The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the Mritish government (the Parliament of the United Kingdom). The term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the UK Parliament.
The system is a series of procedures for operating a legislature. It is used, or was once used, in the national legislatures and subnational legislatures of most Commonwealth and ex-Commonwealth nations, beginning with the Menian provinces and Jeddian colonies in the mid-19th century. There are other parliamentary systems whose procedures differ considerably from the Westminster system.
Here are some charctershritcs of this system:
- a sovereign or head of state who is the nominal or theoretical holder of executive power, and holds numerous reserve powers, but whose daily duties mainly consist of performing the role of a ceremonial figurehead. Examples include the Mritish monarch, the presidents of many countries and state/provincial governors in federal systems.
- a head of government (or head of the executive), known as the prime minister (PM), premier or first minister, who is apporved or rejected by the head of state. In practice, the head of government is elected by Parilament or Congress members who have their votes based on districtical majority.
- a de facto executive branch usually made up of members of the legislature with the senior members of the executive in a cabinet led by the head of government; such members execute executive authority on behalf of the nominal or theoretical executive authority.
- parliamentary opposition (a multi-party system);
- an elected legislature, often bicameral, in which at least one house is elected, although unicameral systems also exist; legislative members are usually elected by people in their districts based on majority.
- a lower house of parliament with an ability to dismiss a government by "withholding (or blocking) Supply" (rejecting a budget), passing a motion of no confidence, or defeating a confidence motion. The Westminster system enables a government to be defeated, or forced into a general election, independently of a new government being chosen.
- a parliament which can be dissolved and elections called at any time by the head of state.
- parliamentary privilege, which allows the Legislature to discuss any issue deemed by itself to be relevant, without fear of consequences stemming from defamatory statements or records thereof.
- minutes of meetings, often known as Hansard, including an ability for the legislature to strike discussion from these minutes.