domingo, 28 de julho de 2013

Landau e Ackerman

Vejam o que David Landau escreveu na defesa do parlamentarismo para o Egito Landau fala de Linz. É uma discussão sobre sistemas de governo

Should Egypt Drop the Presidency?

Posted: 27 Jul 2013 05:07 PM PDT

David Landau, Florida State University College of Law

Bruce Ackerman recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times calling for
Egypt to drop the institution of the presidency from its new constitutional
order, and instead to use a parliamentary system with a constructive vote
of no confidence. Ackerman argues essentially that the figure of the
president allows the Muslim Brotherhood to govern without gaining support
from other groups, whereas a Parliamentary system would force Islamists to
govern with support from other groups.

The article revives one of the older debates in constitutional design. Juan
Linz and others have long argued that presidentialism creates a
winner-take-all logic that is detrimental to democratic stability, and have
recommended parliamentarism instead. Some more recent work by Cindy Skach
and others has focused particularly on the semi-presidentialism found in
Egypt, France, Russia, and elsewhere, where there is both a directly
elected president with real power and a separate prime minister. These
regimes supposedly create vagueness in the distribution of powers that is
especially destabilizing to democracy.

An opposing line of research has defended presidentialism. For example,
scholars argue that presidentialism increases electoral accountability both
because voters have a clearer sense of what they are voting for and because
it is easier for them to figure out who to hold accountable for
governmental failure. Some also note that parliamentary regimes can in fact
be highly unstable, with governing coalitions forming and dissolving in
rapid succession (as has occurred at times in Italy). And others defend the
decisiveness with which presidential regimes can supposedly respond to

The competing claims remain difficult to assess empirically; statistical
analyses for example are difficult because of the number of confounding
variables. The Latin American experience – where the major countries are
presidential – nonetheless looks quite different than it did twenty years
ago. The argument that presidentialism breeds instability is more difficult
to support in a region that has been much more consistently democratic than
in the past. The issue of overall performance and quality of governance is
more difficult to assess, but even multiparty presidential systems like
Brazil appear to have improved quality of governance. At least over time,
then, it may be that Latin American presidentialism is maturing to the
point of workability.

As Ackerman suggests, much of this debate might be better considered in
concrete terms, in the context of a particular party system and particular
set of political and social problems. The Egyptian experience seems to
validate the anti-presidential argument to an extent. Some of the key
problems stemmed from the composition of the Parliament, rather than the
presidency. The first Constitutional Assembly, which was seen as stacked by
Islamist elements, was selected by a Parliament that was insufficiently
pluralistic, perhaps because of the rapid timing of elections. But the
issue of presidential emergency power was salient, for example, in Morsi’s
decree last November stating that his declarations would not be subject to
judicial review. Presidentialism does not appear to have been the only
reason for Egypt’s instability, but it seems likely to have played some

If Egypt does stick with the presidency, it should carefully consider the
issue of presidential power, especially affirmative decree and emergency
powers. The experience across much of Latin America suggests that emergency
decrees can occasionally be destabilizing, often lack popular legitimacy,
and may limit the development of other democratic institutions like
legislatures. The question of presidential emergency powers – and emergency
powers in general – is likely to arise repeatedly because of the unstable
nature of the democratic transition. The distribution of power between
president and prime minister is a second important dimension in the medium
and longer term. The cohabitation problem seems to be endemic to
semi-presidential systems, and at some point the Egyptians are likely to
face it. The broader point is that some of these issues might be better
dealt with through specific, detailed points of design, rather than the
broad question of regime type.

Suggested Citation: David Landau, Should Egypt Drop the Presidency?, Intl
J. Const. L. Blog, July 27, 2013, available at:

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