Measuring Presidential Power in Post-Communist Countries: Rectification of Mistakes1

Oleg Zaznaev


To this day, no adequate solution has been found for measuring the strength of executives in political science. Despite the widespread use of several methods for measuring presidential powers, critical investigation of these methods still needs to be conducted. The author analyzes methods that have been established by Shugart and Carey, by Frye, McGregor, Hellman, Krouwel, Siaroff, Johannsen and Nørgaard among others. When discussing mistakes in the measurement of presidential powers (e.g., where authors fail to consider the informal powers of presidents, where measurements are based on a constitution and not on political practice, and where authors do not differentiate between significant and insignificant powers), the author tries to remove some of the problems of measurement. He modifies Krouwel’s method based on measuring the presidential score and parliamentary score that allows us to “weigh” the presidential and parliamentary components of any form of government, whether presidential, parliamentary, or semi-presidential. He suggests a method of measuring based on the calculation of the index of the form of government (IFG), which is calculated by subtracting the parliamentary score from the presidential score. A positive IFG indicates the attraction of a system to presidentialism, and negative its shift to parliamentarism. This methodology is sensitive to post-communist realities and countries with informal politics. On calculating the IFG for the post-communist states, the author specifies clusters of such systems (presidentialized, balanced, parliamentarized) and shows the importance of measuring forms of government in contemporary political studies.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n1s1p443

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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