It is extremely difficult to achieve all three dimensions, and this explains its evasiveness. This essay will first introduce the concept of a stable democracy and then explain the role of a strong legislature in its existence. The essay will then use the UK and US legislatures as examples of the effect of strong legislatures on stable democracies and explain how these countries’ legislatures have contributed to their sound democracies. Finally, the essay will reaffirm the stance adopted by stating that stronger legislatures are vital for stable democracies.
To understand the impact of legislatures on democracy, it is first necessary to understand that legislatures are, in most countries, branches of the executive (Saathoff, 2012:48). Their common role of making laws means that they are one of the ruling arms of any governments in which they exist. In addition, in most countries, legislatures are tasked with checking the powers and actions of heads of state. These two roles (law making and power checking) are key to gaining a critical perspective of the impacts of legislatures on democracy and stable democracies, in particular (Lelan, 2012:29). Let us consider two countries that often come to mind whenever the subject of stable democracies comes up: the United Kingdom and the United States. In the United States, the modern world’s beacon of democracy, Congress is the legislating body. Looking at the history of America, it is easy to see that Congress has been at the heart of most laws that have defined the country’s democratic leadership and its institutional strengths.
As a matter of fact, the US Congress is the perfect example of a well-oiled, purpose-driven, and powerful legislature (Roper, 2013:37). The powers of the Congress, and the manner in which it exercises them have made it both a representative of the American public in the government and a formidable critic of the same government (Barkan, 2008:131). Congress checks