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CHAT: figureheads etc [WAS: Re: For information only !]

From:Stephen Mulraney <ataltanie@...>
Date:Saturday, June 19, 2004, 8:37
Joe wrote:

> Christophe Grandsire wrote: > >> >> Actually, the French system makes so much sense that it's far from the >> only country having such a system. Like parliamentary systems like the >> British one, France has separate heads of state and government. It >> just happens that our head of state is a president, like in Germany >> and Italy for instance. The only difference with Germany and Italy >> being that our head of state is elected directly by the people rather >> than indirectly by the parliament, and has actual executive powers >> (which go in line with being elected directly. One wouldn't waste a >> direct election for a figurehead). >
Why not? A figurehead serves a very visible and public function too, even if it's not a position of power. The issue of whether these functions are of value or not is another argument, but given a figurehead, why not have an elected figurehead? But see my remarks below.
> > Of course, Ireland is an example of a Parliamentary system with a > directly elected President - where the Taoiseach(Prime Minister) leads > the Executive. >
The Irish president *is* directly elected, however she's mostly a figurehead. A waste? I don't think so; if you're going to have a figurehead, I think he or she might as well be personally popular. A contrast is the Lord Mayor of Dublin: a figurehead, but elected by the Council (formerly Corporation). The Lord Mayor commands no particular respect or loyalty, and it's widely regarded as a pointless position (and add to that the fact that the term is only a year...). The President is fairly popular, on the other hand, with most criticisms of her really taking issue with the value of having a figurehead head of state, rather then with her personally. (The incumbent is also the first President to come from Northern Ireland). ObUsage (ObRant?): "Prime Minister" for "Taoiseach" is more or less wrong. It's never used in Ireland, and sounds like nothing but a typical mistake by a foreigner (well, a British person, really ). Only after living in England for three years, have I come to condone it, and only because the misuse is so widespread here. If you really must use a generic title in place of "Taoiseach", then say "Premier", not "Prime Minister". :) s. -- Stephen Mulraney The best way to remove a virus is with vi and a steady hand -- me


Joe <joe@...>