Parliament in Parliamentary Democracy: Theoretical-Institutional Framework (Understanding the Westminster Parliament System)

  • A. T. M. Obaidullah


This chapter outlines the conceptual framework of parliamentary democracy and what is popularly called the ‘Westminster system.’ It presents the pivotal position of parliament in the Westminster model as compared with the presidential system. The main feature that characterizes the parliamentary system is its ability to hold the executive to account for its actions and policies. The executive can remain in power so long as it enjoys the support of the majority of MPs. This chapter also asks why parliaments in most developing countries cannot discharge their expected role and assert supremacy over the executive and why parliaments in post-colonial countries do not institutionalize or contribute to the consolidation of their democracies. By contrast, parliaments that have been institutionalized and consolidated in developed countries can assert their supremacy and play the role expected by the Westminster model. A parliament that is not yet institutionalized can hardly exercise its constitutional authority over the executive. This chapter presents the IPU framework of institutionalized parliament against which the post-restoration reform initiatives of Bangladesh Parliament have been analyzed in order to ascertain the present institutional capacity of the Bangladesh Parliament.


Westminster model Elements Supremacy Parliamentary power Resource Accountability 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. T. M. Obaidullah
    • 1
  1. 1.Public AdministrationUniversity of RajshahiDhakaBangladesh

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