Book

Semi-Presidentialism in Europe

Edited by Robert Elgie

Published in print September 1999 | ISBN: 9780198293866
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599156 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198293860.001.0001

Series: Comparative Politics

Semi-Presidentialism in Europe

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Semi‐presidentialism is an increasingly popular form of constitutional government. Semi‐presidential regimes can now be found in Western Europe, in Austria, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, and Portugal, in Central and Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, and Ukraine; in Asia, in places such as Mongolia, South Korea, and Sri Lanka; and elsewhere in, e.g. Guyana, Haiti, Angola, and Namibia. By definition, all of these countries share a similar set of basic constitutional features, namely, a directly elected fixed‐term president and a prime minister who is responsible to parliament. However, the main observation to be made about them is that the exercise of political power varies greatly from one to another. For example, in some countries (particularly France), the president is usually the dominant political actor; in other countries (such as Finland), there is a sometimes uneasy balance of power between the president and prime minister; in yet others (notably Ukraine), the president and parliament share powers; and finally, in others still (including Austria, Iceland, and Ireland), the president is merely a figurehead and the prime minister dominates the decision‐making process. Because of the very varied forms of political leadership that occur across these institutionally similar countries, some writers have dismissed the concept of semi‐presidentialism, but in fact, though, it provides a perfect opportunity to study the general question of why political systems function in the way they do and to examine the relationship between particular constitutional arrangements and different forms of political practice. This book examines the politics of semi‐presidentialism in 12 European countries (all those listed above except for Portugal), and the constitutional powers of political leaders, the role of political parties, and the importance of past precedent. Ch. 1 provides a background to the study of the concept and a framework for the analysis of semi‐presidential regimes. This framework is then applied to the politics of individual European countries in the following chapters. In the conclusion, the lessons of these chapters are reviewed and the future of semi‐presidential studies is considered.

Keywords: Austria; Bulgaria; constitutional arrangements; constitutional powers; Europe; Finland; France; Iceland; Ireland; Lithuania; Poland; political parties; political practice; political systems; president; prime minister; Romania; Russia; Semi‐presidentialism; Slovenia; Ukraine

Book.  334 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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Table of Contents

The Politics of Semi‐Presidentialism in Semi-Presidentialism in Europe

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Austria in Semi-Presidentialism in Europe

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Finland in Semi-Presidentialism in Europe

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France in Semi-Presidentialism in Europe

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Iceland in Semi-Presidentialism in Europe

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Republic of Ireland in Semi-Presidentialism in Europe

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Bulgaria in Semi-Presidentialism in Europe

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Lithuania in Semi-Presidentialism in Europe

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Poland in Semi-Presidentialism in Europe

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Romania in Semi-Presidentialism in Europe

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