ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Intra-Executive Conflict Under Semi-Presidentialism: Effects of the President’s Control of the Executive

Comparative Politics
Conflict
Constitutions
Executives
Government
Institutions
Parliaments
Political Parties
Huang-Ting Yan
Institute of Political Science, Academia Sinica
Huang-Ting Yan
Institute of Political Science, Academia Sinica

Abstract

This article answers why intra-executive conflict varies across semi-presidential democracies. Literature verifies intra-executive competition tends to be higher when the president holds less power to dismiss the cabinet, co-exists with a minority government, or the president’s party is not represented in the cabinet. The president’s willingness to scramble with the prime minister for the executive power, however, also depends on (1) who is the party leader, (2) its party’s relative bargaining power vis-à-vis coalition partners, (3) how many seats its party has if as the parliamentary opposition, and (4) its ability to end a cabinet through a vote of (no-) confidence initiated by its parliamentary party. This paper, therefore, integrates factors set out above to construct an index of the president’s control of the executive, proposing its relation with intra-executive conflict follows an inverted U-shaped curve. That is, when the prime minister is subordinated to an elected president, or the president cannot challenge the authority of a prime minister, the conflict-level is lower. By contrast, significant confrontations emerge when the president claims constitutional legitimacy to rein in the cabinet, and controls the executive to a certain degree. This study verifies hypotheses using data on semi-presidential democracies between 1990 and 2017. Further, the author develops an index of the president’s control of the executive and, thus, makes a twofold contribution. First, the author identifies a multi-pathway cabinet termination and, hence, measures cabinet dismissal power of the president and the parliament respectively. Second, using a multiplicative aggregation rule, the author integrates factors as cabinet composition, party system and party-president relations and measures how the president effectively controls the executive. This research concludes that an effective institutional design to lower intra-executive confrontation should favor a presidential or prime ministerial dominance over the executive.