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 is Sterling Professor Emeritus of Social and Political Science Dylan Matthews: When you wrote “The Perils of Presidentialism,” the. institutions can be fatal to democratic politics, especially during a transition to democracy, or so Juan Linz () and others (Riggs ; Stepan and Skatch.
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The perils of ‘presidentialism’
Interestingly, however, the temptation to view a directly elected head of state as the highest presjdentialism of democracy has proven irresistible in some European countries as well. But unlike the US, where 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.
Ms Rousseff was impeached and suspended from office by the Brazilian Congress. Prof Linz observed that most of the stable regimes in Europe and Britain’s former colonies around the world are parliamentary systems presidentialusm which the president performs just ceremonial duties and is therefore not elected directly, but chosen indirectly through some parliamentary procedure.
That’s what happened when Finland joined the European Union and the country’s president accepted that the prime minister would ths it in daily European Union activities.
Skip to main content. A version of this article appeared in peruls print edition of The Straits Times on May 23,with the headline ‘The perils of ‘presidentialism”. She is accused of “manipulating” national accounts, allegedly in order to mask the country’s true economic conditions. The current Brazilian arrangement is a US-like presidency on steroids.
France has had a powerful executive presidency since the late s, and has frequently paid the price: Over the past three decades, no fewer than 17 Latin America presidents were forced out of oof before the end of their mandates.
It is tempting to argue that Brazil is an isolated case; in neighbouring Argentina, an equally vast Latin American country, power was recently transferred from one directly elected president to another smoothly. We have been experiencing some problems with subscriber log-ins and apologise for the inconvenience caused. And Greeks should congratulate themselves for having a president who is not directly elected; given the country’s terrible economic conditions, direct elections for a Greek head of state would have resulted in the rise of an extremist populist, precisely what is happening in another European country, Austria.
And monarchies, which don’t elect a head of state at all, offer no automatic guarantee against bad governance either. But the Brazilian episode is of greater significance. The lesson seems to be that directly elected strong presidencies imply long-term constitutional changes which are often unpredictable, and frequently unwelcome. Most of these constitutional difficulties were actually predicted from the time Latin America emerged from its latest bout of military dictatorship during the s. And there are a few examples where an executive and elected head of state slowly accepts that he has to share more powers with Parliament: 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.
Prime ministers are invariably used as scapegoats for French presidents and, as a result, they either plot how to become presidents themselves, or try to discredit the president instead. Countries which elect their presidents indirectly through Parliament are not immune to problems: King Felipe VI presidetnialism 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.
At least half of Brazil’s presidentkalism are suspected of corruption.
And, far from being the 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.
And these charges are in themselves fairly spurious: Still, Professor 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”. Nobody listened to him then, as one Latin American country after another rushed to create directly elected presidencies. Still, her defiance came to nothing: 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.
After the party of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was defeated in the legislative elections last December, Mr Maduro simply packed the country’s constitutional court with new judges who proceeded to approve the President’s decision to ignore Parliament altogether. 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.
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. And that’s a condition which exists in other countries as well, giving rise to constitutional difficulties which can lie dormant for decades, until they suddenly erupt, paralysing the life of nations.
The perils of ‘presidentialism’, Opinion News & Top Stories – The Straits Times
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. Nevertheless, it is striking that Presidentialidm 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.
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 presidents and resentful Parliaments, is endemic. And in other European countries such as Poland, or the Czech Republic jua 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.
It was then that Professor Juan Linz, a distinguished Latin American expert and political science academic at Yale University, wrote his seminal works, warnings against “the perils of presidentialism”.
The fact that the leader of the world’s seventh-biggest economy could be pushed out of office in this way is noteworthy in itself. Italian 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. But the late Prof Linz’s warnings were prophetic.