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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At least half of Brazil’s legislators are suspected of corruption. Two out of the 11 presidents chosen by prsidentialism German Parliament since World War II had to resign from office because their conduct was called juaj question. 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.

But the late Prof Linz’s warnings were prophetic.

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. 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”.

The result is utter chaos and a constitutional disintegration, which ultimately seems likely to be resolved only by a revolution or a coup, and neither is likely to be bloodless.

But a log-in is still required for our PDFs. 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, presidentkalism who can tower over the rest through the sheer force of their exemplary personal conduct.

presidentialiism And these charges are in themselves fairly spurious: 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. She forgot that, regardless of the direct electoral mandate she enjoyed, the Brazilian Congress prezidentialism another power copied from the US – that of being able to impeach her, to remove her from office.


Prof Linz observed that most of the stable regimes in Europe and Britain’s former colonies around the world are parliamentary systems in which the president performs just ceremonial duties and is therefore not elected directly, but chosen indirectly through some parliamentary procedure.

Nevertheless, it is striking that European llnz 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 version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23,with the headline ‘The perils of ‘presidentialism”. 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.

The current Brazilian arrangement is a US-like presidency on steroids. The Brazilian crisis is a classic example of what happens when the vanity and incompetence of politicians collides with the reality of a poorly written Constitution. 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.

Until we resolve the issues, subscribers need not log in to access ST Digital articles. Still, her defiance came to nothing: 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.

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. Ireland is such a case. That’s what happened when Finland joined the European Union and the country’s president accepted that the prime minister would represent it in daily European Union activities.

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. Ms Rousseff has been found guilty of no crime; her suspension merely allows legislators to evaluate charges against her.


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The perils of ‘presidentialism’

So they are tempted instead to pledge things over which they have no responsibility, such as promising to “improve the economy”, something which they can’t deliver.

Nor are those about to judge her morally qualified: 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.

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. Nobody listened to him then, as one Latin American country after another rushed to create directly elected presidencies.

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

She is accused of “manipulating” national accounts, allegedly in order to mask the country’s true economic conditions. Countries which elect their presidents indirectly through Parliament are not immune to problems: And monarchies, which don’t elect a head of state at all, offer no automatic guarantee against bad governance either.

And in other European 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. Still, just the question of electing a ceremonial head of state by a popular vote creates its own difficulties. 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.