Semi-presidentialism: What Is It and Where Is It Found?
Semi-presidentialism was first conceptualized by Maurice Duverger (1970) to describe a type of regime that was different from both presidential and parliamentary systems. The introduction of the direct, popular election of the president in France in 1962 was the institutional change that prompted Duverger to identify semi-presidentialism as a separate regime type. Duverger’s original definition was as follows:
[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 (Duverger 1980, p. 166).…show more content… For more than a century, attention had been focused solely on presidentialism and parliamentarism, even though the first countries with semi-presidential constitutions had appeared as far back as 1919. Duverger’s definition of semi-presidentialism quickly took hold and became the standard way of thinking about semi-presidentialism. More than that, given the context in which the concept was formulated, Duverger’s own writing on France, and his position within the French academy, France became the default semi-presidential reference point. Largely thanks to Duverger, when scholars thought about semi-presidentialism, they thought about the French