made between the central government of Great Britain and the centrally governed federalism that is practiced in India, with the 25 Union states acting on an equal footing and the seven Union territories being administered from Delhi.

Executive power is exercised in Great Britain in the name of the Queen and in India in the name of the President. Similar tasks are associated with both state offices: both the Queen and the Indian President appoint, among other things, the leader of the strongest parliamentary group in the House of Commons as Prime Minister and, above all, have a representative function. The actual executive power rests with the prime minister and his government. The Indian prime minister also has all the rights that his British colleague is entitled to: he can dissolve parliament and appoint the ministers who are then appointed by the president (Rothermund 1995: 390). In India, due to the federal structure in the union states, the government also consists of the governor and the council of ministers headed by the chief minister.

Parliamentary sovereignty can be seen as a cornerstone of the British Constitution, while in India state authority is exercised on behalf of the people.However, India has taken over the form of the bicameral parliament from Great Britain. The tasks of both lower houses include legislation, control of the government and the public discussion of political problems. The members of the lower houses are directly elected every five years, with two members of the Anglo-Indian community in India. The Rajya Sabha is “a House of Lords based on the British model” (Bundeszentrale 1997: 29), which, however, is not made up, as in Great Britain, but of representatives indirectly elected for two years or nominated by the President.

In terms of financial legislation, the House of Commons dominates in both Great Britain and India. Nevertheless, India's Rajya Sabhaim has a strong position, unlike the British House of Lords, because all other laws require the approval of both Houses. What both states have in common is again the form of majority voting, although in India a multi-party system has not emerged as in Great Britain, but a multi-party system. One reason for this is the different importance of regional parties: while regional parties only play a subordinate role in Great Britain, they have become an important influencing factor for national politics in India over the last 20 years, which is why party coalitions are the rule there. There is no state funding for parties in either country. The parties are not interest groups in the classic sense, their primary goal is to gain and maintain power, which is even more evident in India than in Great Britain due to the unequal party coalitions.

Significant differences compared to the party systems of western societies result from the historical development and from the internal structure of the Indian parties: they did not emerge, like British parties, from the social upheavals resulting from industrialization, they did not act as a representation of the interests of industrial workers. Their development was rather the other way around. The Indian parties emerged before industrialization. The decisive factor for party formation was the liberation from colonial rule. Further new foundations took place after independence in 1947 and the simultaneous establishment of parliamentary democracy (Draguhn 1989: 45f.).

In summary, it can be stated that the changes that Great Britain made in India during the colonial period definitely influenced India's political system, as it has developed up to the present day. Whether it is the constitution, the parliamentary structure or the majority voting system, there are rules from the time when the British Empire ruled the Indian colony. It should not be overlooked, however, that India has willingly made use of the experience of other democracies: the United States adopted the canon of human rights and the institution of the Supreme Court, the Irish constitution the guiding principles of state action, and Canada the model of a federal system whose union government is empowered to ensure peace, order and effective governance in an emergency (Bundeszentrale 1997: 29). Last but not least, Indian politicians have also contributed their own ideas and experiences and made India what it is today: an independent country that, despite human rights violations and military interventions, is one of the very few states in the Third World with a fully democratic system Tradition.


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