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Over the last six months, we have watched as countries have responded differently to the Covid-19 pandemic. The response of some governments has been very centralized, while others have left decisions up to subnational units, such as states. In some countries, we have seen citizens protest restrictions, while in others they followed government directives. What explains these differences? In this paper, you will select two countries (the U.S. should not be one of them) and use the tools of comparative politics to compare and contrast the government’s Covid-19 response and (if you choose) citizens’ response to the government’s policies. You can use the most similar or most different systems approach, but the two countries must vary in their Covid responses (and if you choose to discuss citizen responses, this should vary as well). The variance could be regime type, institutional structure, political culture (or some other aspect of comparative politics that we have covered). The two countries I have picked are New Zealand and Belgium. I will be discussing New zealand which is a liberal democracy. Belgium is a constitutional monarchy. The king is the head of state and the prime minister is the head of government. Sophie Wilmes is the current prime minister of Belgium. Philippe of Belgium is the current king and head of state. New zealand is a Constitutional Monarchy with 3 different branches of government. The Current head of state is prime minister Jacinda Adern. I chose New Zealand and Belgium because of their geographic positions. New Zeandland is an island nation, while Belgium is mostly land locked. Also, I remembered from April how great New Zealand had done with their response to covid so I wanted to learn more about what they did to stop the spread. In contrast I did not hear much about how bad covid became in Belgium so I thought it would be interesting to learn about and compare to a country who had one of the best responses. I plan to discuss how geography plays into their covid responses. How their governments’ health systems work, and if they had emergency plans in place prior to the pandemic. Also, if their health systems are centralized or independent.

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