The Presidentialization of Politics: A Comparative Study of Modern Democracies

Paperback | April 26, 2007

EditorThomas Poguntke, Paul Webb

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The Presidentialization of Politics shows that the politics of democratic societies is moving towards a presidentialized working mode, even in the absence of formal institutional changes. These developments can be explained by a combination of long-term structural changes in modern politicsand societies' contingent factors which fluctuate over time. While these contingent, short-term factors relate to the personalities of office holders, the overall political agenda, and the majority situation in parliament, there are several structural factors which are relatively uniform acrossmodern nations. First, the internationalization of modern politics (which is particularly pronounced within the European Union) has led to an 'executive bias' of the political process which has strengthened the role of political top elites vis-a-vis their parliamentary groups and/or their parties.Their predominance has been amplified further by the vastly expanded steering capacities of state machineries which have severely reduced the scope of effective parliamentary control. At the same time, the declining stability of political alignments has increased the proportion of citizens whosevoting decisions are not constrained by long-standing party loyalties. In conjunction with the mediatization of politics, this has increased the capacity of political leaders to by-pass their party machines and to appeal directly to voters. As a result, three interrelated processes have led to a political process increasingly moulded by the inherent logic of presidentialism: increasing leadership power and autonomy within the political executive; increasing leadership power and autonomy within political parties; and increasinglyleadership-centred electoral processes. The book presents evidence for this process of presidentialization for 14 modern democracies (including the US and Canada). While there are substantial cross-national differences, the overall thesis holds: modern democracies are increasingly following a presidential logic of governance through whichleadership is becoming more central and more powerful, but also increasingly dependent on successful immediate appeal to the mass public. Implications for democratic theory are considered.

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The Presidentialization of Politics shows that the politics of democratic societies is moving towards a presidentialized working mode, even in the absence of formal institutional changes. These developments can be explained by a combination of long-term structural changes in modern politicsand societies' contingent factors which fluctu...

Thomas Poguntke is a Professor of Political Science, Keele University. Paul Webb is a Professor of Politics, University of Sussex.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.85 inPublished:April 26, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199218498

ISBN - 13:9780199218493

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Table of Contents

1. Thomas Poguntke and Paul Webb: The Presidentialization of Politics in Democratic Societies: A Framework for Analysis The Presidentialization of Democracy in Democratic Societies2. Richard Heffernan and Paul Webb: The British Prime Minister: Much More Than First Among Equals3. Thomas Poguntke: A Presidentializing Party State? The Federal Republic of Germany4. Mauro Calise: Presidentialization, Italian Style5. Ingrid van Biezen and Jonathan Hopkin: The Presidentialization of Spanish Democracy: Sources of Prime Ministerial Power in Post-Franco Spain6. Stefaan Fiers and Andre' Krouwel: The Low Countries: From 'Prime Minister'to President-Minister7. Karina Pedersen and Tim Knudsen: Denmark: Presidentialization in a Consensual Democracy8. Nicholas Aylott: President Persson--How Did Sweden Get Him?9. Herman Bakvis and Steven B. Wolinetz: Canada: Executive Dominance and Presidentialization10. Ben Clift: Dyarchic Presidentialization in a Presidentialized Polity: The French Fifth Republic11. Heikki Paloheimo: Finland: Let the Force Be with the Leader- But Who Is the Leader?12. Marina Costa Lobo: The Presidentialization of Portuguese Democracy?13. Reuven Y. Hazan: The Failure of Presidential Parliamentarism: Constitutional versus Structural Presidentialization in Israels Parliamentary Democracy14. Sergio Fabbrini: The Semi-Sovereign American Prince: The Dilemma of an Independent President in a Presidential Government15. Paul Webb and Thomas Poguntke: The Presidentialization of Contemporary Democratic Politics: Evidence, Causes, and ConsequencesIndex