A SEMI-PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM is a system of government in which a
president exists alongside a prime minister and a cabinet, with the
latter two being responsible to the legislature of a state . A
semi-presidential system differs from a parliamentary republic in that
it has a popularly elected head of state , who is more than a purely
ceremonial figurehead , and from the presidential system in that the
cabinet , although named by the president, is responsible to the
legislature , which may force the cabinet to resign through a motion
of no confidence .
While the German Weimar
Republic (1919–1933) exemplified an early
semi-presidential system, the term "semi-presidential" was introduced
by a 1959 article by journalist
Hubert Beuve-Méry and popularized
by a 1978 work by political scientist
Maurice Duverger , both of which
intended to describe the French Fifth
Republic (established in 1958).
* 1 Subtypes
* 2 Division of powers
* 3 Cohabitation
* 4 Republics with a semi-presidential system of government
* 5 See also
* 6 Notes and references
* 7 External links
There are two separate subtypes of semi-presidentialism:
premier-presidentialism and president-parliamentarism.
Under the PREMIER-PRESIDENTIAL system, the prime minister and cabinet
are exclusively accountable to parliament. The president chooses the
prime minister and cabinet, but only the parliament may remove them
from office with a _vote of no confidence_. The president does _not_
have the right to dismiss the prime minister or the cabinet. However,
in some cases, the president can circumvent this limitation by
exercising the discretionary power of dissolving the assembly, which
forces the prime minister and cabinet to step down. This subtype is
Burkina Faso ,
France , Georgia (since 2013),
Sri Lanka and
Ukraine (since 2014; previously, between 2006
Under the PRESIDENT-PARLIAMENTARY system, the prime minister and
cabinet are dually accountable to the president and the assembly
majority. The president chooses the prime minister and the cabinet but
must have the support of the parliament majority for his choice. In
order to remove a prime minister or the whole cabinet from power, the
president can dismiss them or the assembly can remove them by a _vote
of no confidence_. This form of semi-presidentialism is much closer to
pure presidentialism. It is used in
Armenia , Georgia between 2004 and
Ukraine between 1996
and 2005, and again from 2010 to 2014. It was used in
the _Weimarer Republik_ (Weimar
Republic ), as the constitutional
regime between 1919 and 1933 is called unofficially.
DIVISION OF POWERS
The powers that are divided between president and prime minister can
vary greatly between countries.
In FRANCE , for example, in case of cohabitation when the president
and the prime minister come from opposing parties, the president
oversees foreign policy and defence policy (these are generally called
_les prérogatives présidentielles_ (the presidential prerogatives))
and the prime minister domestic policy and economic policy . In this
case, the division of responsibilities between the prime minister and
the president is not explicitly stated in the constitution, but has
evolved as a political convention based on the constitutional
principle that the prime minister is appointed (with the subsequent
approval of a parliament majority) and dismissed by the president. On
the other hand, whenever the president is from the same party as the
prime minister who leads the _conseil de gouvernement_ (cabinet), he
often (if not usually) exercises _de facto_ control over ALL fields of
policy via the prime minister. It is up to the president to decide,
how much "autonomy" he leaves to "his" prime minister to act on his
In FINLAND , by contrast, the assignment of responsibility for
foreign policy was explicitly stated in the pre-2000 constitution :
"foreign policy is led by the president in cooperation with the
Semi-presidential systems may sometimes experience periods in which
President and the Prime Minister are from differing political
parties. This is called "cohabitation ", a term which originated in
France when the situation first arose in the 1980s. Cohabitation can
create an effective system of checks and balances or a period of
bitter and tense stonewalling, depending on the attitudes of the two
leaders , the ideologies of their parties, or the demands of their
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 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-of-centre Assembly, Socialist President
Mitterrand was forced into cohabitation with rightist premier Jacques
However, in 2000, amendments to the French Constitution reduced the
length of the French President's term from seven to five years. This
has significantly lowered the chances of cohabitation occurring, as
parliamentary and presidential elections may now be conducted within a
shorter span of each other.
In the Russian Federation Duma has to approve a Prime Minister
choosen by the
President however if Duma rejects the President's
candidates three times in a row then
President has the right to
dissolve Duma and call new elections which makes cohabitation
REPUBLICS WITH A SEMI-PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT
List of countries by system of government §
_Italics_ indicate states with limited recognition.
Cape Verde (Cabo Verde)
Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa)
East Timor (Timor-Leste)
* Nagorno-Karabakh _
Northern Cyprus _
* _ Palestine _
São Tomé and Príncipe
São Tomé and Príncipe
South Ossetia _
Republic of China) _
List of countries by system of government
NOTES AND REFERENCES
* ^ _Le Monde_, 8 January 1959.
* ^ Duverger, Maurice (September 1996). "Les monarchies
républicaines" (PDF). _Pouvoirs, revue française d’études
constitutionnelles et politiques _ (in French). No. 78. Paris:
Éditions du Seuil. pp. 107–120. ISBN 2-02-030123-7 . ISSN 0152-0768
. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
* ^ Bahro, Bayerlein, and Veser, 1998.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Shugart, Matthew Søberg (September 2005).
"Semi-Presidential Systems: Dual Executive and Mixed Authority
Patterns" (PDF). _Graduate School of International Relations and
Pacific Studies_. United States: University of California, San Diego.
Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 August 2008. Retrieved 12
* ^ _A_ _B_ Shugart, Matthew Søberg (December 2005).
"Semi-Presidential Systems: Dual Executive And Mixed Authority
Patterns" (PDF). _French Politics_.
Palgrave Macmillan Journals. 3
(3): 323–351. doi :10.1057/palgrave.fp.8200087 . Retrieved 12
* ^ See article 5, title II, of the
French Constitution of 1958 .
Jean Massot, Quelle place la Constitution de 1958 accorde-t-elle au
Président de la République?, Constitutional Council of France
website (in French).
* ^ Le Petit Larousse 2013 p. 880
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Neto, Octávio Amorim; Lobo, Marina Costa
(2010). "Between Constitutional Diffusion and Local Politics:
Semi-Presidentialism in Portuguese-Speaking Countries". Social Science
Research Network . SSRN 1644026 _.
* ^ Article 41 of the Constitution of the
Republic of Namibia.
* ^ Article 74 of the Constitution of the
Republic of Yemen: "The
House of Representatives has the right to withdraw confidence from the
Government. Withdrawal of confidence may be requested only after
interpellating the Prime Minister or his representative. A request for
withdrawing confidence has to be signed by a third of the members of
the House and the House may not decide on this request before the
elapsing of at least seven days after its submission. Withdrawal of
confidence in the Government has to be decided by the majority of
members of the House."
* ^ Article 105 of the Constitution of the
Republic of Yemen: "The
Prime Minister and ministers are collectively responsible before the
Presidential Council and the House of Representatives for the work of
* Bahro, Horst; Bayerlein, Bernhard H.; Veser, Ernst (October 1998).
"Duverger\'s concept: Semi–presidential government revisited" (PDF).
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* Canas, Vitalino (2004). "The Semi-Presidential System" (PDF).
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