Category Archives: New publications

New publications

Paul Chaisty and Timothy J. Power, ‘Flying solo: Explaining single-party cabinets under minority presidentialism’, European Journal of Political Research, available on-line first: rdcu.be/KxnR

Lubomír Kopeček and Miloš Brunclík, ‘How Strong Is the President in Government Formation? A New Classification and the Czech Case’, East European Politics and Societies: and Cultures, Online first.

Australian Journal of Political Science, Symposium: Majority Formation in Semi-Parliamentary Regimes, vol. 53, no. 2, 2018, including Steffen Ganghof, Sebastian Eppner and Alexander Pörschke, ‘What’s so good about parliamentary hybrids? Comment on ‘Australian bicameralism as semi-parliamentarianism: patterns of majority formation in 29 democracies’, p. 211-233, and Robert Elgie, ‘ On new forms of government’, pp. 241-247.

Danny Gittings, ‘Separation of powers and deliberative democracy’, in Ron Levy, Hoi Kong, Graeme Orr, and Jeff King (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Deliberative Constitutionalism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018, pp. 113-124.

Eduardo Mello and Matias Spektor, ‘Brazil: The Costs of Multiparty Presidentialism’, Journal of Democracy, Volume 29, Number 2, April 2018, pp. 113-127.

Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, Special Issue, Donald Trump’s Challenge to the Study of Elections, vol. 28, no. 2, 2018.

Graeme AM Davies, Marcus Schulzke, and Thomas Almond, ‘Sheltering the president from blame: Drone strikes, media assessments and heterogeneous responsibility 2002-2014’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 477-496.

Scott Pegg and Michael Walls, ‘Back on track? Somaliland after its 2017 presidential election’, African Affairs, Volume 117, Issue 467, April 2018, pp. 326–337.

Michael Chege, ‘Kenya’s Electoral Misfire’, Journal of Democracy, Volume 29, Number 2, April 2018, pp. 158-172.

New publications

Keisuke Okada, ‘Health and political regimes: Evidence from quantile regression’, Economic Systems, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecosys.2017.06.003.

Matt Qvortrup, ‘The Logic of Constitutional Engineering: Institutional Design and Counterterrorism from Aristotle to Arend Lijphart’, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 96-108.

Don S. Lee, ‘Executive control of bureaucracy and presidential cabinet appointments in East Asian democracies’, Regulation & Governance, doi:10.1111/rego.12190.

Andres Malamud ‘Presidentialism and Mercosur: A Hidden Cause for a Successful Experience’, in Finn Laursen (ed.), Comparative Regional Integration: Theoretical Perspectives, Taylor and Francis, 2018.

Victor Araújo, Andréa Freitas, and Marcelo Vieira, ‘The presidential logic of government formation in Latin American democracies’, Revista De Ciencia Política, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 25-50.

Yuri Kasahara and Leiv Marsteintredet, ‘Presidencialismo em crise ou parlamentarismo por outros meios? Impeachments presidenciais no Brasil e na América Latina’, Revista de Ciências Sociais. Fortaleza, vol. 49, no. 1, pp. 30-54, 2018. Available at: http://www.periodicos.ufc.br/revcienso/article/view/19270/71766

Adolfo Garcé, ‘Hacia una teoría ideacional de la difusión institucional. La adopción y adaptación del presidencialismo en américa latina durante el siglo xix [Towards an ideational theory of institutional diffusion. The adoption and adaptation of presidentialism in Latin America during the 19th century]’, Revista Española de Ciencia Política, no. 44, July 2017, pp. 13-41, Doi: https://doi.org/10.21308/recp.44.01

Sylvain Brouard, Emiliano Grossman, Isabelle Guinaudeau, Simon Persico, Caterina Froio, ‘Do Party Manifestos Matter in Policy-Making? Capacities, Incentives and Outcomes of Electoral Programmes in France’, Political Studies, https://doi.org/10.1177/0032321717745433.

Behar Selimi and Murat Jashari, ‘The Role of the President in National Security Policies in Parliamentary Republics – The Case of Albania’, AUDJ, Vol. 14, no. 1/2018, pp. 113-124.

Dafydd Fell, Government and Politics in Taiwan, 2nd ed., Taylor and Francis, 2018.

Marcus Mietzner, ‘The Indonesian armed forces, coalitional presidentialism, and
democratization: from praetorian guard to imagined balance of power’, in The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Indonesia, Taylor and Francis, 2018, pp. 140-150.

Alaa Al-Din Arafat, Egypt in Crisis: The Fall of Islamism and Prospects of Democratization, Springer, 2018.

Jacek Wojnicki, ‘The Evolution of the Presidency in the Post-Yugoslav Countries in the 1990s–the Non-institutional or Instiutional Element of the Democratic System’, Studia Środkowoeuropejskie i Bałkanistyczne, vol. 26, pp. 293-311. Available at:

Peter Reddaway, Russia’s Domestic Security Wars: Putin’s Use of Divide and Rule Against His Hardline Allies, Palgrave, 2018.

Translating Trump, Special Issue of Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, vol. 21, no. 5, 2017.

Edward Ashbee, The Trump Revolt, Manchester University Press, 2017.

New publications

Paul Chaisty, Nic Cheeseman, and Timothy J Power, Coalitional Presidentialism in Comparative Perspective: Minority Presidents in Multiparty Systems, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Robert Elgie and with Gianluca Passarelli, ‘Presidentialisation: One term, Two Uses – Between Deductive Exercise and Grand Historical Narrative’, Political Studies Review, Online First: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1478929918754500.

Nic Cheeseman (ed.), Institutions and Democracy in Africa: How the Rules of the Game Shape Political Developments, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Mark P. Jones, ‘Presidential and Legislative Elections’, in Erik S. Herron, Robert J. Pekkanen, and Matthew S. Shugart (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Electoral Systems, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Cynthia McClintock, ‘Reevaluating Runoffs in Latin America’, Journal of Democracy, Volume 29, Number 1, January 2018, pp. 96-110.

Catherine Reyes-Housholder and Gwynn Thomas, ‘Latin America’s Presidentas: Overcoming Challenges, Forging New Pathways’, in Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer, Gender and Representation in Latin America, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Dan Slater, Aries A. Arugay, ‘Polarizing Figures: Executive Power and Institutional Conflict in Asian Democracies’, American Behavioral Scientist, Online First, https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764218759577.

Ivo Šlosarčík, ‘Constitutional Development in the Czech Republic in 2013–2017: Direct Presidential Elections and Their Constitutional Consequences’, European Public Law 24, no. 1 (2018): 43–54. Available at: http://www.kluwerlawonline.com/document.php?id=EURO2018003

Jocelyn Evans and Gilles Ivaldi, The 2017 French Presidential Elections: A Political Reformation?, Springer, 2018.

Ronald Tiersky, ‘Macron’s World: How the New President Is Remaking France’, 97 Foreign Affairs 87, 2018, pp. 87-97.

Riccardo Brizzi, Charles De Gaulle and the Media: Leadership, TV and the Birth of the Fifth Republic, Springer, 2018.

Gretchen Helmke, Institutions on the Edge: The Origins and Consequences of Inter- Branch Crises in Latin America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Justin Pearce, Didier Péclard, and Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, ‘Angola’s elections and the politics of presidential succession’, African Affairs, Volume 117, Issue 466, January 2018, pp. 146-160.

Susan Booysen, ‘Semi-presidentialism and subjugation of parliament and party in the presidency of South Africa’s Jacob Zuma’, Politeia, https://doi.org/10.25159/0256-8845/3148.

Thomas H. Johnson, ‘The Illusion of Afghanistan’s Electoral Representative Democracy: The Cases of Afghan Presidential and National Legislative Elections’, Small Wars & Insurgencies, 29:1, 1-37.

Uk Heo, Seongyi Yun, ‘South Korea in 2017. Presidential Impeachment and Security Volatility’, Asian Survey, Vol. 58, No. 1, January/February 2018, pp. 65-72.

Rui Graça Feijó, ‘Timor-Leste in 2017: Between a Diplomatic Victory and the Return of “Belligerent Democracy”’, Asian Survey, Vol. 58, No. 1, January/February 2018, pp. 206-212

Aníbal Pérez-Liñán and Ignacio Arana Araya, ‘Strategic Retirement in Comparative Perspective: Supreme Court Justices in Presidential Regimes’, Journal of Law and Courts, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 173–197, 2017.

Benjamin R. Warner, Dianne G. Bystrom, Mitchell S. McKinney, and Mary C. Banwart, An Unprecedented Election: Media, Communication, and the Electorate in the 2016 Campaign, Santa Barbara: ABC Clio, 2018.

Joel Sievert and Ryan D. Williamson, ‘Public attitudes toward presidential veto powers’, Research & Politics, January-March 2018: 1-6, available at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2053168017753873

Jamie Gillies (ed.), Political Marketing in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, London: Palgrave.

Louis Fisher, Supreme Court Expansion of Presidential Power: Unconstitutional Leanings, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2017.

Fang-Yi Chiou and Lawrence S. Rothenberg, The Enigma of Presidential Power: Parties, Policies and Strategic Uses of Unilateral Action., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Political Leadership: A Pragmatic Institutionalist Approach

Political Leadership: A Pragmatic Institutionalist Approach
Robert Elgie
Palgrave Macmillan, 2018

This book provides a philosophically informed, institutionalist account of political leadership. It is rooted in a Peircean version of the American pragmatist philosophical tradition and privileges the study of institutions as a cause of leadership outcomes. The study includes identifying the psychological effects of presidentialism and parliamentarism on leader behavior, a study of the impact of institutions on electoral accountability for economic performance, studies of president/cabinet conflict in Europe, presidential control over cabinet composition in France, and constitutional choice in France and Romania. It adopts a multi-method approach, including a lab experiment, large-n statistical tests, and Qualitative Comparative Analysis, as well as two in-depth process-tracing case studies. The aim is to show that an institutional account has the potential to generate well-settled beliefs about the causes of leadership outcomes.

In this post, we outline the work in one chapter. In this chapter, we re-examine Hellwig and Samuels’ (2007) article on economic voting and the clarity of institutional responsibility. Like Hellwig and Samuels, we are interested in the relative effect of parliamentary and semi-presidential institutions on electoral accountablility for economic performance. We are also interested in exploring the effect of variation in presidential power on economic voting in this context. In short, we are interested in whether institutions condition the extent to which presidents and prime ministers are rewarded/blamed for good/bad economic performance.

To address this issue, we update Hellwig and Samuels dataset, noting certain revisions to the way in which they record the vote at elections with the aim of maximising the reliability of the values in the dataset. We then use exactly the same estimation technique as Hellwig and Samuels.

There is insufficient room here to go through the results in depth. (Which is just an ill-disguised invitation to buy the book). There is also no space to describe how the variables have been operationalised. Again, all that material is in the book. Here, we just wish to provide a flavour of the results.

We find support for Hellwig and Samuels’ basic finding that electoral accountability for economic performance is greater under high-clarity elections, i.e. where there is a single-party government, than low-clarity elections where there is not.

More interestingly, our results also show support for Hellwig and Samuels’ finding that the electoral accountability of the president’s party for economic performance is significantly greater during periods of unified government relative to cohabitation. Figure 1 reports the basic results of our models in the same way that Hellwig and Samuels present them in their paper.

Figure 1    The conditional effect of cohabitation in semi-presidential regimes on economic accountability

However, there are some differences between Hellwig and Samuels’ results and ours. Perhaps most notably, we find that electoral accountability for economic performance is significantly greater at presidential elections than legislative elections. This makes sense. At presidential elections, the clarity of responsibility is likely to be clearer because voters can hold a single person/party responsible for the state of the economy. This is the result that Hellwig and Samuels expected to find in their work, but which was not returned. Using the updated version of their dataset, we now find support for their intuition. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2         The conditional effect of the type of election on economic accountability

While we are concerned with re-testing Hellwig and Samuels’ thesis, we are really interested in exploring how presidential power shapes the clarity of responsibility for economic voting. Hellwig and Samuels do not follow up on this issue in their article. So, we are trying to build on their work by integrating presidential power into their analysis.

We find that presidential power does help us to understand how institutions shape electoral accountability for economic performance. For example, when we include presidential power in the model we find that there is significantly greater economic voting at presidential elections with strong presidents. Again, this makes sense. When there is a strong president, the clarity of responsibility should be higher. Voters know better whom to reward or blame. By contrast, when there is a weak, non-executive presidency, we would not necessarily expect the incumbent president or their party to be held accountable for economic performance. (See Figure 3 relative to Figure 2).

Figure 3        The conditional effect of presidential power and type of election on economic accountability

In addition, we also find that electoral accountability for economic performance is conditional upon presidential power during cohabitation. In these periods, there is significantly greater economic voting during periods of unified government when there is a strong president. (See Figure 4 relative to Figure 1). In other words, the combination of unified government and presidential power shapes economic voting at elections under semi-presidentialism.

Figure 4         The conditional effect of presidential power and cohabitation in semi-presidential regimes on economic accountability

These are only a flavour of the results in the chapter. Spoiler alert, not all results are as expected. Most, though, are.

We would like to thank Hellwig and Samuels for supplying their dataset for replication purposes. Obviously, all results presented here and in the book are the author’s responsibility alone.

Reference

Hellwig, Timothy, and David Samuels (2007), ‘Electoral Accountability and the Variety of Democratic Regimes’, British Journal of Political Science, 38: 65-90.

New publications

Yonatan L. Morse, ‘Presidential power and democratization by elections in Africa’, Democratization, Online first pp. 1-19.

Yonatan L Morse, ‘Electoral authoritarianism and weak states in Africa: The role of parties versus presidents in Tanzania and Cameroon’, International Political Science Review, Volume 39, Issue 1, January 2018, pp. 114–129.

Marino De Luca, ‘The end of the French primary? Measuring primary election impact on electoral performance in the 2017 French presidential election’, French Politics, Online First.

Cynthia McClintock, ‘Reevaluating Runoffs in Latin America’, Journal of Democracy, Volume 29, Number 1, January 2018, pp. 96-110.

Fortunato Musella, Political leaders Beyond Party Politics, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Battal Yılmaz, The Presidential System in Turkey: Opportunities and Obstacles. Palgrave, 2018.

Dan Slater, ‘Party cartelization, Indonesian-style: presidential power-sharing and the contingency of democratic opposition’, Journal of East Asian Studies, Online First.

Sarah Shair-Rosenfield and Alissandra T. Stoyan, ‘Gendered Opportunities and Constraints: How Executive Sex and Approval Influence Executive Decree Issuance’, Political Research Quarterly, Online First.

Gregory J. Love and Leah C. Windsor, ‘Populism and Popular Support: Vertical Accountability, Exogenous Events, and Leader Discourse in Venezuela’, in Political Research Quarterly, Online First.

Marina Costa Lobo, ‘Personality Goes a Long Way’, Government and Opposition, 53(1), 159-179, 2018.

Łukasz Jakubiak, ‘Formulas of cohabitation in rationalised parliamentary systems of government. The cases of France and Poland’, Journal of Comparative Politics, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 51-65, Jan. 2018.

Rolando Tarchi, ‘La forma di governo del Messico: dal presidenzialismo imperiale alla “parlamentarizzazione” del presidenzialismo?’ [The Mexican form of government: from the “imperial presidentialism” to a parliamentarization of the presidential system?], Vol. 33, No. 4, (2017): DPCE Online 4-2017, available at: http://www.dpceonline.it/index.php/dpceonline/article/view/468

Machiko Tsubura, ‘“Umoja ni ushindi (Unity is victory)”: management of factionalism in the presidential nomination of Tanzania’s dominant party in 2015’, Journal of Eastern African Studies, Online first pp. 1-20.

New publications

Robert Elgie, Political Leadership: A Pragmatic Institutionalist Approach, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Robert Elgie, ‘The election of Emmanuel Macron and the new French party system: a return to the éternel marais?’, Modern & Contemporary France, pp. 1-15, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09639489.2017.1408062.

Tapio Raunio and Thomas Sedelius, ‘Shifting Power-Centres of Semi-Presidentialism: Exploring Executive Coordination in Lithuania’, Government and Opposition, pp. 1-24, 2017 doi:10.1017/gov.2017.31.

António Costa Pinto and Paulo José Canelas Rapaz (eds.), Presidentes e (Semi)Presidencialismo nas Democracias Contemporâneas, Lisbon, ICS, 2017.

Rui Graça Feijó, ‘Perilous semi-presidentialism? On the democratic performance of Timor-Leste government system’, Contemporary Politics, Online first, available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/Ah3Y2e6RJFCwnbA4BRze/full

Special issue on Perilous Presidentialism in Southeast Asia; Guest Editors: Mark Thompson and Marco Bünte. Contemporary Politics, Papers available Online first at: http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showAxaArticles?journalCode=ccpo20.

Jung-Hsiang Tsai, ‘The Triangular Relationship between the President, Prime Minister, and Parliament in Semi-presidentialism: Analyzing Taiwan and Poland’, Soochow Journal of Political Science, Vol. 35, Iss. 2, (2017): 1-71.

Nicholas Allen, ‘Great Expectations: The Job at the Top and the People who do it’, The Political Quarterly. doi:10.1111/1467-923X.12447.

Farida Jalalzai, ‘Women Heads of State and Government’, in Amy C. Alexander, Catherine Bolzendahl and Farida Jalalzai (eds.), Measuring Women’s Political Empowerment Across the Globe, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Aidan Smith, Gender, Heteronormativity, and the American Presidency’, London: Routledge, 2018.

Special issue on Protest and Legitimacy: Emerging Dilemmas in Putin’s Third Term, Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, Volume 25, Number 3, Summer 2017.

Marcelo Camerlo and Cecilia Martínez-Gallardo (eds.), Government Formation and Minister Turnover in Presidential Cabinets: Comparative Analysis in the Americas, Routledge, 2018.

Michael Gallagher, ‘The Oireachtas: President and Parliament’, Politics in the Republic of Ireland, 6th Edition, Routledge, 2018.

João Carvalho, ‘Mainstream Party Strategies Towards Extreme Right Parties: The French 2007 and 2012 Presidential Elections’, Government and Opposition, pp. 1-22, 2017, doi:10.1017/gov.2017.25

Sidney M. Milkis and John Warren York, ‘Barack Obama, Organizing for Action, and Executive-Centered Partisanship’, Studies in American Political Development, 31(1), 1-23. doi:10.1017/S0898588X17000037.

Pål Kolstø and Helge Blakkisrud, ‘Regime Development and Patron–Client Relations: The 2016 Transnistrian Presidential Elections and the “Russia Factor”’, Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, Volume 25, Number 4, Fall 2017, pp. 503-528.

New publications

Matthew S. Shugart and Rein Taagepera, Votes from Seats: Logical Models of Electoral Systems, Cambridge University Press, chapters 11-12 on presidential elections.

Adrián Albala, ‘Bicameralism and Coalition Cabinets in Presidential Polities: A configurational analysis of the coalition formation and duration processes’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 735-754.

Raul Magni-Berton and Max-Valentin Robert, ‘ Maximizing presidential coattails: the impact of the electoral calendar on the composition of the National Assembly’, French Politics, December 2017, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp. 488–504.

Alexander Baturo and Johan A. Elkink, ‘On the importance of personal sources of power in politics: comparative perspectives and research agenda’, French Politics, December 2017, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp. 505-525.

Enes Kulenović and Krešimir Petković, ‘The Croatian Princes: Power, Politics and Vision (1990-2011)’, Croatian Political Science Review, Vol. 53, No. 4, 2016, pp. 105-131, available at: http://hrcak.srce.hr/177258

Vincenc Kopeček, ‘Political Institutions in the Post-Soviet De Facto States in Comparison: Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh’, in Martin Riegl and Bohumil Doboš (eds.), Unrecognized States and Secession in the 21st Century, Springer, 2018, pp. 111-136.

Revista Negócios Estrangeiros, 11.4 Especial, Special issue on semi-presidentialism with a focus on Lusophone Africa (in Portuguese), available here.

Aidan Smith, Gender, Heteronormativity, and the American Presidency, Routledge, 2018.

Aya Watanabe, ‘The president-led peace process and institutional veto players: The Mindanao conflict in the Philippines’, Asian Journal of Comparative Politics, 2017, Online First, 1–19.

Vasiliki Triga, ‘Parties and Change in the Post-Bailout Cyprus: The May 2016 Parliamentary Elections’, South European Society and Politics, Vol. 22, No. 2, 2017, pp. 261-279.

Berk Esen & Şebnem Gümüşçü, ‘A Small Yes for Presidentialism: The Turkish Constitutional Referendum of April 2017’, South European Society and Politics, Vol. 22, No. 3, 2017, pp. 303-326.

Ödül Celep, ‘Perspectives on Turkey’s 2017 Presidential Referendum’, Middle East Review of International Affairs, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 1-8.

New Publications

Manuel Alcántara, Jean Blondel, Jean-Louis Thiébault (eds.), Presidents and Democracy in Latin America, Taylor and Francis, 2017.

Stephen Gardbaum, ‘Political Parties, Voting Systems, and the Separation of Powers’, The American Journal of Comparative Law, Volume 65, Issue 2, 2017, Pages 229–264, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcl/avx030.

Huang-Ting Yan, ‘Comparing democratic performance of semi-presidential regimes in the post-communist region: Omnipotent presidents and media control’, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Available online 12 October 2017.

Chong-Sup Kim and Seungho Lee, ‘Regime types, ideological leanings, and the natural resource curse’, Constitutional Political Economy, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10602-017-9245-y

Ludger Helms, ‘When less is more: ‘Negative resources’ and the performance of presidents and prime ministers’, Politics, Online First, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0263395717738964.

John Ishiyama, Marijke Breuning and Michael Widmeier, ‘Organizing to rule: structure, agent, and explaining presidential management styles in Africa’, Democratization, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13510347.2017.1391793.

Marina Costa Lobo, ‘Personality Goes a Long Way’, Government and Opposition, Online First, doi:10.1017/gov.2017.15.

Fabian Burkhardt, ‘The institutionalization of relative advantage: formal institutions, subconstitutional presidential powers, and the rise of authoritarian politics in Russia, 1994–2012’, Post-Soviet Affairs, Volume 33, 2017, Issue 6, pp. 472-495.

Steven Fish, ‘ The Kremlin Emboldened: What Is Putinism?’, Journal of Democracy, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 46-59.

Myung-bok Bae, ‘Tackling the Imperial Presidency: The Case for Constitutional Amendment’ (South Korea), Global Asia, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 24-28.

Chrtistopher A. Martínez, ‘Democratic Tradition and the Failed Presidency of Lucio Gutierrez in Ecuador’, Bulletin of Latin American Research, Online first.

Raymond Kuhn (ed.), The 2017 French Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, special issue of Modern and Contemporary France, vol. 25, no. 4, 2017.

Chris Edelson, ‘Could President Trump Rely on Legal Advice to Order the Offensive Use of Military Force at His Discretion?’, PS: Political Science & Politics, Volume 50, Issue 4, October 2017, pp. 953-957.

Gi-Wook Shin and Rennie J. Moon, ‘South Korea After Impeachment’, Journal of Democracy, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 117-131.

Ioannis N. Grigoriadis, Democratic Transition and the Rise of Populist Majoritarianism. Reform and Transition in the Mediterranean: Constitutional Reform in Greece and Turkey, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

Semi-presidentialism – Can presidents influence coalition outcomes?

This post is based on my article ’Why Can’t We Be Friends?’ The Coalition Potential of Presidents in Semi-Presidential Republics—Insights from Romania” in East European Politics and Societies.

The research article published by East European Politics and Societies sought to investigate the basis of the power of presidents to shape coalitions in semi-presidential systems, using the case of Romania. The findings put forward by the article contribute to the weakening of the theory that semi-presidential systems are inherently affected by a process of growing presidentialization.

Throughout my study of coalition governments more generally, the question about the potential systematic influence of presidents in their formation and evolution has often risen. To know who has the upper hand and the final say in the process of government formation is of chief importance to the students of political institutions. However, previous research on coalitions rarely addressed the topic related to the powers of the president, with recent findings claiming that in European democracies presidents have a substantial ability to induce their preferred governments. The case of Romania disputes these claims and shows that the mechanisms of a multiparty regime mostly limit the president’s exclusive bargaining advantage to nominating the prime minister and then, much as in a parliamentary democracy, render him or her dependent on the coalition potential of his or her own party.

President Klaus Iohannis, prime minister Mihai Tudose and Liviu Dragnea, chairman of the dominant party in the coalition, the Social Democrat Party (PSD) (2017). Although a ‘friendly’ government is not always in the president’s cards, more often than not, he finds himself dancing to their tune.

Romania is a young, consolidating, semi-presidential European democracy and a fertile ground for the presidentialization of politics, according to the measures proposed by previous research. Samuels and Shugart use the Romanian presidential elections of 2004 to open their 2010 seminal volume and highlight influence of presidents on government formation in semi-presidential republics: “The results of the direct presidential election thus not only took government formation out of the hands of the largest parliamentary party and the largest parliamentary coalition, but also served to break a pre-election agreement, altering the partisan balance of forces that parliamentary coalitions and parliamentary elections had established.”(p.2)[1]

Nevertheless, an in-depth, qualitative investigation of the same case generated surprising insights by showing this outcome to be rather the exception than the rule and entails certain conditions to be met. Overall, the study shows that when the president and prime minister (or a plausible designate prime minister of a presidentially “unfriendly” majority) enter a competition to shape a coalition in this institutional format, they enter as equals. The weight of their supporting parties makes the difference in deciding the winner.

Methodologically, the article supports the need for more in-depth qualitative study of such matters, mostly since there are insufficient accounts for the informal aspects of presidential authority in government formation. Ignoring such aspects, which we can only uncover through elite interviews, could lead to incomplete results.  Although there are limitations linked to respondents’ subjectivity when asked about the direct involvement of the president in off-the-record negotiations for government formation, including accounts of first hand participants is a valuable addition to our understanding. The article relies heavily on semi-structured discussions with prime –ministers, ministers or important witnesses at sensitive moments linked to the role of the president in coalition formation.

Firstly, the article makes a distinction between cases when coalition cabinets and presidents were in a situation of partnership (whether the president and the prime minister were from the same party or not) and cases of coalition cabinets and presidents in a situation of conflict (Table 1). It proceeds with a selection of a case where the president played an important role in government formation and could make use of his prerogative to name the prime minister from his loyal party, which thus became a formateur, and compared it with one where he could not (Romania has only had male presidents). The conditions to induce a preferred government are highlighted with the case of the 2004 parliamentary elections and the active involvement of president Traian Băsescu in government formation. In contrast, while maintaining the same actors and the same institutional design, the analysis goes on to show a different situation following the 2012 elections.Finally, it emphasises how, all things considered, the coalition appeal of the party behind the president makes the final difference in government formation, regardless of his or her exclusive prerogative to name the prime minister.

The implications of this study go beyond uncovering the dynamics of coalition formation in Romania. The study shows that although a president could find within the semi-presidential system the institutional incentives to try to increase his or her influence in government formation, he or she remains firmly limited by the coalition potential of his or her party, regardless of context-driven peaks of increased informal authority. It also argues that in choosing cases for a comparative analysis of coalition formation and administration, there is reason to go beyond a differentiation between semi-presidential and parliamentary regimes.

Notes

[1] David Samuels and Matthew Shugart, Presidents, Parties and Prime Ministers: How the Separation of Power Affects Party Organization and Behaviour (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), p. 2

New publications

Special issue of French Politics on the 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections in France, Volume 15, Issue 3, September 2017, with contributions from Yves Mény, Catherine Achin and Sandrine Lévêque, Emmanuelle Schön-Quinlivan, Florent Gougou and Simon Persico, Jocelyn Evans and Gilles Ivaldi, Cristina Bucur, and Florent Gougou and Nicolas Sauger. See http://www.palgrave.com/gp/journal/41253/volumes-issues/latest-issue

Martin Carrier, Executive Politics in Semi-presidential European Regimes, 2016, Lexington Books: Lanham, MA.

Manuel Alcántara, Jean Blondel, and Jean-Louis Thiébault (eds.), Presidents and Democracy in Latin America, Routledge, 2017.

Miguel Carreras, ‘Presidential Institutions and Electoral Participation in Concurrent Elections in Latin America’, Political Studies, Online First, DOI 10.1177/0032321717723502.

Michael Novak, Choosing presidents: Symbols of political leadership, 2nd ed., Routledge, 2017.

Joel Moses, ‘Political Rivalry and Conflict in Putin’s Russia’, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 69, No. 6, August 2017, pp. 961–988.

Linda L. Fowler, Bryan W. Marshall, ‘Veto-Proof Majorities, Legislative Procedures, and Presidential Decisions, 1981–2008’, Political Research Quarterly, Volume 70, Issue 2, June 2017, pp. 348-362.

Virgílio Afonso da Silva, ‘Book Review: Making Brazil Work: Checking the President in a Multiparty System’, International Journal of Constitutional Law, (2017) 15 (2): 519.

Carlos Pereira, Mariana Batista, Sérgio Praça, and Felix Lopez, ‘ Watchdogs in Our Midst: How Presidents Monitor Coalitions in Brazil’s Multiparty Presidential Regime’, Latin American Politics and Society, Volume 59, Issue 3, Fall 2017, pp. 27–47.

Leonardo Avritzer, ‘The Rousseff impeachment and the crisis of democracy in Brazil’, Critical Policy Studies, Online First,

Direnç Kanol and George Pirishis, ‘The role of voters’ economic evaluations in February 2013 presidential elections in the Republic of Cyprus’, Comparative European Politics, vol. 15, no. 4, June 2017, pp. 518-532.

Jörg Michael Dostal, ‘ South Korean Presidential Politics Turns Liberal: Transformative Change or Business as Usual?’, Political Quarterly, Volume 88, Issue 3, July–September 2017, pp. 480–491.

Loammi Wolf, ‘The Removal from Office of a President: Reflections on Section 89 of the Constitution’ South African Law Journal, Vol. 134, Issue 1 (2017), pp. 1-33.

Mohammad Bashir Mobasher, ‘Electoral Choices, Ethnic Accommodations, and the Consolidation of Coalitions: Critiquing the Runoff Clause of the Afghan Constitution’ Washington International Law Journal, Vol. 26, Issue 3 (June 2017), pp. 413-462.

Talitha Espiritu, Passionate Revolutions: The Media and the Rise and Fall of the Marcos Regime, 2017, Ohio University Press.

Ana L. Mallen and Maria Pilar García-Guadilla, Venezuela’s Polarized Politics: The Paradox of Direct Democracy Under Chávez, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2017.