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Systems of Government : Semi-Presidential Models

Democracy Reporting International 20714Systems of Government : Semi-Presidential Models
Publié le 01-06-2012. Ajoutée le 25 août 2016

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In the early 20th century, democracies were primarily built on two political systems: either a presidential or a parliamentary system of government. During the course of the century, these systems were adapted to such a significant degree that scholars identified the emergence of a third system of government called ‘semi-presidentialism’.

While these two traditional systems are centred on two political powers (parliament and president, or parliament and government), the semi-presidential system of government gives a central role to three bodies: parliament, president and a government headed by a prime minister, with each of the three enjoying comparable democratic legitimacy and significant powers.

In the context of the Arab uprisings, new constitutions will be crafted in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. More may follow. In terms of choosing a political system, semi-presidential systems are much discussed in the Arab world for two central reasons.

First, people are concerned that presidential systems of government will deteriorate once again into authoritarianism. Second, many are uncomfortable with a parliamentary system of government because it is either seen to be potentially unstable or gives too much power to a parliamentary majority.

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