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2007, vol. 31, iss. 1, pp. 43-60
article language: Serbian
document type: Review Paper
published on: 28/02/2008
The semi-presidentialism and viability of cohabitation
Univeristy of Niš, Faculty of Law



This paper is an attempt to point to the basic nature of the semi-presidentialism in newly created constitutional democracies and in traditional European systems. The new constitutions, adopted in the former communist (European and Soviet Union) countries during the last decade of the 20th century, were intended to rise the powers of the president and to bind the executive power of the government (the Prime Minister and the Cabinet) to the parliamentary majority. The newly created political institutions have been drawn into debates not only on the virtues of parliamentary and presidential systems of government but also about the advantages and disadvantages of the semi-presidentialism known as the French constitutional model. The coexistence of popularly elected presidents and prime ministers is a distinct feature of a semi-presidential constitutional framework. The functioning of the political and constitutional system will be directed by the possibility of cohabitation between two different political majorities: the parliamentary and the presidential majority. There is a rather close correlation between the level of the constitutional competences and the degree of political legitimacy. The presidential dominance depends heavily on whether the person enjoys the support of a sympathetic majority in parliament. Otherwise, the president will be condemned to "cohabitation" with the prime minister not of their own choosing. The post-communist presidents do not enjoy clear parliamentary majorities. Thus, they have to practice their own versions of cohabitation by departing from democratic practices.


semi-presidentialism; cohabitation


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