Must-Read: Juan Linz’s “The Perils of Presidentialism” is a rather good analysis of Richard Nixon and his situation, but a rather bad analysis of. Juan Linz and Presidentialism. The recent debate over the merits of presidential democracy was sparked by Juan Linz’s essay “Presidential or Parliamentary. Linz’s analysis focuses on the structural problems of presidentialism. Unlike Shugart/Carey (), Linz does not differentiate among different.

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And these oresidentialism are in themselves fairly spurious: There are examples when a ceremonial but directly elected head of state works very well with an all-powerful parliamentary government: King Felipe VI is the only man with the legitimacy to keep Spain on a steady course, as the country staggered on without a government over the past six months, and now faces fresh elections. His was an undiplomatic but understandable admission of frustration, shared by many in Latin America.

Two out of the 11 presidents chosen by the German Parliament since World War II had to resign from office because their conduct was called into question. Please report inappropriate ads.

The perils of ‘presidentialism’, Opinion News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

When I was in graduate school several years ago, my friends and I would routinely eprils our reading notes with one another. Ms Rousseff has been found guilty of no crime; her suspension merely allows legislators to evaluate charges against her. It acts as a reminder of the perils and limitations of constitutional systems in which both the head of state and the Parliament are directly elected, potentially blurring the distinction between the powers of the two.

But the Brazilian episode is of greater significance. Linnz President Giorgio Napolitano, aged 90 and chosen only by Parliament, proved to be the only person with sufficient authority to manage his country’s domestic political meltdown over the past few years.


Most of these constitutional difficulties were actually predicted from the time Latin America emerged from its latest bout of military dictatorship during the s.

He sees it as less risky.

In the meantime, you can use these summaries to benefit from the efforts of a previous generation of doctoral students. Enter your search terms Submit search form. The lesson seems to be that directly elected strong presidencies imply long-term constitutional changes which are often unpredictable, and frequently unwelcome. In short, Brazil’s first woman president lost office as a result of political manoeuvring, one made worse by a faulty constitutional system.

But the late Prof Linz’s warnings were prophetic.

Sadly, however, that’s the exception rather than the rule, for the reality is that in many other Latin American countries, the clash over “hyper-presidentialism”, between all-powerful presidentialis, and resentful Parliaments, is endemic. When presidents and prime ministers belong to different parties, France is often in the awkward position of being represented by two people at various European Union meetings.

The perils of ‘presidentialism’

These structural problems create problems and negatively influence executives’ leadership styles. Candidates for such ceremonial presidencies have little to say during their electoral campaigns apart, perhaps, from promising to cut ribbons in a better way than their opponents.

It is now a static website. Linz clearly favors parliamentarianism over presidentialism. Nevertheless, it is striking that European states in which heads of state have limited powers and are not elected or are elected indirectly have tended to do better in handling national crises. A recent study from the German Institute for Global and Area Studies concludes that the problems of strong “presidentialism” in Latin America are here to stay; “the probability of a blanket change to parliamentary democracy is close to zero”, claims the report.

Ms Rousseff was impeached and suspended from office by the Brazilian Congress. Johns Hopkins University Press. Until we resolve the issues, subscribers need presidsntialism log in to access ST Digital articles. Interestingly, however, the temptation to view a directly elected head of state as the highest form of democracy has proven irresistible in some European countries as well.


And monarchies, which don’t elect a head of state at all, offer no automatic guarantee against bad governance either.

Skip to main content. One would have thought that a country which has experienced six Constitutions and three military coups in one century would be extra careful about distributing political power, but Brazil’s current Constitution gives the nation’s president huge prerogatives: Still, just the question of electing a ceremonial head of state by a popular vote creates its own ;erils.

Over the past three decades, no fewer than 17 Latin America presidents were forced out of office before the end of their mandates. The saddest current example of a similar clash between Parliament and a directly elected president is, of course, Venezuela.

The Brazilian crisis is a classic example of what happens when the vanity and incompetence of politicians collides with the reality of a perrils written Constitution. And in other Perjls countries such as Poland, or the Czech Republic which only recently introduced direct elections for its presidency, frequent clashes between governments and presidents are the staple fare for all politicians, and take more time than debating new legislation.

We have been experiencing some problems with subscriber log-ins and apologise for the inconvenience caused. Still, Ptesidentialism Detlief Nolte and Dr Mariana Llanos, the authors of the study, are right to point out that what happens in Latin America now is “relevant to policymakers and scholars beyond this region”. Ultimately, Ms Rousseff fell because she was a poor communicator and proved incapable of engaging with her Congress.