We learn from history and story books that it was kings and queens who ruled the land. Today, this is still the case in some countries across the world. However, instead of absolute monarchy where a single person has undivided sovereignty and rule, a constitutional monarchy has been adopted. In this case, a monarch still acts as a head of state but within a set of parameters of a constitution. This type of government is used in the United Kingdom, Japan, Spain, and Sweden, among other nations. Is constitutional monarchy the best type of government? Let us examine the pros and cons to form a better opinion.
List of Advantages of Constitutional Monarchy
1. There is continuity.
The monarch has no limited terms, so being the head of state is a lifetime position. This is advantageous because it allows the country to develop strong ties with other nations, unlike in other governments where the leader is replaced every four years or so.
2. The preservation of history, culture, and tradition.
Aside from a political role, the monarch provides a sense of history, culture, and tradition to the people and can act as a visible symbol of unity.
3. There is a balance of power.
The king or queen in a constitutional monarchy serve as a symbolic and non-political head of state, while the political power and decision-making lies on the parliament. This is a good thing because it can prevent monarchs from becoming power hungry. It also encourages a more cohesive form of government as the Prime Minister and advisers are there to guide the monarch in making governing choices. The monarch still has three political rights, which are the right to be consulted, the right to be advised, and the right to warn. And the parliament isn’t necessarily free to just do whatever they want because the monarch can hold formal powers. These can include dissolving the parliament or giving Royal Assent to the legislation.
List of Disadvantages of Constitutional Monarchy
1. It makes progression more difficult.
Since the monarchical system is deeply engraved in the tradition and customs of a country, it can be more challenging to create internal political changes. Whatever changes will be suggested must be carefully considered in deference to the royal family.
2. The monarch cannot be removed.
Because it is a life-long position, the king or queen cannot be removed no matter how unworthy or poor they are in performing their duties. Also, since the monarchy is passed on by blood rather than by votes or appointment, there can be instances when a child who is still unfit to rule will be put on the throne. This has already happened several times in history.
3. It promotes class privilege.
Not everyone can be born or wed into a royal family, so there are only a limited few who can become ruling monarchs of a country. This can further push the idea that success can be achieved based only on your social class instead of your hard work and determination. Another issue is that the maintenance of the lifestyle and the security provided for the royal family is an unnecessary expense for taxpayers.
The monarchs are a great symbol for unifying people and giving a sense of tradition and history to a nation. However, the benefits of a constitutional monarch are still being debated up to today.