Constitutional Designs and Democratization in the Third World
Theoretical debates about constitutional designs of new democracies started from Linz's criticism on presidentialism based on his research of the Latin American experience. According to this presidentialism is a system that structurally produces conflict and instability, thus it becomes a cause of the breakdown offragile presidential democracies. In contrast, a parliamentary form of government is very flexible, hence is conducive to stable democracy.
Theoretical arguments, however, simply compare constitutional designs and a particular regime's survival. In fact, a new constitution is the result of a combination of the political actor’s rational choice with some constraints on bislher rational choice suchas political traditions and political institutions.
Over ninety countries in the world have become independent since World War II. Some of them have chosen parliamentary systems and others have chosen presidential or mixed systems.
The purpose of this study is to find empirical difference between parliamentary systems and presidential systems for democratization in the developing countries.Theoretical debates on constitutional designs
While considering constitutional choices in new democracies, it is important to take into account the criteria used by constitution designers. Those criteria might be representation and effectiveness of a constitutional form.
Good government depends on how conflict between the legislative and the executive branch can be solved well within acertain constitutional framework. Theoretical debates between presidentialism and parliamentary system are ultimately related to executive-legislative relations.
This study examines the characteristics of constitutional forms in terms of executive-legislative relations and limitation of executive power.
Since J. J. Linz criticized the presidential form of government,parliamentary system has been regarded as the superior form of democratic government. Many empirical studies showed that the parliamentary system is more conducive than the presidential one in divided societies in terms of ethnicity, culture, and region because of its flexible and consensual characteristics.
Linz argues that while a parliamentary constitution has a positive effect on democraticconsolidation, the presidential one has the opposite effect.
According to Stepan and Skach, in pure parliamentary system there are two distinctive characteristics that mutually depend on each other. First, "the chief executive power must be supported by a majority in the legislature and can fall if it receives a vote of no confidence." Secondly, "the executive power has the capacity to dissolvethe legislature and call for elections”.
As advantages of parliamentary government, they stand:
• It is flexible to the changes of circumstances
• In a parliamentary system the lines of responsibility for policy making are clear.
A parliamentary system, on the other hand, possesses some structural problems, stated next:
• Parliamentary systems can be less stable than presidentialsystems because of the frequent changes of the cabinet and legislature, Moreover, in a parliament composed of a coalition among two or more parties, disagreements on policies or issues among them often delay policy-making and its implementation.
• Because the position and power of the prime minister is unstable and relatively weak under parliamentary system, it is difficult to create andimplement strong policies and to have powerful leadership to resolve the problems such as dual transitions, which new democracies usually face.
• Parliamentary systems have developed in the countries in which political party systems are well developed. Therefore, without a solid party system, parliamentary systems are not successful without a solid party system.
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