Presidents, Parliaments, and Democracy: Insights from the Post‐Communist World

Timothy Frye

in The Architecture of Democracy

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780199246465
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600135 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization

 Presidents, Parliaments, and Democracy: Insights from the Post‐Communist World

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Examines how institutional features combine with other factors to exacerbate one particular threat to democracy—the expansion of presidential power. It identifies three key conditions under which presidents in societies undergoing regime change expand their formal powers: first, that economic reforms producing concentrated benefits may lead the winners from those reforms to seek institutional change in the powers of the presidency; second, that countries with fragmented parliaments tend to experience an increase in presidential powers; third, that presidents in countries with newly crafted constitutions are just as likely to seek expansion of their powers as those in countries with revised versions of communist‐era constitutions. It then reviews the generally negative consequences of increases in presidential power for democracy, with examples from various formerly communist countries in Eastern and Central Europe.

Keywords: democratization; presidential powers

Chapter.  8199 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Politics

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