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Book Notes The New Institutional Politics (Lane & Ersson) Notes

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The New Institutional Politics: Performance and Outcomes Notes Chapter 6

1. Presidentialism is a theory focusing on the relationship between the executive and the legislature, in which the president (the head of state) possesses real power rather than just a symbolic function

1. Note there is variation in presidential executives

1. European presidentialism vastly different from the American brand outside Europe

2. Linz: Argues that the only case of successful presidentialism is the USA (1992)

1. Latin America, Africa and Asia have all suffered failures of presidential systems

2. A) What is the evidence for such a general rejection of presidentialism?

3. B) Can we be sure presidentialism, specifically the executive, to blame rather than other factors such as poverty?

4. C) Can an institutional effect be detected in the operation of presidential regimes?

3. Linz: Institutionalist position

1. "Institutional characteristics shape the whole political process and the way of ruling" (1994)

2. Key question however is: Does the manner in which a government operates matter for outcomes (i.e. impact upon state stability and state performance)?

1. QFT: When using the phrase "state performance" does one mean the performance of the government internally or the nation externally?

4. Structuring of the executive

1. Presidents are always heads of state when the office of the president exists in a country

2. Premiers are always the head of government when the office of the prime minister exists

3. Strong presidentialism is where the president fulfils both roles

4. Weak presidentialism is where there is a president and a premier

1. Alternatively this could manifest itself as cohabitation in the form of power sharing or struggles between the two offices

2. France is perhaps an example of this?

5. If there is no president when there is a prime minister, there is usually a monarchy

6. There are very few alternatives about the heads of state

7. Where real executive power is vested in single parties there are still employed nominal heads of states e.g. remaining communist systems, military juntas and the religious regime in Iran

1. Based on the principle of parallelism where actual power is vested in the shadow structure of decision making bodies of the party and its officers

2. European presidentialism usually involves the premier sharing executive competences with a powerful president

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