Chapter

The Presidentialization of The Presidentialization of Politics in Democratic Societies: Politics in Democratic Societies: A Framework for Analysis

Thomas Poguntke and Paul Webb

in The Presidentialization of Politics

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199252015
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602375 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199252017.003.0001

Series: Comparative Politics

 The Presidentialization of  The Presidentialization of Politics in Democratic Societies: Politics in Democratic Societies: A Framework for Analysis

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Discusses the conceptualization of the presidentialization thesis and presents a framework for analysis. It is argued that democratic political systems are coming to operate according to an essentially presidential logic, irrespective of their formal constitutional make-up. Essentially, they are expected to move along a continuum from a partified to a more presidentialized mode of governance. The logic of presidentialization is revealed in the growing power and autonomy of political leaders within political executives and political parties, and in the emergence of increasingly leadership-centered electoral processes.

While these developments, to some extent, reflect the fluctuating contingencies of particular personalities and short-term political contexts, they are more fundamentally explained by processes of long-term structural change affecting state and society. Such processes include the internationalization of political decision-making, the executive’s search for enhanced steering capacity over the state, the changing structure of mass communications, and the erosion of traditional political cleavages. Moreover, the chapter shows that trends towards presidentialization are likely to occur in both majoritarian and consensual democracies even though they will follow different logics.

Keywords: consensus democracy; internationalization; leadership autonomy; leadership power; majoritarian democracy; mass communication; partified governance; presidentialization; presidentialized governance; structural change

Chapter.  9894 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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