The Politics of Semi‐Presidentialism

Robert Elgie

in Semi-Presidentialism in Europe

Published in print September 1999 | ISBN: 9780198293866
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599156 | DOI:
 The Politics of Semi‐Presidentialism

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Provides an introduction to the concept of semi‐presidentialism and establishes a framework for the study of the politics of semi‐presidential regimes. The first part sketches the evolution of the concept of semi‐presidentialism, considers some of the main criticisms of the concept, proposes a slight reformulation of the standard definition of the term, and identifies a list of semi‐presidential regimes. The second part of the chapter outlines a framework for the comparative study of semi‐presidential regimes, which provides for particular attention to be paid to the constitutional powers of political actors, the circumstances surrounding the creation of the regime, the nature of the parliamentary majority, and the relationship between the president and that majority. In this way, this chapter then provides the basis both for the in‐depth country studies of semi‐presidentialism that follow and for the conclusion, which examines the comparative experience of semi‐presidentialism and addresses the issue of whether countries should adopt a semi‐presidential form of government in preference to either presidential or parliamentary forms of government.

Keywords: constitutional powers; creation of the regime; criticisms of the concept; definition; parliamentary majority; politics; president; semi‐presidential regimes; semi‐presidentialism

Chapter.  8485 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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