What is the difference between parliamentary and presidential governments?
What are the main differences between the parliamentary system of government versus the presidential system? For example, Germany's parliamentary system versus Mexico's presidential system. I'm particularly interested in the pros and cons of each.
The major difference between these two systems is that in a Presidential system, the executive leader, the President, is directly voted upon by the people (Or via a body elected specifically for the purpose of electing the president, and no other purpose), and the executive leader of the Parliamentary system, the Prime Minister, is elected from the legislative branch directly.
In the Presidential System, it is more difficult to enact legislation, especially in the event that the President has different beliefs than the legislative body. The President only responds to the people, the legislative branch can't really do anything to threaten the President. As a result, he can make it more difficult for the legislative body to do anything.
In the Parliamentary system, if the Parliament doesn't like the Prime Minister, they can cast a vote of no confidence and replace him. This tends to make the executive leader subservient to the Parliament.
Bottom line is, if you believe that government should have more checks and balances, then a Presidential system will give you that. If you believe that it should have the power to enact laws quickly, then you should go for a Parliamentary system.
`if you believe that government should have more checks and balances, then a Presidential system will give you that.` I disagree. You can have checks and balances in either system. In practice, presidents tend to be more powerful than prime ministers, because power is directly vested in a president whereas a prime minister is at the mercy of parliament. I take the perspective that presidential systems _need_ stronger checks and balances to counter that, rather than that checks and balances are a feature of presidential systems. See also: https://politics.stackexchange.com/q/12025/22936
Note that a parliamentary system of government often still _has_ a President. For example Finland and Germany are considered to have a parliamentary system, but do have a President, whose post is (mostly) ceremonial.