Hundreds of years ago, kings and queens ruled the land; they were the Head of State. They oversaw all affairs of the nation, internal and external alike. Then in the late 18th century, a new form of government was born in America. This new system was created out of wariness of the executive power, with people seeing it as the most likely source of tyranny.
An example of which is King George III of Great Britain, who had committed himself in establishing “absolute tyranny” over his colonies, making him (for the many observers) the villain of the Revolutionary War. Because of this, Constitutional Monarchy was created. This new government system still recognizes the role of monarchs in state affairs; however, their governing powers are restricted by the terms of a constitution to ensure that power is not abused. Of course, like all other forms of government, Constitutional Monarchy has its pros and cons. Let us take a look at the most prominent of them.
List of Pros of Constitutional Monarchy
1. It allows continuity.
One major advantage of having the monarchy is that it has no limited terms. It is a lifetime position, ensuring continuity of rulership and creating stability. It allows a country to build a stable connection with other governments, unlike in the presidential, where external relationships can be affected by a change in presidency.
2. It preserves history, culture, and tradition.
The monarch’s continuity of influence is not only political. Unlike in presidential countries where the head of state changes every four years, the monarchy is there to provide the country and its people a sense of history, culture and tradition throughout the years. The monarch is there to act as a visible symbol of unity.
3. It balances power.
In this system of government, a monarch acts as a non-political head of the state, leaving all decisions pertaining to the state to the parliament. British political theorist Walter Bagehot wrote on the three main political rights a constitutional monarch could freely exercise. These are the right to be consulted, the right to be advised, and the right to warn. So now, does this mean that the parliament can do whatever it wants? No. Because while its power is limited, the monarch may hold formal powers such as giving Royal Assent to legislation or dissolving the parliament.
List of Cons of Constitutional Monarchy
1. The monarch cannot be removed.
The monarch in position, no matter how poor or unworthy he is, cannot be removed from his position. In some cases, a young child is put on the throne even when he cannot be expected to rule a country. There a number of monarchs in history who were crowned even before they learn how to walk. Among them are Amentohep, Pyrrhus of Epirus, Anne de Bretagne-Jean Bourdichon, and Fulin (The Shunzhi Emperor). As incapable they are to rule on the day they were place on the throne, tradition saw it happen, which is inarguably the big con of constitutional monarchy.
2. It makes progression difficult.
One challenge for a government system engraved in traditions and customs is that it makes it difficult for internal changes to happen. Since decisions are made with deference to the royal family, changes or improvements to the system could take slower.
3. It is expensive to maintain.
Many, especially those who believe that monarchy should be abolished, believe that monarchy is unnecessary, expensive and obsolete. Critics argue that the cost of maintaining the royal family’s home and providing them security is costing tax payers great amount of money with no “real” benefit to the country since monarchs don’t really have ruling power.
The arguments on the negative side of the coin reasonably have their merits; however, the pros presented are also valid and true. Because first, for a nation to maintain a sense of unity, it has to have a sense of history and tradition too, which in this case the monarchy serves well. Second, the monarchy is not completely powerless. It holds a formal power to abolish the parliament should the need arise or should the latter abuses or misuses its power.