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A semi-presidential system, or dual executive system, is a system of government in which a president exists alongside a prime minister and a cabinet, with the latter responding to the legislature of the state. It differs from a parliamentary republic in that it has a popularly elected head of state who is more than a ceremonial figurehead, and from the presidential system in that the cabinet, although named by the president, responds to the legislature, which may force the cabinet to resign through a motion of no confidence.
While the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and Finland (from 1919 to 2000) exemplified an early semi-presidential system, the term "semi-presidential" was actually first introduced in a 1959 article by journalist Hubert Beuve-Méry,and popularized by a 1978 work written by political scientist Maurice Duverger, both of which intended to describe the French Fifth Republic (established in 1958).
Maurice Duverger's original definition of semi-presidentialism stated that the president had to be elected, possess significant power, and serve for a fixed term.Modern definitions merely declare that the head of state has to be elected, and that a separate prime minister that is dependent on parliamentary confidence has to lead the executive.
There are two distinct subtypes of semi-presidentialism: premier-presidentialism and president-parliamentarism.
Under the premier-presidential system, the prime minister and cabinet are exclusively accountable to parliament. The president may choose the prime minister and cabinet, but only the parliament may approve them and remove them from office with a vote of no confidence. This system is much closer to pure parliamentarism. This subtype is used in: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde,East Timor, France, Lithuania, Madagascar, Mali, Mongolia, Niger, Georgia (between 2013 and 2018), Poland, Portugal, Romania, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sri Lanka and Ukraine (since 2014; previously, between 2006 and 2010).
Under the president-parliamentary system, the prime minister and cabinet are dually accountable to the president and to the parliament. The president chooses the prime minister and the cabinet, but must have the support of a parliamentary majority for his choice. In order to remove a prime minister, or the whole cabinet, from power, the president can either dismiss them, or the parliament can remove them through a vote of no confidence. This form of semi-presidentialism is much closer to pure presidentialism. It is used in: Guinea-Bissau,Mozambique, Namibia, Russia and Taiwan. It was also used in Ukraine (first between 1996 and 2005; then from 2010 to 2014), Georgia (from 2004 to 2013), and in Germany during the Weimar Republic.
The distribution of power between the president and the prime minister can vary greatly between countries.
In France, for example, in the case of cohabitation (when the president and the prime minister come from opposing parties), the president oversees foreign policy and defense policy (these are generally called les prérogatives présidentielles, presidential prerogatives) and the prime minister is in charge of domestic policy and economic policy.In this case, the division of responsibilities between the prime minister and the president is not explicitly stated in the constitution, but has evolved as a political convention based on the constitutional principle that the prime minister is appointed (with the subsequent approval of a parliament majority) and dismissed by the president. On the other hand, whenever the president and the prime minister represent the same political party, which leads the cabinet, they tend to exercise de facto control over all fields of policy via the prime minister. However, it is up to the president to decide how much autonomy is left to said prime minister.
Semi-presidential systems may sometimes experience periods of time in which the president and the prime minister are from different political parties. This event is called "cohabitation", a term which originated in France after the situation first arose in the 1980s. Cohabitation can either create an effective system of checks and balances, or a period of bitter and tense stonewalling, depending on the attitudes of the two leaders, the ideologies of themselves/their parties, and the demands of their supporters.
In most cases, cohabitation results from a system in which the two executives are not elected at the same time or for the same term. For example, in 1981, France elected both a Socialist president and legislature, which yielded a Socialist premier. But while the president's term of office was for seven years, the National Assembly only served for five. When, in the 1986 legislative election, the French people elected a right-of-centre assembly, Socialist president François Mitterrand was forced into cohabitation with right wing premier, Jacques Chirac.
However, in 2000, amendments to the French constitution reduced the length of the French president's term to five years. This has significantly lowered the chances of cohabitation occurring, as parliamentary and presidential elections may now be conducted within a shorter span of each other.
The incorporation of elements from both presidential and parliamentary republics can bring certain advantageous elements; however, it also creates disadvantages, often related to the confusion produced by mixed authority patterns.
Italics indicate states with limited recognition.
The president has the authority to choose the prime minister and the cabinet, but only the parliament may remove them from office through a vote of no confidence. However, even though the president does not have the power to directly dismiss the prime minister or the cabinet, they can dissolve parliament.
The president chooses the prime minister without a confidence vote from the parliament. In order to remove a prime minister, or the whole cabinet, from power, the president can either dismiss them, or the parliament can remove them through a vote of no confidence. The president also has the authority to dissolve the parliament.
Under the 1995 electoral law, the winning coalition receives an absolute majority of seats on the council. The president chairs the giunta, and nominates or dismisses its members, known as the assessori. If the directly-elected president resigns, new elections are convened immediately.
The politics of Armenia take place in the framework of the parliamentary representative democratic republic of Armenia, whereby the President of Armenia is the head of state and the Prime Minister of Armenia the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the President and the Government. Legislative power is vested in both the Government and Parliament.
Politics of Lithuania takes place in a framework of a unitary semi-presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Lithuania is the head of state and the Prime Minister of Lithuania is the head of government, and of a multi-party system.
Politics of Mongolia takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential multi-party representative democracy. Executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister, who is the head of government, and the Cabinet. The President is the head of state, but holds limited authority over the executive branch of the government, unlike full presidential republics like the United States. Legislative power is vested in parliament. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
Politics of Namibia takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Namibia is both head of state and head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by both the president and the government. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of Parliament. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary system of government that incorporates a series of procedures for operating a legislature that was first developed in England.
The Government of Poland takes place in the framework of a unitary semi-presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government.
A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic governance of a state where the executive derives its democratic legitimacy from its ability to command the confidence of the legislature, typically a parliament, and is also held accountable to that parliament. In a parliamentary system, the head of state is usually a person distinct from the head of government. This is in contrast to a presidential system, where the head of state often is also the head of government and, most importantly, where the executive does not derive its democratic legitimacy from the legislature.
A presidential system, or single executive system, is a form of government in which a head of government (president) leads an executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch. This head of government is in most cases also the head of state.
The first parliaments date back to the Middle Ages. In 930, the first assembly of the Alþingi was convened at Þingvellir in Iceland, becoming the earliest version of a formalized parliamentary system. However, in 1188 Alfonso IX, King of Leon convened the three states in the Cortes of León and according to UNESCO it was the first sample of modern parliamentarism in the history of Europe.
The Reichspräsident was the German head of state under the Weimar constitution, which was officially in force from 1919 to 1945. In English he was usually simply referred to as the President of Germany.
Cohabitation is a system of divided government that occurs in semi-presidential systems, such as France, whenever the president is from a different political party than the majority of the members of parliament. It occurs because such a system forces the president to name a premier who will be acceptable to the majority party within parliament. Thus, cohabitation occurs because of the duality of the executive: an independently elected President and a prime minister who must be acceptable both to the president and to the legislature.
Historically, the political post of Prime Minister, officially called President of the Council of Ministers, existed in Brazil in two different periods: from 1847 to 1889 and from 1961 to 1963.
A parliamentary republic is a republic that operates under a parliamentary system of government where the executive branch derives its legitimacy from and is accountable to the legislature. There are a number of variations of parliamentary republics. Most have a clear differentiation between the head of government and the head of state, with the head of government holding real power, much like constitutional monarchies. Some have combined the roles of head of state and head of government, much like presidential systems, but with a dependency upon parliamentary power.
Matthew Søberg Shugart is an American political scientist. He is a Distinguished Professor of political science at the University of California, Davis. He is also an Affiliated Professor at the University of Haifa. Shugart specializes in electoral systems, party systems, and the design of political institutions, primarily through empirical studies of political systems across large numbers of countries. Shugart is also an orchardist, and runs the Fruits and Votes blog on electoral systems and fruit growing.
The government of Niger is the apparatus through which authority functions and is exercised: the governing apparatus of Nigerien state. The current system of governance, since the Constitution 18 July 1999, is termed the Fifth Republic of Niger. It is a semi-presidential republic, whereby the President of Niger is head of state and the Prime Minister of Niger head of government. The officials holding these posts are chosen through a representative democratic process of national and local elections, in the context of a competing multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature: its Constitutional Court has jurisdiction over constitutional and electoral matters.
A unitary parliamentary republic refers to a unitary state with a republican form of government in which the political power is vested in and entrusted to the parliament with confidence by its electorate.
Semi-parliamentary system can refer to either a prime-ministerial system, in which voters simultaneously vote for both members of legislature and the prime minister, or to a system of government in which the legislature is split into two parts that are both directly elected – one that has the power to remove the members of the executive by a vote of no confidence and another that does not. The former was first proposed by Maurice Duverger, who used it to refer to Israel from 1996-2001. The second was identified by German academic Steffen Ganghof.
The World Bank has funded educational efforts in Mongolia since 2006, focusing on improving educational resources in rural areas.
The concept of a semi-presidential form of government, as used here, is defined only by the content of the constitution. A political regime is considered as semi-presidential if the constitution which established it, combines three elements: (1) the president of the republic is elected by universal suffrage, (2) he possesses quite considerable powers; (3) he has opposite him, however, a prime minister and ministers who possess executive and governmental power and can stay in office only if the parliament does not show its opposition to them.
The conventional analysis of government in democratic countries by political science and constitutional law starts from the traditional types of presidentialism and parliamentarism. There is, however, a general consensus that governments in the various countries work quite differently. This is why some authors have inserted distinctive features into their analytical approaches, at the same time maintaining the general dichotomy. Maurice Duverger, trying to explain the French Fifth Republic, found that this dichotomy was not adequate for this purpose. He therefore resorted to the concept of 'semi-presidential government': The characteristics of the concept are (Duverger 1974: 122, 1978: 28, 1980: 166):
1. the president of the republic is elected by universal suffrage,
2. he possesses quite considerable powers and
3. he has opposite him a prime minister who possesses executive and governmental powers and can stay in office only if parliament does not express its opposition to him.