Semi-Presidentialism and Democracy

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  1. World Congress - Brisbane | IPSA
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  3. A Fresh Look at Semipresidentialism: Variations on a Theme
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World Congress - Brisbane | IPSA

The majority of citizens and political parties do not favour the cancellation of direct presidential elections. Significant parts of society consider the direct election of the president as a way of exercising their voice and as the only mechanism for balancing the executive [7].

The ruling party thinks that the president should not be an active, charismatic leader and should be more of an experienced academic person. The President cannot be a member of a party and the age of candidates will be increased from 35 to The National Security Council will be abolished and a Council of Defense will be created, which will operate only during martial law. The National Security Council was the subject of controversy between the presidency and the government after the parliamentary elections. Later, Parliament adopted a special law on the State Security and Crisis Management Council and created such a council in the executive.

According to the draft constitution, the President of Georgia will remain the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, but he will appoint and dismiss the Head of the Military Forces on the recommendation of the Government. One of the significant issues of this constitutional reform is an electoral system which has become a source of disagreement between the ruling party, the opposition and the President of Georgia.

The opposition demanded a fully proportional parliamentary election during last elections. At the start of the work of Constitutional Commission, the ruling party suported this proposal, but then proposed a 5 percent threshold with undistributed votes below the threshold being allocated to the winning party.

At the same time, the draft banned electoral blocs. With weak party structures and financial resources, the opposition fear that the election process will not be equal, given they will have to compete against the Georgian Dream, which is backed by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. It seems that after abolition of the majoritarian system, the ruling party still hopes to create a majority in the parliament using these amendments.

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This is indisputably an unfair electoral system and will most likely create a strong one-party majority in the future. The amendments relating to the electoral system were strongly criticized by international organizations, Georgian NGOs and the Venice Commission.


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Parliament adopted the constitutional amendments at its second reading in an extraordinary session on June Only the Georgian Dream supported them. The President, the opposition and the NGO sector called on the ruling party to resume the dialogue on constitutional change, sending their remarks to the Venice Commission. On September 26, , Parliament approved the amendments to the Constitution at the third reading supported by votes, while 2 MPs voted against. The amendments will come into force after the presidential election.


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In the president will be directly elected for a six-year term. Thus, the reform process ended with the rejection of a fully proportional electoral system for parliamentary election, which was the main demand of the opposition political parties. On the second day after the final adoption of the constitutional amendments in parliament, the speaker of the parliament suggested that the president use his veto power in relation to the bonus system and the abolition of electoral blocs.

This is the first that the parliamentary majority has asked to the president to veto constitutional amendments.


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  • It must be noted that parliamentary majority did not consider these changes during earlier stages of the parliamentary process, despite strong criticism from all political groups, president and international organizations. The amendment of the electoral system is the cornerstone of this constitutional refom. His proposed definition of semi-presidential regime based only on dispositional properties of the regime has only three criteria: a popularly elected President; a fixed term for the President; the President exists alongside the Prime Minister and a cabinet responsible to Parliament In his discussion of relational properties, Elgie, as other authors, mix the potential relational properties and their actual realisation.

    They mix the power positions of players prescribed by the Constitution and the actual power positions in the system. Lijphart defines political systems on the continuum from majoritarian to consensual Only the constitutional regime can be defined and therefore the trichotomic classification of regimes is applicable only to the first part of the definition.

    The political system can be merely described or characterised, and therefore only the tendencies towards presidentialisation of a respective non-presidential constitutional regime parliamentary, semi-presidential can be observed. He is, according to Article 2, paragraph 6 of AA, elected for a fixed term of four years. Both are responsible to Parliament Legislative Yuan according to Article 3, paragraph 2.

    A Fresh Look at Semipresidentialism: Variations on a Theme

    The Legislative Yuan has the specific right to vote on a call of no confidence, which would remove the Prime Minister and cabinet. All the dispositional properties of the definition of semi-presidential constitutional regime are therefore met. He therefore has potential extraordinary powers.

    Again the Constitution prescribes him the power to initiate arbitration between the key players. The Constitution, however, also stipulates in Article that the people have the right of initiative, but this has in no way affected the political reality, nor is there even a mechanism to exercise this right. It appears that the relational properties present in the Republic of China Constitution also prescribe for Taiwan a semi-presidential constitutional regime. The situation was considered by President Chen to be temporary and he personally vowed to create a genuine coalition with the opposition parties after the Parliamentary elections However the Cabinet created after the parliamentary elections in was again composed mainly of politicians loyal to President.

    The attempts to include some opposition KMT politicians in the Cabinet on an official basis specifically the offer of the vice-premier position to the KMT have been blocked by the conditions the KMT put forward. These conditions could have signalled a push towards a two-party coalition Cabinet, but were rejected by the DPP.

    Never during his time in office has President Chen made a concrete offer or has entered into formal consultations to create a coalition-government There were rumours in December in Taiwan that Chen was talking again about creating a coalition government, 34 but none of them proved to be true. It was a logical outgrowth of the situation where the presidency and the ruling party chairmanship were dominated by one person as in the case of the Chiangs and Lee Teng-hui.

    The situation was changed by the presidential elections and Parliament has acquired a more important role. This law has provided for the possibility of partisan negotiations in the legislature, when consensus over a Bill cannot be reached. However, this method is criticised because it lacks transparency of decision He was seen to be a reactive President in the first year of his presidency 39 , but later demonstrated his ability to influence policy-making even without a legislative majority.

    He skilfully uses direct appeals to the public, thus setting a precedent for future Presidents to emulate Due to public pressure, Parliament has supported a watered down version of a referendum, allowing Chen to score a policy victory Chen is trying hard to maximise his powers by emulating his KMT predecessors. The condition of the domination of executive power is therefore met, even with an apparent tendency towards losing this dominance, especially in when opposition leaders made trips to the mainland , while opposition uses its tools and learns how to be effective.

    The emergence of pan-blue and pan-green camps in the election has kept the Taiwanese party system close to real bipartism. The recent constitutional change 43 will probably lead the party system towards bipartism by its own inertia, as is already happening by the transfer of MPs from the PFP to the KMT. This system therefore strongly deters the creation of the centralist, government-created system of interest groups.

    His tactics of directly appealing to the public 49 can also be viewed as trying to circumvent the prescribed constitutional method of governing. However this characteristic has changed since the parliamentary elections. President Chen stepped down from his position of party chairman, and the DPP party situation now appears to be reverting more to the consensual politics of three key players President, Prime Minister, party chairman and is becoming more representative. Another instance of such behaviour was the convention of the National Development Council, which was held in December with participants from the government and the public sector.

    The Council reached consensus on constitutional reform which is currently being implemented as of By both these extra-governmental bodies Lee created extra-constitutional institutions used for promoting his personal policies. He thus created by his behaviour a negative institutional legacy undercutting the new presidency under Chen In the first year of his presidency he isolated himself even within his own party This consensual rhetoric was proved by subsequent events to be hollow words and the developments of spring has offered no hope for the Taiwanese political system to become consensual.

    Courts empowered to overturn legislative acts have spread rapidly in recent years.

    Parliamentary vs Presidential system of government - Indian polity by - IAS - SSC CGL

    If carefully designed and limited, constitutional courts may aid democratic consolidation, but if not, they can become objects…. Issue Date July

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