Parliamentary government is a form of government where the executive derives its political legitimacy from the parliamentary representative body. From a historical point of view, it is a European invention and continues to be the most common form of government on this continent. Outside Europe, its diffusion has been limited, and presidential or semipresidential forms have often been preferred. This entry discusses the origins of parliamentary systems, the various forms they take, and current problems with respect to this form of government. Parliamentary government is one of the possible solutions to a crucial liberal and democratic problem—the problem of how to ensure both the political legitimacy of the executive and, at the same time, its accountability. The basic idea behind this form of government is that the parliamentary institution, as the highest representative body of the political community, should hold the keys to the life of the executive. This constitutional ...