[DRAFT: Prepared for use in the MAGISTERIUM ENCYCLOPEDIA, Moscow, Russia. Comments are invited. Citations will be added later.]
There are two basic models for democratic constitutional governments, presidentialist and parliamentarist: their origins and capabilities are considered here, with a focus on the costs of presidentialism and the role of their legislatures. Both types of democracy have powerful elected assemblies whose members have won their seats through genuinely competitive elections. By contrast, weak assemblies can be found in single-party constitutional systems: without electoral competition, the ruling party controls the votes of their members and names the formal officials of government, such as president and prime minister, which the assembly passively ratifies. There are also traditional monarchic regimes dominated by a hereditary ruler and unconstitutional regimes ruled by military dictators, both of which sometimes have weak appointed or elective assemblies.
Regimes are sometimes transformed, more or less rapidly -- i.e. by evolution or revolution -- from one of these forms to another. Here I shall limit my remarks to the processes whereby constitutional democracies are born and survive, stressing the conditions needed to prevent their collapse in response to a military coup d'etat or revolutionary violence, or because of civil wars intended to partition a country and create a new state.
Constitutional democracies are a modern phenomenon dating from the late 18th century -- with the French, American and British examples as prototypes that established models which greatly influenced later transformations. The single-party regime was born with the Russian Revolution in 1917 and it attracted many followers, including the surviving Communist Party regimes that still exist despite the collapse of the U.S.S.R.
Two patterns of democratic regime formation led by bourgeois (capitalist) forces can be distinguished and they created the two contrasting models: revolutionary movements against monarchies, prior to 1917, led almost always to the creation of presidentialist regimes and evolutionary movements produced parliamentary systems by eroding monarchic powers. The complex series of events in Russia during 1917 might have generated a parliamentary system but the war with Germany proved so disruptive that it provided conditions which enabled the Bolsheviks, under Lenin's leadership, to establish the first single-party dictatorship (in the name of the proletariat). Comparisons with the dynamics and performance of single-party authoritarian regimes are most interesting but cannot be discussed here.
The main difference between the revolutionary and evolutionary scenarios arises from the fate of kings: when new states seceded from or overthrew a king, they elected presidents to take their place, thereby founding presidentialist regimes; but when pro-democratic forces were able to induce kings to make concessions that empowered an elected parliament, governments increasingly responsible to these assemblies evolved into constitutional monarchies with a parliamentary form of government. No doubt in their subsequent development, the sharp distinctions that were generated by their contrasting histories became blurred, especially when some constitutional monarchs were replaced by elected presidents. The contemporary tendency to view these two types of democracy as essentially similar and not significantly different from each other is, I believe, quite misleading.
When decolonization, in recent decades, produced successor states on the ashes of collapsed empires, these states normally copied the constitutional design of their former imperial masters, but when these systems did not work out very well, they were often succeeded by military dictatorships. Subsequently, when military rule collapsed, as it typically does, pre-existing democratic rules were usually restored. However, in a few cases, previously parliamentary systems were replaced by presidentialist ones -- Nigeria is perhaps the most familiar case. A shift from presidentialism to parliamentarism seems almost never to have succeeded although it has often been proposed.
When single-party dictatorships collapse, however, there is no clear pattern to determine which of the two forms of competitive democracy will be created -- and it is also conceivable that a new kind of single-party regime or military dictatorship will emerge. One may hope, however, that imaginative leaders of a new state, taking into account the accumulated experience of other countries, will creatively imagine and construct a new kind of democratic system, one designed to meet their own unique needs and to accommodate the forces of their own history and culture. Nevertheless, the history of other countries is instructive and can provide some useful guidelines, some do's and don'ts that ought, I think, to be considered by those responsible for shaping any new forms of governance.
When there is widespread agreement in a new state or country that a democracy in which rulers negotiate with their opponents and respond to the needs of all their citizens will provide a more satisfactory form of government than one based on the centralized authority of a monolithic party or a military group, then one needs to ask how such a government can be organized. In all cases, I believe, the key is to be found in the power of an elected assembly. When such an assembly is powerful enough, it can both hold the government accountable and also represent the interests of the citizens who elect its members.
This involves two reciprocally interdependent conditions. First, to hold a government accountable, the assembly must have independent power -- it cannot be a mere puppet or rubber stamp of authoritarian rulers. We can readily identify pseudo democracies in which there are, indeed, elected assemblies but they are powerless. It is not enough, therefore, to establish an elected assembly -- in addition, that assembly must exercise real power.
Second, an elected assembly cannot speak for a people unless all citizens are somehow represented through the electoral process. Some powerful assemblies only represent a fraction of the population -- they are oligarchic and limit the scope of democratic governance. To be genuinely democratic, therefore, regimes need to have elected assemblies that are both powerful and broadly representative.
Assembly Power. In general, two different reasons can be found for the existence of powerless elected assemblies -- one is external and the other internal. The external reasons involve the relationships that prevail between an assembly and other centers of political power. When the rule of law prevails and legislators feel safe, even when voting against the preferences of ruling groups, then legislatures can exercise genuine power -- their decisions count. However, whenever an autocratic military group or absolutist monarchy runs a country, it can dominate the legislature simply by threatening or killing those who refuse to support the regime.
A dominant single-party government can also control legislative votes by internal means, using its partisan authority. Even if a few assembly seats are held by members of opposition parties, the dominant party can determine the votes of its own members -- typically, control over the nominating process permits a ruling party to exclude candidates who are unwilling to follow the preferences of the party leaders.
This means that the only guarantee of genuine power for any assembly rests on the presence of a genuine opposition. Although such an opposition normally involves rival political parties, I believe competing factions within a hegemonic party may have the same effect -- if intra-party dissidents are able to vote freely against the government's policies, the assembly can still exercise real power. The point is that uncertainty of outcomes compels a government to respect the opinions of legislators and rely on persuasion rather than compulsion to obtain majority support for its policies. Since brutality repels, undue pressure on legislators in a powerful assembly drives many of them into opposition. Rulers confronting such an assembly must, therefore, rely on persuasion and negotiation to gain support for their policies.
The easiest and most reliable means to protect dissidents in an elected assembly and, thereby, to assure its political potency, is to permit rival parties to compete for votes. No doubt cultural, legal and, above all, constitutional safeguards are needed to protect the rights of opposition parties -- provided the legislature is strong enough to uphold such rules. This sounds paradoxically circuitous since, clearly, a puppet legislature cannot protect candidates of an opposition party if the government wishes to suppress them.
However, when a legislature does have real power, its members will want to preserve that power by doing whatever they can to avoid becoming a puppet assembly. I think we can assume that no legislature will consciously agree to become a mere pawn whose vote can be controlled by someone else and whose political influence, therefore, becomes minimal. No doubt members of a puppet assembly do enjoy some other perquisites of office -- a chance to live in the capital city and to meet celebrities, etc. -- but my assumption is that having real power and influence in a country's political system outweighs other incentives in the minds of legislators. When a new assembly is established by members who have been elected in competition with party rivals, they start with power in their hands. But do they understand that competition among parties is needed for them to retain that power?
Members of an unrepresentative but powerful assembly may want to limit the number of people who vote -- it makes life easier for them and keeps some dangerous issues off the agenda. However, competition between parties can generate increased representativeness whenever one of these parties sees an opportunity to expand its power thereby. New parties seeking entrance to the political arena also generate pressures for broader representation. In the long run, therefore, competing parties not only enhance legislative power but they also tend to expand the representativeness of an assembly.
Among all the institutions of modern governance, however, only elected assemblies -- whether narrowly or broadly based -- have a built-in reason for protecting the right of dissenters to protest government policy. Other institutions, including those composed of top elites and bureaucratic subordinates, are likely to see opponents as enemies or even as a nuisance, but they have no reason, I think, to see any personal advantages for themselves in tolerating opponents. Normally, those already in power think they can do better than their rivals and would rather suppress them than allow them to gain power.
Courts of law are in a slightly more ambivalent situation. So long as the government supports constitutional and legal safeguards that protect the rights of political opponents, judges have good reason to sustain those rights, not only as a matter of justice and fair play but because their own security in office depends on them -- enforcing the rule of law protects judges as well as political dissidents. However, when legislatures are weak and, therefore, cannot block government policies that suppress opposition, the prevailing legal and constitutional system may not protect opponents of the regime: if they can be imprisoned or executed with impunity, then all opponents of those in power can be suppressed and judges will have neither the ability nor an incentive to resist the will of the rulers.
My conclusion is that, without legislative power, open democratic government cannot be protected, and legislators ought to know (though many apparently do not realize it) that their own power hinges on their ability to protect critics of the regime -- a legislative majority that is unwilling to safeguard the rights of political opponents within the assembly cannot, ultimately, protect their own rights and power in the constitutional system.
When I say constitutional here I refer to the fundamental rules that govern the operations of any political system -- they are normally written into the text of a "charter" which prescribes what these rules should be, but we all know that there are democracies without formal charters ("unwritten constitutions") and there are many formalistic charters -- i.e. documents prescribing rules that are not implemented. The mere fact that a document promises civil rights, including the right to oppose a government's policies, by no means protects dissidents who lack powerful support within the regime: only a strong legislature, in my opinion, has both the incentives and the capacity to provide such support.
Linkages. This brings us to the question of how the Government is related to the Assembly. The most critical issue involves the ability of the Assembly to hold the Government accountable and to compel its resignation when fundamental objections are raised. No doubt this involves a balance between two opposite conditions, both of which can threaten the viability of constitutional democracy. The first possibility arises when the Government (as represented by its head, who may have quite different titles, e.g. President, Premier, Cabinet, or even King) is not in fact accountable to the Assembly and may, therefore, remain in office despite its opposition. Such chief executives are non-accountable.
By contrast, at the other extreme, an unruly Assembly that consistently refuses to support its Government can create chaos, leading to frequent crises, changing Governments and, eventually, the seizure of power by a party or military group convinced that the need for effective governance transcends the need to safeguard civil liberties and protect regime opponents. The problem, therefore, is one of balance -- how to optimize the likelihood that a regime will both be able to govern and also willing to respect the rights of its critics.
Both presidentialist and parliamentarist rules provide solutions that pull regimes toward the center and a balanced answer to these dangerous alternatives. However, presidentialist rules are more vulnerable to autarchy than parliamentarism by which I mean that, because of the fixed term of office given to elected Presidents, their ability to remain in office despite serious clashes with an Assembly can lead to escalating tensions and deadlock, perhaps finally to the seizure of power by the President or a Military Cabal, or some combination thereof.
On the other side, a grave risk for parliamentarism arises when too many parties in the Assembly generate unstable coalition Governments -- tough decisions on controversial issues typically lead to the defection of one or more party in such coalitions and, therefore, to a Cabinet crisis. The great danger in such regimes is not so much that of autocratic seizure of power -- although it can happen, as it did in Italy and Germany during the 1930s -- but rather the growing ineffectiveness of Government. An inability to make crucial decisions can lead to growing anarchy and political decline while important functions of government are simply not performed.
No doubt it is possible for both parliamentarist and presidentialist regimes to find a golden mean, formulas that enable them to survive by achieving a balance between these dangerous extremes. The United States provides the best and, I think, the only example of a long-term presidentialist regime. At least 30 other countries have, in the past, followed this model, mainly in the Western Hemisphere, and all of them have suffered at least on catastrophic breakdown in which both the constitutional Charter and the Congress were suspended. The U.S. has also experienced severe crises, notably during the Civil War, the Great Depression, two world wars and the Vietnam intervention. However, the regime survived these crises and the continuity of elections, both for the President and the Congress, were never broken -- the formal Constitution has continuously survived.
However, virtually all of the industrialized democracies except the U.S. have evolved into parliamentarist regimes. They manifest a wide range of variations and most of them have also learned how to avoid the dangers of political polarization caused by an undue proliferation of parties. The extreme solution is that of the British Westminster model in which single-member districts have prevented the proliferation of political parties. The French Fifth Republic, after the recurrent crises of the Fourth Republic, has developed something like a two-party presidentialist model, while retaining its fundamentally parliamentarist basis. Contemporary Germany has found a formula for retaining a fully parliamentarist system while limiting the number of parties in its Diet by putting a floor on the number of seats a party must win in order to be recognized. This rule has been widely admired and copied.
On a global basis, parliamentary regimes have demonstrated their capacity to outlive presidentialist systems. These facts are well established, but the reasons are not well understood. I'd like to speculate that, on the most fundamental problems confronting all modern societies, parliamentary constitutional structures are more likely to permit success than presidentialist ones. If this is true, would it not explain the higher survival rate of parliamentarist regimes? Admittedly, my opinions about these matters are unconventional and reflect no consensus among scholars or practitioners. American political scientists, quite understandably, almost always defend presidentialism as at least as desirable as parliamentarism. Nevertheless, for what they may be worth, I'd like to express my unorthodox opinions. If they are in error, I hope my critics will not just contradict me but will also explain why my views are wrong.
The Challenges. Two fundamentally non- political products of modernity that pose major problems for any democracy are economic and cultural: namely the demand for economic growth and industrialization and the question of nationalism and ethnic diversity. I say "non-political" although, of course, it is the political aspects of these questions that I will focus on. The two overtly political problems of modernity, by contrast, involve legitimacy and representativeness. The former affects the willingness of citizens to obey their government or provokes them to resist its laws and policies as oppressive and unjustifiable. The latter involves questions about who is represented, especially in the elected assembly and government. I shall say something about how each of these modern problems relates to constitutional design, starting with legitimacy.
Historically, the legitimacy of monarchies depended on beliefs in supernatural forces that could be influenced by royal ceremonies and rituals so as to bring peace, health and wealth to all the subjects of a king. At the same time, no doubt, monarchs had to govern and, at least minimally, to perform some of the functions of governance. The growing secularism of modernity undermined popular belief (especially among elites and the bourgeoisie) in the efficacy of kingship as a sacred institution, and the mounting burdens of modernity generated increasingly complex problems that monarchs could not cope with.
During the nineteenth century, kings were forced, step by step, to surrender power to elected assemblies and governments. The ability of these new governments to perform more effectively than monarchies will be discussed below under the headings of industrialism and nationalism, and I shall also discuss problems of representativeness. To start with, however, let me focus on the question of legitimacy.
The original problem of legitimacy involved finding an acceptable human substitute for the supernatural sources of monarchic legitimacy. Naively, many people think that can be done by electing a president who, as head of state, can perform the ceremonial and representative functions of a king. Unfortunately, no human being, as a human, can claim the supernatural powers that kings asserted by virtue of the religious rites and coronation ceremonies that were thought to transform a human being into a monarch with divine powers.
Of course, widespread acceptance of the divine right of kings had eroded long before their powers were reduced. Nevertheless, enough of the mystique of monarchism remained so that it was not easy to replace royal authority with the authority of an elected President. Although a head of state may be able to represent a whole people in its foreign relations, it is difficult to persuade any population that their president can really bring them the same benefits they expected to get from a king. Although truly charismatic leaders, especially the victors in revolutionary wars, may be said to lead a people, they could not truly legitimize a regime. More particularly, succeeding presidents are likely to be more controversial, to be viewed as representatives of certain classes, ethnic communities or political parties, or simply as undistinguished persons for whom there is neither love nor respect.
Instead of the head of state, I see the most potent institutional representative of a whole body of citizens as its elected assembly. In such an assembly, all significant components of a population can be represented and its decisions can be viewed as authoritative. This relationship is pretty well established in most parliamentarist regimes. I shall use the -ist ending to distinguish a constitutional system centered on its Parliament from the assembly (parliament) itself. Parliamentarist systems have parliaments and I use parliamentary only to refer to properties of the parliament in a parliamentarist system. Such an assembly may, of course, have other names such as Diet, Duma, Knesset, or Sejm. My point is that the authentic basis for legitimacy in parliamentarist regimes is located in its parliament.
The significance of this point becomes apparent only after relevant comparisons are made with the role of assemblies in presidentialist regimes. The separation-of-powers principle that arose because, historically, the King and Parliament became competing centers of power in the proto-democratic monarchies of the 18th century, means that Government lies outside of Congress in presidentialist systems. Consequently, the focus of legitimacy is always divided in these regimes between the President and Congress. Citizens of a presidentialist republic cannot accept Congress as their legitimate focus of loyalty because many of them think more highly of the President. Can one truly identify with a two-headed monster? Can one loyally serve two masters who often clash with each other? By contrast, in parliamentarist regimes, Parliament contains the government (the cabinet is, in fact, a committee of the parliament) and so the identity of Parliament as the focus of patriotic loyalty and the legitimacy of the regime is not compromised.
Because of the rule that cabinets can be discharged by a no-confidence vote, party loyalty is obligatory in parliamentarist systems -- normally it is enforced by giving parties the exclusive right to nominate and sponsor the election of their members in parliament. However, only some members of the ruling party(ies) can become cabinet members -- those not selected to join the Government may not vote against its policies, but they are free to criticize them, constituting its back benchers. Consequently, we see that members of ruling parties who support the Government's legislative proposals often become its harshest critics. The open debates in Parliament range from fundamental philosophical issues to specific details of public policy and administration. They are often fierce, creating dramatic confrontations that provoke widespread public interest. Far more than in presidentialist regimes, therefore, parliamentary debates enable representatives of diverse communities, classes, and ideological positions to be heard and to become widely visible. Even a bit of violence may enhance the theatrical effects that attract the attention of the mass media and the general public.
The anomaly of this, from a presidentialist point of view, is that despite the furor, the government can govern -- it can make decisions so long as it can command a majority vote. Parliaments, therefore, legitimize democratic governance on two levels: they are able to support more or less effectively fused cabinet government while, at the same time, serving as an open forum for debate on the many positions and issues supported by the people, in all their diversity.
The Congress in a presidentialist regime cannot perform either of these functions effectively. At the level of governance, internal cleavages in a Congress often block decision-making -- issues may long remain on its agenda without ever coming to a decisive vote. Although party discipline can evolve in a presidentialist regime -- Chile provides a good example -- more typically the lack of any structural incentive for party discipline means that disagreements between members of the same party in a presidentialist congress are normal and further hamper decision-making -- although they can prove advantageous when the president's party lacks a congressional majority and bargaining with individual members is possible. Even when one house supports a decision, the other house (in bi-cameral legislatures) may block it. Moreover, after Congress has, finally, reached a majority decision on some measure, the president may veto it. The path to effective decision-making in presidentialist regimes is, therefore, strewn with serious obstacles.
Because the agenda of any modern Congress must be vast -- by contrast, Parliaments have limited agendas since their members need only ratify or reject government policies, depending on their partisan commitments -- it is clearly impossible for any Congress to hold plenary session debates on all proposed legislation. Instead, it must select a few "hot" items to debate, and leave all the rest of its agenda to its committees and sub-committees. By endorsing most committee recommendations, a Congress can actually deal with a large agenda while debating, in plenary, only a few key issues. Because of the sub-governmental division of powers that this structure produces, most government policies are made by small elites, widely dispersed, often without much knowledge of what other sub-governments are doing, and certainly without much media attention or popular support.
The result of all this is, of course, that Congress becomes the object of widespread scorn -- it often cannot be decisive and much needed policies remain undecided. Moreover, Congressional debates are seen as divisive, unproductive and uninteresting, while most of what Congress actually does remains invisible. Above all, of course, even when Congress does make a law, the President can veto it, and many important presidential decisions are typically made without Congressional approval. Who, then, governs? That is a big question in all presidentialist regimes. It is much easier to point the finger and find the answer in parliamentarist regimes. The key focus of authority needed to establish a regime's legitimacy, therefore, can easily be found in Parliament in parliamentarist regimes, but it flounders around in any separation-of-powers presidentialist regime, leading many citizens to ask whether their government can really govern.
Bureaucracy. Add to these considerations the role of the bureaucracy. In most parliamentarist regimes a strong mandarin bureaucracy has become the anchor of the state. The model of a mandarin bureaucracy goes back two millennia -- at least, the earliest familiar prototype is that developed in ancient China. It has two philosophical foundations laid by Confucius and Han Fei-tzu -- the first is a household name in the West and the second is virtually unknown. The reason for this anomaly is fairly evident once one learns about Han and the Legist system. Han was a prime minister for the Chin Emperor who unified China more than two centuries before the Christian era. Han's philosophy was Legist, a term used to characterize the ideology of subsequent Chinese emperors -- it focussed on power and the institutional framework that could make imperial rule effective. Comparisons can easily be drawn with Machiavelli in the West and with Kautilya (the Arthasastra) in India. These writers all emphasized the fundamental structures of government, including an effective bureaucracy based on obedience to superiors and a commitment to enforce strict rules.
The complementary philosophy of Confucianism focused on the individual and his (Confucius was no feminist!) responsibilities -- especially the need for subordinates to defer to superiors and the hierarchic structure of all human relationships. This basic logic was accompanied by a strong commitment to moral values. Chinese emperors easily saw the utility of having government officials committed to Confucian values. By contrast, they feared that knowledge of Legism would produce dangerous thoughts in the minds of potential revolutionaries. Accordingly, Legist emperors promoted Confucianism as the basis for bureaucratic learning, but they secretly studied Legist principles in order to create a viable imperial state. In that state, all higher officials would be mandarins, well educated (indoctrinated) in Confucian principles, severely tested in a series of written examinations, and then appointed to rotating careers in various offices, both at the center and in the provinces, so that ultimately they could become reliable and effective administrators for the crown. Ambitious Chinese, recognizing bureaucratic careers as the best way to gain power, wealth and prestige, studied Confucius and even Western observers learned to honor and respect this great political philosopher and moralist. By contrast, they never heard of Legism and Han Fei-tzu -- nor have most of us to the present day.
When Europeans began to develop overseas empires they learned at first hand about the Chinese imperial mandarin system and quickly saw its advantages. The bureaucratic systems that had evolved in Western Europe were based on patronage -- kings appointed relatives and friends to handle governmental affairs, or they turned to clerics in the service of religious establishments to help them. Although such retainers -- as we may call patronage appointees who are able to keep their posts indefinitely -- could provide a modestly effective administration locally, they became unreliable at a distance, as rulers of conquered foreign domains. Their lack of relevant training and experience also disqualified them for dealing with the more problematic issues of modernity. European rulers, therefore, began to adopt the Chinese mandarin system to help them govern remote possessions, simply substituting western scholarship for the Confucian teachings. Eventually, they came to see that modern mandarins, recruited from graduates of the most prestigious universities and given long-term predictably attractive careers in government service could also become pillars of the state.
For the most part, European parliamentary governments were able, during the nineteenth century, to replace their traditional retainers with new-style mandarins and these mandarins, in contemporary parliamentarist governments, have become anchors of stability, even during times of frequent cabinet crises. Their ability to keep the government working and to build up complex networks of relations with each other -- and also with citizens, interest groups and the mass media -- have enabled them to generate public images of the Government as more solid and reliable, even, than the politicians who rotate through Parliament and the Cabinet. In a very real sense, therefore, mandarins have replaced the Kings whom they once served as the focus of legitimacy and state power in many modern democracies.
Bureau Power. Unfortunately for presidentialist democracies, however, mandarins cannot be trusted as public administrators simply because, if they were, they would soon become the dominant force in government. I cannot elaborate on this thesis but I have developed it elsewhere (citations). Both members of Congress and Presidents have recognized this reality, even though they scarcely ever talk about it -- instead, they rejected the mandarin principle as too "elitist" for their democracy. In fact, most presidentialist regimes continue to rely on retainers for their administrative systems, thereby giving the public a terrible impression of the incompetence and corruption typically associated with government. Without mandarins, therefore, public administration in all presidentialist regimes cannot cope efficiently with the modern problems generated by industrialism and nationalism. When most citizens in presidentialist regimes think of the State they react negatively, not only to the failures of the Congress/ Presidency syndrome, but also to the most visible exemplars of the state, its typically unattractive retainer bureaucrats who, instead of legitimizing the regime, do much to undermine and discredit it.
The United States can be viewed as an exception to this sweeping generalization. Although the U.S. never established mandarins as its prototype for public officials, it did appoint careerists to replace retainers. However, these functionists, as I call them, were not mandarins. They were not graduates of the most prestigious universities with degrees in the liberal arts -- instead, they had taken professional and vocational courses in public institutions scattered through all the states in order to qualify for specific posts rather than long-term careers as generalists. Moreover, in order to enable the elected politicians in Congress and the Presidency to maintain their control over the career bureaucracy, top level positions -- several thousand of them -- were kept under patronage and filled by "in- and-outers" whose loyalty to their political masters took priority over their professional competence even though, in many cases, they were indeed highly qualified and experienced persons. These transients are not retainers: consequently, since they do not expect to retain their positions when newly elected politicians come to power, they often think as much about what they will do after leaving government service as they do about their immediate responsibilities.
The important point to remember is that even though experienced and well qualified administrators in public offices can enhance the administrative effectiveness of a regime, they cannot effectively symbolize the state in its dealings with the public. Administrative technicians and transients are no substitute for mandarins as strong symbols of state authority and legitimacy. Indeed, quite paradoxically, contemporary American public opinion typically condemns bureaucrats and blames them for many of the difficulties they now experience in their relations with government.
If this is true in the U.S., how much more true must it be in other presidentialist regimes where most retainers have not yet been replaced by functionists, to say nothing of mandarins. To summarize, both the parliament and the bureaucracy in parliamentarist regimes have a greater capacity to legitimize governance and consolidate the authority of the State than have the divided organs of state power in presidentialist regimes, and the retainers and transients who continue to occupy bureaucratic offices in most of these regimes.
Continue to part II.
For fuller analysis see Presidentialism vs. Parliamentarism .