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Comparative Politics 2300

by: Jillian Marks

Comparative Politics 2300 POLC2300-06

Marketplace > Tulane University > Political Science > POLC2300-06 > Comparative Politics 2300
Jillian Marks

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These notes cover the "perils of presidentialism"
Comparative Politics
Oliveros, Virginia
Class Notes
Comparative Politics
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jillian Marks on Sunday April 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLC2300-06 at Tulane University taught by Oliveros, Virginia in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see Comparative Politics in Political Science at Tulane University.

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Date Created: 04/03/16
I. Perils of Presidentialism  Majority of stable democracies in world today are parliamentary A. Parliamentary vs. Presidential Systems  Presidential systems (USA) dependent on cooperation of legislature 1. President’s strong claim to democratic legitimacy 2. Fixed term in office  Legislators can also claim democratic legitimacy - Since both have power from being directly elected by voters a conflict is possible - US exception  development of modern political parties usually worsens conflicts  Fixed-terms break the political process into discontinuous periods - No readjustments can be made to events that might demand them - No reelections if death of president B. Paradoxes of Presidentialism  Presidentialism ”winner takes all,” “zero-sum” – raises stakes of elections and worsens tension/polarization  Parliamentary  gives representation to number of parties  Problem of duel legitimacy – cabinet less likely to contain strong, independent-minded members C. Cabinet (Government) Stability  Refers to how long a government lasts  Care about stability because a stable government - Can pass bills/make policies - Can be held accountable by voters for their performance/politics a. Crucial for democracy because if government keeps changing hard to know who is responsible and prevents bad governments because politicians know this  PM much more easily removed than president if loses popular support - Vice-presidential succession may not work well  may come from different parties (ticket-splitting)  Countries with more parties tend to be less stable D. Duration of Government Formation  Government formation process is complicated because parties bargain over policy/office  Example: Belgium in June 2010 – election left no clear party in power - Language division between Dutch-speaking and French-speaking overlapped with economic divisions – cross-cutting - In advanced democracies, country can run without government (PM) because have a parliament E. Presidentialism and Democracy: A difficult combination?  “Perils of Presidentialism” (Linz) 1. Temporal Rigidity vs flexibility - Fixed term  no way to solve disagreements w/ congress - Crisis  if need new leader can’t get rid of president - Can’t change if not what people expected or if there are changes in popularity - Or if have really good president can only stay for fixed time 2. Duel Legitimacies - President and legislature both represent people  no “true” representative - In parliamentary systems, legislature is “true” representative - No way to solve problems between president and congress  divided government 3. Winner takes all (zero-sum) - Party of president wins everything and losing party gets nothing for 4 years or could also have majority in congress 4. “Style of presidential systems” - presidency so important, can create problems because encourages popularist behaviors - politicians say whatever they want to win election  incentive for more personalistic campaigns F. Presidentialism and Multiparties in Latin America 1. Multiparty presidentialsim more likely to produce deadlock - US has only two parties  more effective 2. Presidents need to build coalitions to pass legislation - Difficult in presidential democracies because size of coalition doesn’t matter because president and congress stay for fixed- terms 3. Ideological polarization more likely in multiparty systems - Competition for center - Low barriers for smaller parties, radical parties to enter G. Presidentialism in US  2 parties, more majoritarian  president has majority support  parties not that strong means there is a lot of negotiation and people will vote against party lines in congress


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