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The Institutional Approach: Changes That Would Take Place If A Country Changed From A Unitary To A Federal System - Essay Example

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Comparative public administration brings about the understanding of the institutional structures of government in different governmental administration. According to Hague & Harrop (2004), internationally comparative approach is needed. Given problems of conceptualization, the availability of reliable and comparable data, and the (sometimes-subtle) differences between political-administrative systems, a focused comparison has the best chances of being completed satisfactorily…
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The Institutional Approach: Changes That Would Take Place If A Country Changed From A Unitary To A Federal System
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Download file to see previous pages System of government has to do with pattern of how power allocation is being shared within the different arms and levels of government. The unitary system of government maintain the centralization of power within the central government with a subsidiary power position reserved for regional and local government. The central government in a unitary state has the power to usurp and take control of the jurisdictional functional areas of these subordinate government levels without prior notice of any difficult amendment procedure. The case is not so in a federal system of government where power among the different levels of government exist as coordinates, rather than a superior- subordinates relationship. Here, the role and jurisdictional power of each levels of government within the federal state is explicitly spelt out by the constitution of the state. Thus, the central or federal government has no power to take over the constitutional functions of the state or local governments. In such institutional power setting, the constitution would spell all tasks that are exclusive to the federal government only. ...
Thus, the institutional power structure of a state is determined by the adopted system of government. It is pertinent to state here that there is nothing, as a clear-cut federalist state and a pure unitary state, as in a unitary state there exist a level of decentralization, as well as a federal state where there is a level of centralization of power. In this view, Bakvis (1980:4) argues, "The distinction between federal and non-federal systems is not clear-cut. It is very difficult to find a purely federal state that meets all the criteria concerning the independent and co-ordinate status of governments as originally specified by K.C. Wheare (1946). At the same time, it would be unusual to find a system that can be called a purely unitary state. Most polities are decentralized in some form, even if it is only at the administrative level".
As already stated in the previous paragraph, a unitary state is one that is characterized by centralized power distribution revolving around the central government. For a country to transfer its governmental institutional setup to adapt to a federal system from a unitary system there would be decentralization of power from the central government to the other levels of government. The devolution of power here would mean that other tiers of government would not be subordinate to central government, but they would exist as coordinates, with autonomous power to operate in their constitutional given jurisdictional area. Here, there is the need for coexistence and harmony in the relationship that would take place among these tiers of government. According to Burgess (2000), "According ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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