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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 March 2014
CURRENT SCHOLARSHIP ON PRESIDENTIAL POLITICAL SYSTEMS FINDS that the distribution of power between presidents and assemblies can vary significantly from one presidential polity to the next, and can even change within the same presidential regime over a relatively short period of time. Presidents are shown to exercise different levels of control over the law-making process according to the de jure legislative powers at their disposal – initiation, veto, veto override, budgetary and decree powers– and their de facto partisan power – the level of disciplined party support that they command within assemblies. Different combinations of these powers can have strikingly different institutional, behavioural and policy effects. Indeed, such variation has led some analysts to question the usefulness of models of executive–legislative relations that are based solely on the traditional distinction between presidential and parliamentary political systems.
1 For example, see Scott Mainwaring and Matthew Soberg Shugart, Presidentialism and Democracy in Latin America, Cambridge and New York, Cambridge University Press, 1997.Google Scholar
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8 See Shugart and Carey, Presidents and Assemblies; Mainwaring and Shugart, Presidentialism and Democracy in Latin America.Google Scholar
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19 Shugart and Carey, Presidents and Assemblies; Mainwaring and Shugart, Presidentialism and Democracy in Latin America; Lijphart, Patterns of Democracy, pp. 127–8.Google Scholar
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22 Figueiredo and Limongi, ‘Presidential Power, Legislative Organization, and Party Behaviour in Brazil’, p. 165.Google Scholar
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31 Mancur Olson, The Rise and Decline of Nations: Economic Growth, Stagflation, and Social Rigidities, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 1982, pp. 50–3.Google Scholar
32 This distinction between different types of presidential power is developed in Mainwaring and Shugart, Presidentialism and Democracy in Latin America, p. 41.Google Scholar
33 For a translated version of the Russian Constitution, see Richard Sakwa, Russian Politics and Society, 2nd edn, London, Routledge, 1996, pp. 395–429.Google Scholar
34 For example, in the French system the government determines the parliamentary agenda (John D. Huber, Rationalizing Parliament: Legislative Institutions and Party Politics in France, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1996, p. 27); in Brazil, presidents have a variety of constitutional powers to ensure that their bills take priority (Mainwaring and Shugart, Presidentialism and Democracy in Latin America, pp. 64–6).Google Scholar
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37 See Steven S. Smith and Thomas F. Remington, The Politics of Institutional Choice: The Formation of the Russian State Duma, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2001.Google Scholar
38 For a case study of the passage of production-sharing legislation during this period, see Chaisty, Legislative Politics and Economic Power in Russia, pp. 174–92.Google Scholar
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46 The Moscow-based Centre of Applied Political Research (INDEM) compiled the data-set of votes used in this analysis. INDEM has a database of all the electronically recorded votes in the State Duma. All Duma votes, except secret votes, are electronically recorded. The number of such votes vastly exceeds the small number of ‘roll calls’ that are publicly available from the stenograms of the State Duma.Google Scholar
47 These data covered votes on ‘important’ bills: legislation deemed to be particularly consequential at each Duma by commentators at the time and retrospectively. For more detail on the method used, as well as a list of the laws deemed to be important for the years 1994 to July 2001, see Chaisty, Paul and Schleiter, Petra, ‘Productive but Not Valued: The Russian State Duma, 1994–2001’, Europe-Asia Studies, 54: 5 (2002), pp. 701–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar. These data also included votes that were contentious: roll calls were excluded from the data-set when less than 10 per cent of legislators voted against. Finally, the data-set only included the votes of deputies who were parliamentary party members for the entire period under analysis.
48 This index measures the absolute difference between the percentage of aye and nay votes within a party, and produces a cohesion scale from 0 (when a party is evenly divided) to 100 (when party members vote unanimously).Google Scholar
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54 Paul Chaisty, ‘Majority Control and Executive Dominance: Parliament–President Relations in Putin's Russia’, in Alex Pravda (ed.), Leading Russia: Putin in Perspective, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 125.Google Scholar
57 In the Second Duma, for example, the Communist Party permitted a number of its deputies to join two deputy groups: the Agrarian Deputy Group and Popular Power. By sponsoring the formation of these groups, the party gained their support in the Duma Council.Google Scholar
58 See ‘Novye deputaty po novym pravilam’, Sankt-Peterburgskie vedomosti, 20 May 2005. In previous Dumas, one half of the assembly (225 deputies) was elected in plurality contests, and the remainder were elected from the lists of parties that received 5 per cent or more of the national ballot (225).Google Scholar
60 Other changes included: raising the electoral threshold for parties from 5 to 7 per cent; tighter rules on the method for registering parties; and amendments to the law ‘On Extremism’, which empowers the authorities to disqualify parties that use (or whose members use) xenophobic rhetoric during election campaigns. See ‘Tema dnya vybory. Izbiratel’nyi ekstremizm’, Kommersant Daily, 16 June 2006, p. 8; Ivan Rodin, ‘Effekt “bumeranga” ’, Nezavismaya gazeta, 23 November 2006, p. 1.Google Scholar
62 Again, contested votes are counted when 10 per cent or more of those deputies who vote oppose the position of the majority.Google Scholar
63 See Remington, Thomas, ‘Russia's Federal Assembly and the Land Code’, East European Constitutional Review, 11: 3 (2002), pp. 99–104 Google Scholar.
64 See Ivan Rodin, ‘Nulevoe zakonotvorchestvo: Aleksandr Zhukov otvechaet za to, chtoby na Okhotnom Ryadu bol'she ne bylo diskussii’, Nezavisimaya gazeta, 30 January 2004, p. 2.Google Scholar
65 These are in contrast to the first, second and third readings of bills, which take place on the floor of the Duma.Google Scholar
67 See Syuzanna B-Farizova, ‘Povestka. “Edinaya Rossiya” popravila reglament Gosudarstvennoi dumy’, Kommersant Daily, 25 March 2004.Google Scholar
72 This law replaced a number of Soviet-era social benefits with cash payments. These benefits included free public transport and medicine.Google Scholar
73 Important bills that were already in the legislative process from previous Dumas were excluded from the data-set. Budget bills were also excluded because of their fixed annual cycle.Google Scholar
74 For example, see Steven Lee Myers, ‘Russians Seek to Put Restrictions on NGOs’, 24 November 2005 available at http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/11/23/news/russia.php.Google Scholar
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77 See Richard Rose, ‘How Floating Parties Frustrate Democratic Accountability: A Supply-Side View of Russia's Elections’, in Archie Brown (ed.), Contemporary Russian Politics: A Reader, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001, pp. 235–46.Google Scholar