A parliamentary system is one of the most common forms of government. Another name for it is parliamentarism. Typically, these states are a republic. However, there are also several constitutional monarchies. So, the head of state is a president or a monarch. On the other hand, the head of government is usually a prime minister or chancellor.
Unlike in the presidential system, the head of state and government are two different people. While the head of government holds executive power, the head of state holds only mostly ceremonial rights. Hence, there is a similarity with the semi-presidential system.
The government (the executives) gains the right to rule by winning “confidence” from elected members of parliament (legislators). At any moment, the parliament can vote to dismiss the government. That is called the “vote of no confidence.” Therefore, the parliament holds the government accountable. Hence, close cooperation between these two is necessary.
You can also call the government cabinet or administration. It is possible to form it in three ways. In some countries, members of the cabinet cannot be members of the parliament at the same time. Secondly, it can be the other way round. Thus, every cabinet member must also be an elected representative. Lastly, there are countries where no special rules are specified.
The parliament is responsible for making laws. It can be unicameral, with only one house – house of representatives or equivalent. Or bicameral with two houses – a lower house and an upper house. In general, the senate is the upper house. However, it is possible to encounter other names too.
Further, a supreme court can be established. It holds the judicial review power over the parliament and the government. Consequently, it can declare laws or orders unconstitutional.
The Parliamentary System in practice
Either a single party or a coalition of multiple parties forms the government. However, a multi-party system tends to be more unstable. That is a common problem in mainland Europe. As a result, the governments get dismissed frequently. On the other hand, the status quo with fewer parties in the UK is more stable. Besides that, Germany, Hungary, Canada, or India all use this system.