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The Presidentialization of PoliticsA Comparative Study of Modern Democracies$
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Thomas Poguntke and Paul Webb

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199252015

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199252017.001.0001

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The Presidentialization of Spanish Democracy: The Presidentialization of Spanish Democracy: Sources of Prime Ministerial Power in Sources of Prime Ministerial Power in Post‐Franco Spain

The Presidentialization of Spanish Democracy: The Presidentialization of Spanish Democracy: Sources of Prime Ministerial Power in Sources of Prime Ministerial Power in Post‐Franco Spain

Chapter:
(p.107) 5 The Presidentialization of Spanish Democracy: Sources of Prime Ministerial Power in Post‐Franco Spain
Source:
The Presidentialization of Politics
Author(s):

Ingrid van Biezen

Jonathan Hopkin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199252017.003.0005

Spain is a good example of a formally parliamentary regime subject to presidentializing pressures. This chapter examines the foundations of this presidentialization, focusing on three broad areas: the formal constitutional framework and other institutional features stemming from the nature of the Spanish transition to democracy, the internal dynamics of Spanish political parties, and the dynamics of electoral competition. It shows that there are clear tendencies towards presidentialization in the Spanish political system, but also countervailing factors that to some extent redress the balance. There is no clear evidence of a gradual presidentialization of Spanish democracy over the post-Franco period, and the status and autonomy of Prime Ministers have fluctuated over time with no clear pattern or direction. This suggests that the key to explaining the degree of presidentialization of Spanish democracy lies in intra- and inter-party dynamics, and in the characteristics of leaders themselves. In conclusion, Spain has strongly ‘presidential’ tendencies, but its constitutional arrangements can also accommodate the reassertion of parliamentary power. In this sense, it has become quite a flexible institutional arrangement where political authority can shift in line with the unpredictable evolution of party politics.

Keywords:   constitutional framework, democratic transition, electoral competition, internal party dynamics, presidentialization

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