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Varieties of semi-presidentialism and their impact on nascent democracies
Elgie, Robert
Semi-presidentialism is the situation where the constitution identifies both a directly elected president and a prime minister responsible to the legislature. There are now some 58 countries in the world with a semi-presidential constitution. However, the academic wisdom is resolutely opposed to the adoption of semi-presidentialism and nascent democracies are advised to avoid this form of government. This paper examines the performance of semi-presidentialism. Particular attention is paid to the effect of various forms of semi-presidentialism. Different forms of semi-presidentialism are expected to have different effects. To this end, all the countries with a semi-presidential constitution that have embarked on the process of democratic transition are identified. To what extent was semi-presidentialism a factor in the cases when the transition process was successful? When the transition process failed, to what extent was semi-presidentialism responsible for this failure? What was the effect of different forms of semi-presidentialism on the process of democratisation? The findings suggest that there is inconclusive evidence to support some of the major problems commonly associated with semi-presidentialism. The performance of semi-presidentialism seems strongly influenced by non-institutional factors. However, there is a difference between the performance of the two main types of semi-presidentialism that are identified. Overall, the findings do not provide grounds to recommend for or against the adoption of semi-presidentialism as opposed to parliamentarism or presidentialism, but if constitution-makers decide to adopt a semi-presidential constitution, then the findings suggest that they should adopt a premier-presidential form of semi-presidentialism.
Keyword(s): Political science
Publication Date:
Type: Other
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Institution: Dublin City University
Citation(s): Elgie, Robert ORCID: 0000-0001-5334-4796 <> (2007) Varieties of semi-presidentialism and their impact on nascent democracies. Taiwan Journal of Democracy, 3 (2). pp. 53-71. ISSN 1815-7238
Publisher(s): Taiwan Foundation for Democracy
File Format(s): application/pdf
Related Link(s):,
First Indexed: 2009-11-05 02:01:26 Last Updated: 2019-02-09 06:59:23