Semi-presidential system

Semi-presidential system

Overview


The semi-presidential system is a system of government in which a president
President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

 and a prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 are both active participants in the day-to-day administration of the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

. It differs from a parliamentary republic
Parliamentary republic
A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a type of republic which operates under a parliamentary system of government - meaning a system with no clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. There are a number of variations of...

 in that it has a popularly elected head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 who is more than a purely ceremonial figurehead
Figurehead
A figurehead is a carved wooden decoration found at the prow of ships largely made between the 16th and 19th century.-History:Although earlier ships had often had some form of bow ornamentation A figurehead is a carved wooden decoration found at the prow of ships largely made between the 16th and...

, and from the presidential system
Presidential system
A presidential system is a system of government where an executive branch exists and presides separately from the legislature, to which it is not responsible and which cannot, in normal circumstances, dismiss it....

 in that the cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

, although named by the president, is responsible
Ministerial responsibility
Ministerial responsibility or individual ministerial responsibility is a constitutional convention in governments using the Westminster System that a cabinet minister bears the ultimate responsibility for the actions of their ministry or department...

 to the legislature
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

, which may force the cabinet to resign through a motion of no confidence
Motion of no confidence
A motion of no confidence is a parliamentary motion whose passing would demonstrate to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in the appointed government.-Overview:Typically, when a parliament passes a vote of no...

.

The term was first in a 1978 work by political scientist Maurice Duverger
Maurice Duverger
Maurice Duverger is a French jurist, sociologist and politician. He was born in Angoulême, Charente.Starting his career as a jurist at the University of Bordeaux, Duverger became more and more involved in political science and in 1948 founded one of the first faculties for political science in...

 to describe the French Fifth Republic
French Fifth Republic
The Fifth Republic is the fifth and current republican constitution of France, introduced on 4 October 1958. The Fifth Republic emerged from the collapse of the French Fourth Republic, replacing the prior parliamentary government with a semi-presidential system...

, which he dubbed a régime semi-présidentiel.

How the powers are divided between president and prime minister can vary greatly between countries.
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Encyclopedia


The semi-presidential system is a system of government in which a president
President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

 and a prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 are both active participants in the day-to-day administration of the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

. It differs from a parliamentary republic
Parliamentary republic
A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a type of republic which operates under a parliamentary system of government - meaning a system with no clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. There are a number of variations of...

 in that it has a popularly elected head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 who is more than a purely ceremonial figurehead
Figurehead
A figurehead is a carved wooden decoration found at the prow of ships largely made between the 16th and 19th century.-History:Although earlier ships had often had some form of bow ornamentation A figurehead is a carved wooden decoration found at the prow of ships largely made between the 16th and...

, and from the presidential system
Presidential system
A presidential system is a system of government where an executive branch exists and presides separately from the legislature, to which it is not responsible and which cannot, in normal circumstances, dismiss it....

 in that the cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

, although named by the president, is responsible
Ministerial responsibility
Ministerial responsibility or individual ministerial responsibility is a constitutional convention in governments using the Westminster System that a cabinet minister bears the ultimate responsibility for the actions of their ministry or department...

 to the legislature
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

, which may force the cabinet to resign through a motion of no confidence
Motion of no confidence
A motion of no confidence is a parliamentary motion whose passing would demonstrate to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in the appointed government.-Overview:Typically, when a parliament passes a vote of no...

.

The term was first in a 1978 work by political scientist Maurice Duverger
Maurice Duverger
Maurice Duverger is a French jurist, sociologist and politician. He was born in Angoulême, Charente.Starting his career as a jurist at the University of Bordeaux, Duverger became more and more involved in political science and in 1948 founded one of the first faculties for political science in...

 to describe the French Fifth Republic
French Fifth Republic
The Fifth Republic is the fifth and current republican constitution of France, introduced on 4 October 1958. The Fifth Republic emerged from the collapse of the French Fourth Republic, replacing the prior parliamentary government with a semi-presidential system...

, which he dubbed a régime semi-présidentiel.

Division of powers


How the powers are divided between president and prime minister can vary greatly between countries. In France, for example, in case of cohabitation
Cohabitation (government)
Cohabitation in government occurs in semi-presidential systems, such as France's system, when the President is from a different political party than the majority of the members of parliament. It occurs because such a system forces the president to name a premier that will be acceptable to the...

 when the president and the prime minister come from opposing parties, the president is responsible for foreign policy
Foreign policy
A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

 and the prime minister for domestic policy
Domestic policy
Domestic policy, also known as public policy, presents decisions, laws, and programs made by the government which are directly related to all issues and activity within the country....

. In this case, the division of powers between the prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 and the president
President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

 is not explicitly stated in the constitution, but has evolved as a political convention
Constitutional convention (political custom)
A constitutional convention is an informal and uncodified procedural agreement that is followed by the institutions of a state. In some states, notably those Commonwealth of Nations states that follow the Westminster system and whose political systems derive from British constitutional law, most...

. In Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, by contrast, this particular aspect of the separation of powers is explicitly stated in the constitution
Constitution of Finland
The Constitution of Finland is the supreme source of national law of Finland. It defines the basis, structures and organisation of government, the relationship between the different constitutional organs, and lays out the fundamental rights of Finnish citizens...

: "foreign policy is led by the president in cooperation with the cabinet".

Cohabitation


Further information: Cohabitation (government)
Cohabitation (government)
Cohabitation in government occurs in semi-presidential systems, such as France's system, when the President is from a different political party than the majority of the members of parliament. It occurs because such a system forces the president to name a premier that will be acceptable to the...



Semi-presidential systems may sometimes experience periods in which the President and the Prime Minister are from differing and opposing political parties. This is called "cohabitation
Cohabitation (government)
Cohabitation in government occurs in semi-presidential systems, such as France's system, when the President is from a different political party than the majority of the members of parliament. It occurs because such a system forces the president to name a premier that will be acceptable to the...

", a term which originated in France when the situation first arose in the 1980s. In most cases, cohabitation results from a system in which the two executives are not elected at the same time or for the same term. For example, in 1981, France elected both a Socialist
Socialist Party (France)
The Socialist Party is a social-democratic political party in France and the largest party of the French centre-left. It is one of the two major contemporary political parties in France, along with the center-right Union for a Popular Movement...

 president and legislature, which yielded a Socialist premier. But whereas the president's term of office was for seven years, the National Assembly only served for five. When, in the 1986 legislative election, the French people elected a right-center Assembly, Socialist President Mitterrand was forced into "cohabitation" with a rightist premier.

Cohabitation can create an effective system of checks and balances
Separation of powers
The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic...

 or a period of bitter and tense stonewalling, depending on the attitudes of the two leader
Leadership
Leadership has been described as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task". Other in-depth definitions of leadership have also emerged.-Theories:...

s, the ideologies of their parties, or the demands of their constituencies. As a typical example, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

n politics for several years witnessed a bitter struggle between the President and the Prime Minister, belonging to different parties and elected separately, over the negotiations with the LTTE to resolve the longstanding civil war
Sri Lankan civil war
The Sri Lankan Civil War was a conflict fought on the island of Sri Lanka. Beginning on July 23, 1983, there was an on-and-off insurgency against the government by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam , a separatist militant organization which fought to create an independent Tamil state named Tamil...

.

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