Chapter

The Failure of Presidential Parliamentarism: The Failure of Presidential Parliamentarism: Constitutional versus Structural Constitutional versus Structural Presidentialization in Israel's Presidentialization in Israel's Parliamentary Democracy

Reuven Y. Hazan

in The Presidentialization of Politics

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199252015
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602375 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199252017.003.0013

Series: Comparative Politics

The Failure of Presidential Parliamentarism: The Failure of Presidential Parliamentarism: Constitutional versus Structural Constitutional versus Structural Presidentialization in Israel's Presidentialization in Israel's Parliamentary Democracy

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In no parliamentary democracy has the presidentialization of politics achieved such magnitude as in Israel. In 1992, the Israeli parliament adopted a law that altered not only the electoral system but also Israel’s political framework. According to this law, Israel became the first parliamentary democracy in which the Prime Minister was directly and popularly elected. This development produced a unique political system in which a ‘presidentialized’ Prime Minister was grafted onto an essentially parliamentary democracy. This chapter addresses the following questions: First, did the political reform in the 1990s reflect a de facto change that had already taken place? In other words, is it appropriate to speak of a phenomenon of presidentialization occurring within Israel’s parliamentary democracy prior to the 1990s? Second, what were the causes and consequences of presidentialization? How did this unique system affect the political parties, electoral competition, political representation, legislative behaviour, legislative-executive relations, and other associated factors? Third, how does Israel’s experience of the presidentialization of politics compare with other modern democracies? Were the political and electoral attributes of leadership powers amplified by factors flowing from the formal change? Finally, how does Israel’s rather extreme experience of the presidentialization of parliamentary democracy contribute to the assessment of this phenomenon?

Keywords: direct election; electoral reform; Israel; Knesset; political reform; prime minister

Chapter.  10255 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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