Presentation: "Post-Soviet Super-Presidentialism"

2-4 February 2018

In February 2018, Associate Professor and Co-Convenor of ConTransNet, Will Partlett traveled to Moscow to deliver a paper entitled “Post-Soviet Super-Presidentialism.”

Will's paper examines an undertheorized, fourth type of formal constitutional design found in many of the former Soviet states: Super-presidentialism. It describes how many post-Soviet super-presidential constitutions are analytically distinct from both presidential and semi-presidential ones.  First, these constitutions are not semi-presidential because they give the president unilateral control over the executive branch government. Second, these constitutions do not fit with a presidential model because they give the president significant power to control (and in many cases dismiss or appoint) the legislative branch.

Underlying super-presidentialism, therefore, is a belief that a formal constitutional structure in which an elected president has formal constitutional authority to unite and coordinate the state is necessary for carrying out radical reforms. Super-presidentialism therefore rejects the concept of divided government underpinning the three well-known systems of constitutional government (presidentialism, semi-presidentialism, and parliamentarism).