Paperback / softback
November 25, 1996
9780801853142
English
248
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6.00 Inches (US)
1.05 Pounds (US)
$28.00 USD, £20.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Presidential Institutions and Democratic Politics

Comparing Regional and National Contexts

While many comparative analysts see parliamentary government as essential for stable democracy, this volume argues that the American presidential system that separates and diffuses power can provide new perspectives for those building democratic institutions in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the new republics of the former Soviet Union. The authors recognize risks of rigidity, gridlock, and excessive centralization in presidential institutions. But they also emphasize the unexpected levels of legislative productivity during periods of divided government, the dramatic reversal of declining popularity by Presidents Reagan and Clinton, and the importance of direct appeals by presidents to the nation.

After examining the American presidential system, the authors focus on the de-facto separation of powers in European parliaments and presidentialism in France, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Both trends in European parliamentary systems and the dramatic changes within French presidential institutions suggest that scholars should temper broad generalizations about presidential or parliamentary government.

About the Author

Kurt von Mettenheim is assistant professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of The Brazilian Voter: Mass Politics in Democratic Transition, 1974-1982.

Johns Hopkins University Press
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248 Pages
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