Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Semi-presidential system

semi-presidential system is a system of government that features both a prime minister and a president who are active participants in the day to day functioning of government. It differs from the parliamentary system in that it has a president who is not a ceremonial figurehead and it differs from the presidential system in that it has an executive prime minister who has some responsibility to the legislature.

How the powers between president and prime minister are divided can vary greatly between countries. For example, in France the president is responsible for foreign policy and the prime minister for domestic policy. In this case, the division of power between the prime minister and the president is not explicitedly stated in the constitution, but has evolved as a political convention.

Semi-presidential systems are sometimes characterized by periods of tense cohabitation, in which the prime minister and president are elected separately, and often from rival parties. This can create an effective system of checks and balances or a period of bitter stonewalling, depending on the attitudes of the two leaders, the ideologies of their parties, or the demands of their constituencies.

Some current nations that feature semi-presidential systems include: