In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: The Perils of Presidentialism Juan J. In countries as dissimilar as Chile, South Korea, Brazil, Turkey, and Argentina, policymakers and constitutional experts have vigorously debated the relative merits of different types of democratic regimes. Some countries, like Sri Lanka, have switched from parliamentary to presidential constitutions. On the other hand, Latin Americans in particular have found themselves greatly impressed by the successful transition from authoritarianism to democracy that occurred in the s in Spain, a transition to which the parliamentary form of government chosen by that country greatly contributed. Nor is the Spanish case the only one in which parliamentarism has given evidence of its worth. Indeed, the vast majority of the stable democracies in the world today are parliamentary regimes, where executive power is generated by legislative majorities and depends on such majorities for survival.
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This claim is thrown into high relief when a majority of the legislature represents a political option opposed to the one the president represents. Under such circumstances, who has the stronger claim to speak on behalf of the people: the president or the legislative majority that opposes his policies?
Since both derive their power from the votes of the people in a free competition among well-defined alternatives, a conflict is always possible and at times may erupt dramatically. Theme is no democratic principle on the basis of which it can be resolved, and the mechanisms the constitution might provide are likely to prove too complicated and aridly legalistic to be of much force in the eyes of the electorate. It is therefore no accident that in some such situations in the past, the armed forces were often tempted to intervene as a mediating power.
To explain how American political institutions and practices have achieved this result would exceed the scope of this essay, but it is worth noting that the uniquely diffuse character of American political parties — which, ironically, exasperates many American political scientists and leads them to call for responsible, ideologically disciplined parties — has something to do with it.
And, indeed, as recently as one could have witnessed moderate Democrat Joe Lieberman successfully challenging incumbent liberal Republican Senator Lowell Weicker with the support of, among others, William F Buckley, Jr. Advertisement But it turns out that Lieberman vs Weicker was something of a dying gasp of a political order that was rendered obsolete by the civil rights revolution. Twenty years later we find ourselves several congresses into a brave new world in which every single Democratic Party legislator is to the left of every single Republican Party legislator.
Al Gore chose not to contest the legitimacy of the Supreme Court ruling that handed the White House to George W Bush despite the fact that the electorate preferred Gore. And by —, Bush was so unpopular that the Democratic Party leadership felt the wisest course was to avoid provoking a crisis and basically just wait him out. But we live in interesting times….
Parliamentary vs. Presidential Systems
Dougul And, far from being perlls most perfect example of democracy in action, ceremonial presidents who are directly elected are also less able to handle real national crises, in comparison with heads of state who may be indirectly elected, but who can tower over the rest through the sheer force of their exemplary personal conduct. The person is not only head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, but also appoints all Cabinet ministers and can even issue laws. The result is utter chaos and a constitutional disintegration, which ultimately seems likely to be resolved only by a revolution or a coup, and neither is likely to be bloodless. But unlike the US, pesidentialism Congress has always been dominated by only two parties, the Brazilian Congress is home to over 30 parties, with none of the US traditions of mediating disputes between Parliament and head of state. Still, just the question of electing a ceremonial head of state by a popular vote creates its own difficulties. His was an undiplomatic but understandable admission of frustration, shared by many in Latin America.
Juan Linz: The Perils of Presidentialism
Juan J. In countries as dissimilar as Chile, South Korea, Brazil, Turkey, and Argentina, policymakers and constitutional experts have vigorously debated the relative merits of different types of democratic regimes. On the other hand. Nor is the Spanish case the only one in which parliamentarism has given evidence of its worth. The constitutions of Finland and France are hybrids rather than true presidential systems, and in the case of the French Fifth Republic, the jury is still out.