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Glossary of Comparative Politics Midterm

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Nation-state
states in which national identification and the scope of legal authority largely coincide
State of Nature
the condition that would exist if no government were present
Welfare state
state that supports social welfare assistance, unemployment benefits, accident and sickness insurance, old age pensions, public education, and the like
Democracy
a political system in which citizens enjoy a number of basic civil and political rights, and in which their most important political leaders are elected in free and fair elections and accountable under a rule of law
Nation
large-scale communities based on a common perceived identity
Parliamentary Regime
a kind of government that makes executive and legislative branches interdependent
Separation of Powers
Montesquieu’s idea; has the virtue of preventing injustices that might result from an unchecked executive for the legislature
Democratic Presidential Regime
provides two separate agencies of government: executive and legislative, separately elected and authorized by the people
Whitehall
refers collectively to the executive agencies of government; named after the London street in which many major government offices are located
Downing Street
prime minister’s residence is located; a short and narrow street off Whitehall
Westminster
refers collectively to government institutions; named after the district in London in which they are located
Constitution of 1958
France’s sixteenth constitution since the fall of the Bastille; submitted by general De Gaulle for popular approval; offered to remedy previous failings of French political parties and coalition politics; the president of the Republic became the visible head of state in represented unity of the national community; he relies on the Parliament, Cabinet, and the people for the full weight of government action
Constitutional Council
originally safeguarded against any legislative erosion of the constraints that the constitution has placed on the prerogatives of Parliament; increasingly important role in the legislative process
Jean-Marie Le Pen
founded the National Front (FN) in 1972; the FN was a relatively obscure far right party until the 1980s
Bundestag
popularly elected; primary legislative body; represents the state governments at the national level (Germany)
Federal Republic of Germany (FRG)
set up to “temporarily” govern the Western part of Germany; occupied by Allied forces
Ostpolitik
Brandt and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) won 1969 elections in West Germany and proposed this policy toward the East; accepted the postwar political situation and sought reconciliation with the nations of Eastern Europe, including the GDR
Judicial Review
the Supreme Court decides whether a law is valid based on its constitutionality
Political Action Committee (PAC)
any organization that is not formally affiliated with a particular party or candidate and spends money to influence the outcome of elections
Electoral College
composed of representatives from municipal, departmental, and regional councils in which rural constituencies are overrepresented (France)

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