Constitutional Law

Borrowing Constitutional Designs: Constitutional Law in by Cindy Skach

By Cindy Skach

After the cave in of communism, a few thirty international locations scrambled to craft democratic constitutions. unusually, the constitutional version they as a rule selected used to be neither the natural parliamentary version present in such a lot of Western Europe on the time, nor the presidential version of the Americas. relatively, it was once semi-presidentialism--a infrequent version identified extra often because the "French type." This constitutional version melded parts of natural presidentialism with these of natural parliamentarism. particularly, semi-presidentialism mixed a popularly elected head of kingdom with a head of presidency liable to a legislature.

Borrowing Constitutional Designs questions the hasty adoption of semi-presidentialism through new democracies. Drawing on wealthy case experiences of 2 of an important international locations for ecu politics within the 20th century--Weimar Germany and the French 5th Republic--Cindy Skach deals the 1st theoretically concentrated, and traditionally grounded, research of semi-presidentialism and democracy. She demonstrates that constitutional selection issues, simply because below definite stipulations, semi-presidentialism buildings incentives that make democratic consolidation tough or that really give a contribution to democratic cave in. She bargains a brand new thought of constitutional layout, integrating insights from legislations and the social sciences. In doing so, Skach demanding situations either democratic conception and democratic perform. This publication can be welcomed not just via students and practitioners of constitutional legislation but additionally via these in fields equivalent to comparative politics, eu politics and historical past, and overseas and public affairs.

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The voters, in turn, make their choices for the executive and legislative powers, but only in election years that are fixed. In parliamentarism, however, the minority situation of the executive can result from the interaction of the constitution, and the voters’ choices, plus the government’s decision to form coalitions or not, and the legislators’ decision to support that government or not. That is, the constitution stipulates the division of power and the rules, the voters choose legislators, and the legislators then try to form a government.

In this vein, my argument differs from Shugart and Carey’s analysis of semi-presidentialism, since there is always variation in the president’s use of his constitutional powers over time, and this is a function of the majority status of the government and the president’s relationship to it. The measure of constitutional power of the president alone cannot explain the varied use and abuse of power by a president over time. Moreover, I am suggesting that it is often out of presidential 9 That is why Franc¸ois Mitterrand altered the structure of his Socialist Party in an attempt to eliminate various factions within it.

14. 30 In Costa Rica, for example, the president is required to get 40 percent of the valid votes cast, which is, strictly speaking, neither a majority nor a plurality, but known rather as a qualified plurality. 31 This system was used to elect the president of Nigeria between 1979 and 1983. It requires candidates to have cross-regional support in order to avoid the majority’s feeling of exclusion by regionally concentrated ethnic groups. See Donald L. Horowitz, A Democratic South Africa? Constitutional Engineering in a Divided Society (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), esp.

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