Document Type


Publication Date

January 2009


Parliamentarism and presidentialism are commonly, and correctly, set in opposition as distinguishable systems of governance that exhibit distinguishable structural features. Yet the structural differences between them do not necessarily give rise to functional differences. Quite the contrary, the very structural features that allow us to distinguish between presidentialism and parliamentarism often conceal their functional similarities. In this Article, I demonstrate that conventional accounts of presidentialism and parliamentarism: (1) do not fully reflect how each system actually operates; and (2) obscure the substantial similarities between parliamentary and presidential systems.

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