Presidential power scores – ordinal rankings vs. continuous measures

Over at the Presidential Power blog, David Doyle and I have reported a set of presidential power scores. These scores provide a continuous measure of the power of directly and indirectly presidents on a range from 0 (weak) to 1 (strong).

Scores for almost all semi-presidential countries are included. You can see how there is great variation in the presidential power scores across the set of countries with a semi-presidential constitution. For example, you can see how Austria and Iceland are constitutionally president-parliamentary, but have very low presidential power scores. You can also see that some parliamentary regimes with indirectly elected presidents have higher presidential power scores than some semi-presidential regimes with directly elected presidents.

This confirms the idea that the definition of regime types is first and foremost a taxonomical exercise. We can systematically capture differences between regime types by referring solely to the combination of a very small number of constitutional provisions. However, presidential power in practice depends on more than this combination of factors. So, while regimes types may provide a basic ordinal ranking of the relative strength of presidents – presidential and president-parliamentary countries do indeed tend to have stronger presidents than premier-presidential countries, which, in turn, do indeed tend to have stronger presidents than parliamentary countries – this ranking masks considerable variation in presidential power within each regime type.

So, if you wish to examine empirically the impact of presidential power on some or other outcome, then you have to make a decision. Is it better to test for the effect of regime types in the knowledge that this is operationalising a taxonomy that captures a fairly crude ordinal ranking of presidential power but that still might allow you to say something about the effect of presidentialism and president-parliamentarism relative to premier-presidentialism etc, or is it better to test for the effect of presidential power scores that capture such power continuously and in a much more fine-grained way, but that doesn’t allow you to say anything about regime types? It depends on your theory, I suppose.

If you do choose to to test for the effect of continuous presidential power scores, then we recommend that you use the scores in Doyle and Elgie.

General information

Since the switch to the new blog, Presidential Power, I am not updating this blog with information about semi-presidential countries. However, to facilitate visitors who want to find general information about semi-presidentialism very quickly, here are the links to the most frequently viewed posts on this blog.

List of current semi-presidential countries

List of historic semi-presidential countries

List of president-parliamentary and premier-presidential semi-presidential countries

List of presidential and parliamentary countries

Semi-presidentialism in disputed area or territories (current and historic)

List of periods of cohabitation


Visitors might also be interested in the following series of posts. Please just follow the thread on the archives.

When was the first reference to semi-presidentialism?

What was the first semi-presidential country?

Some difficult cases of semi-presidentialism

List of cohabitations

Here are links to a series of posts that record the cases of cohabitation in countries with semi-presidential constitutions. Cohabitation is defined as the situation where the president and prime minister are from different parties and where the president’s party is not represented in the cabinet. Presidents classed as non-party cannot generate any periods of cohabitation. Some difficult classification cases can be found here.


1.) April 1966-April 1970:

President – Franz Jonas (SPÖ); PM – Josef Klaus (ÖVP); government – ÖVP

2.) Jul 1986-Jan 1987:

President – Kurt Waldheim (ÖVP); PM – Franz Vranitzky (SPÖ); government – SPÖ, FPÖ

3.) July 2004-Jan 2007

President – Heinz Fischer (SPÖ); PM – Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP); government – ÖVP, FPÖ/BZÖ



1.) January 1995 – February 1997:

President – Zhelyu Zhelev (SDS); PM – Zhan Vasilev Videnov (BSP); government – BSP, BZnS(AS), DE

2.) July 2001 – January 2002

President – Petur Stoyanov (SDS); PM – Simeon Borisov Sakskoburggotski (NDSV); government – NDSV, DPS

3.) January 2002 – August 2005:

President – Georgi Sedefchov Purvanov (BSP); PM – Simeon Borisov Sakskoburggotski (NDSV); government – NDSV, DPS

4.) July 2009 – January 2012

President – Georgi Sedefchov Purvanov (BSP); PM – Boyko Borisov (GERB); government – GERB (minority)


Cape Verde

September 2011 –

President – Jorge Carlos de Almeida Fonseca (MPD); PM – José Maria Pereira Neves (PAICV); government – PAICV

Technically, there was also a very brief period of cohabitation from 1 Feb 2001 to 22 Mar 2001. On 1 February, José Maria Neves of the PAICV took up the post of PM, but the outgoing MPD President António Mascarenhas Monteiro did not leave office until 22 March.



February 2010 – December 2011

President – Ivo Josipović (SDP); PM – Jadranka Kosor (HDZ); Coalition – HDZ, HSS, HSLS, SDSS


See also this post


Czech Republic

March 2013 – July 2013

President – Miloš Zeman (Party of Civic Rights – Zeman’s people, SPOZ); PM – Petr Nečas (Civic Democratic Party, ODS); Coalition – ODS, TOP 09, LIDEM



1.) December 1926 – December 1927

President – Lauri Kristian Relander (ML); PM – Väinö Alfred Tanner (SDP); Government – SDP

2.) December 1928 – August 1929

President – Lauri Kristian Relander (ML); PM – Oskari Mantere (ED); Government – ED, KOK

3.) March 1946 – July 1948

President – Juho Kusti Paasikivi (KOK); PM – Mauno Pekkala (SKDL); Government – SKDL, SFP, ML, SDP

4.) July 1948 – March 1950

President – Juho Kusti Paasikivi (KOK); PM – Karl August Fagerholm (SDP); Government – SDP

5.) March 1950 – November 1953

President – Juho Kusti Paasikivi (KOK); PM – Urho Kekkonen (ML); Government – ML, ED (until Sep 1951), SFP, SDP (Jan 1951-July 1953)

6.) May 1954 – October 1954

President – Juho Kusti Paasikivi (KOK); PM – Ralf Johan Gustaf Törngren (SDP); Government – SFP, SDP, ML

7.) October 1954 – February 1956

President – Juho Kusti Paasikivi (KOK); PM – Urho Kekkonen (ML); Government – ML, SDP

8.) February 1972 – September 1972

President – Urho Kekkonen (ML/KESK); PM – Kustaa Rafael Paasio (SDP); Government – SDP

9.) April 1991 – March 1994

President – Mauno Henrik Koivisto (SDP); PM – Esko Tapani Aho (KESK); Government – KESK, KOK, RKP/SFP, SKL

10.) March 1994 – April 1995

President – Martti Ahtisaari (SDP); PM – Esko Tapani Aho (KESK); Government – KESK, KOK, RKP/SFP, SKL (to June 1994)

11.) April 2007 – June 2011

President – Tarja Kaarina Halonen (SDP); PM – Matti Taneli Vanhanen (KESK); Government – KESK, RKP/SFP, VIHR



1.) March 1986 – May 1988

President – François Mitterrand (socialists); PM – Jacques Chirac (RPR); government – RPR, UDF

2.) March 1993 – May 1995

President – François Mitterrand (socialists); PM – Edouard Balladur (RPR); government – RPR, UDF

3.) June 1997 – May 2002

President – Jacques Chirac (RPR); PM – Lionel Jospin (socialists); government – socialists, communists, greens, left-radicals, citizens’ movement



October 2012-November 2013

President – Mikheil Saakashvili (United National Movement – UNM); PM – Bidzina Ivanishvili (Georgian Dream); Coalition – Georgian Dream


Germany (Weimar)

1.) June 1920 – May 1921

President – Friedrich Ebert (SPD); PM – Konstantin Fehrenbach (Z); Government – Z, DPP, DVP

2.) November 1923 – May 1925

President – Friedrich Ebert (SPD); PM – Wilhelm Marx (Z); Government – Z, DDP, DVP, BVP (until June 1924)


22 Nov 1922 – 13 Aug 1923

President – Friedrich Ebert (SPD); PM – Wilhelm Cuno (non-party); Government – technocrats plus Z, DPP, DVP



1.) August 1952 – September 1953

President – Ásgeir Ásgeirsson (AF, Social Democrats); PM – Steingrímur Steinthórsson (FSF, Progressive party); Coalition – FSF (Progressive party), SSF (Independence Party)

2.) September 1953 – July 1956

President – Ásgeir Ásgeirsson (AF, Social Democrats); PM – Ólafur Thors (SSF, Independence Party); ; Coalition – FSF (Progressive party), SSF (Independence Party)

3.) August 1996 – 1998

President – Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson (AP, People’s Alliance/SFK, Social Democratic Alliance); PM – Davíd Oddsson (SSF, Independence Party); Coalition – FSF (Progressive party), SSF (Independence Party)



1.) February 1948 – June 1951

President – Sean T. O’Kelly (FF); PM – John A. Costello (FG); Coalition – FG, Labour, National Labour, Clann na Poblachta, Clann na Talmhan

2.) June 1954 – March 1957

President – Sean T. O’Kelly (FF); PM – John A. Costello (FG); Coalition – FG, Labour, Clann na Talmhan

3.) March 1973 – July 1977

Presidents – Erskine Childers (June 1973-Nov 1974), Cearbhall O Dalaigh (Dec 1974-Oct 1976), Patrick Hillery (from Dec 1976) all FF; PM – Liam Cosgrave (FG); Coalition – FG, Labour

4.) June 1981 – March 1982

President – Patrick Hillery (FF); PM – Garret FitzGerald (FG); Coalition – FG, Labour

5.) December 1982 – March 1987

President – Patrick Hillery (FF); PM – Garret FitzGerald (FG); Coalition – FG, Labour

6.) December 1990 – February 1992

President – Mary Robinson (Lab); PM – Charles J. Haughey (FF); Coalition – FF, PD

7.) February 1992 – January 1993

President – Mary Robinson (Lab); PM – Albert Reynolds (FF); Coalition – FF, PD

8.) June 1997 – September 1997

President – Mary Robinson (Lab); PM – Bertie Ahern (FF); Coalition – FF, PD

9.) March 2011 – November 2011

President – Mary McAleese (FF); PM – Enda Kenny (FG); Coalition – FG, Labour



1.) November 1996 – February 1998

President – Algirdas Brazauskas (LDDP); PM – Gediminas Vagnorius (TS-LK): Coalition – TS-LK, LKDP, LCS

2.) February 2003 – April 2004

President – Rolandas Paksas (LLS/LLP); PM – Algirdas Brazauskas (LSDP); Coalition – LSDP, LDDP (merged with LSDP), LRS (part of Brazauskas electoral coalition), NU-SL



1.) November 2002 – May 2004

President – Boris Trajkovski (VMRO-DPMNE); PM – Branko Crvenkovski (SDSM/ZMZ): Coalition – SDSM/ZMZ, DUI

2.) August 2006 – April 2009

President – Branko Crvenkovski (SDSM/ZMZ); PM – Nikola Gruevski (VMRO-DPMNE); Coalition – Until July 2008 VMRO-DPMNE, DPA, NSDP, DOM; From July 2008-; VMRO-DPMNE, DUI



1.) June 1993 – July 1996

President – Punsalmaagiyn Ochirbat (MUAN/MNDP); PM – Puntsagiyn Jasray (MAKN/MPRP): Government – MAKN/MPRP

2.) June 1997 – April 1998

President – Natsagiyn Bagabandi (MAKN/MPRP); PM – Mendsaikhany Enkhsaikhan (MUAN/MNDP); Coalition – MUAN/MNDP and DU (MSDN/MSDP)

3.) April 1998 – December 1998

President – Natsagiyn Bagabandi (MAKN/MPRP); PM – Tsakhiagiyn Elbegdorj (MUAN/MNDP); Coalition – MUAN/MNDP and DU (MSDN/MSDP)

4.) December 1998 – July 1999

President – Natsagiyn Bagabandi (MAKN/MPRP); PM – Janlavyn Narantsatsralt (MUAN/MNDP); Coalition – MUAN/MNDP and DU (MSDN/MSDP)

5.) July 1999 – July 2000

President – Natsagiyn Bagabandi (MAKN/MPRP); PM – Rinchinnyamyn Amarjargal (MUAN/MNDP); Coalition – MUAN/MNDP and DU (MSDN/MSDP)



February 1995 – January 1996

President – Mahamane Ousmane (CDS); PM – Hama Amadou (MNSD): Government – MNSD, PNDS



1.) December 1991 – Jun 1992

President – Lech Wałęsa (NSZZ); PM – Jan Olszewski (PC); Government – PC, ZChN, PL

2.) June 1992 – July 1992

President – Lech Wałęsa (NSZZ); PM – Waldemar Pawlak (PSL); Government – PSL, PC, ZChN

3.) July 1992 – October 1993

President – Lech Wałęsa (NSZZ); PM – Hanna Suchocka (UD); Government – UD, KLD, ZChN, PChD, SL-Ch, PPG, PL

4.) October1993 – March 1995

President – Lech Wałęsa (NSZZ); PM – Waldemar Pawlak (PSL); Government – SLD, PSL

5.) March 1995 – December 1995

President – Lech Wałęsa (NSZZ); PM – Józef Oleksy (SdRP/SLD); Government – SLD, PSL

6.) October 1997 – October 2001

President – Aleksander Kwaśniewski (SdRP/SLD); PM – Jerzy Karol Buzek (AWS); Government – AWS, UW (to June 2000)

7.) November 2007 – April 2010

Lech Aleksander Kaczyński (PiS); PM – Donald Tusk (PO); Government – PO, PSL



1.) March 1986 – October 1995

President – Mário Soares (PS); PM – Aníbal Cavaco Silva (PSD); Government – PSD

2.) April 2002 – July 2004

President – Jorge Sampaio (PS); PM – José Manuel Barroso (PSD); Government – PSD, CDS-PP

3.) July 2004 – March 2005

President – Jorge Sampaio (PS); PM – Pedro Miguel Lopes (PSD); Government – PSD, CDS-PP

4.) March 2006 – June 2011

President – Aníbal Cavaco Silva (PSD); José Sócrates (PS); Government – PS



1.) April 2007- December 2008

President – Traian Băsescu (PD/PD-L); PM – Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu (PNL); Coalition – PNL, UDMR

2.) May 2012-

President – Traian Băsescu (PD/PD-L); PM – Victor Ponta (PSD); Coalition – PSD, PNL until March 2014, then PSD, UDMR


São Tomé e Príncipe

1.) October 1994 – December 1995

President – Miguel Trovoada (ADI); PM – Carlos da Graça (MLSTP-PSD); Coalition – MLSTP-PSD, PCD

2.) December 1995 – November 1996

President – Miguel Trovoada (ADI); PM – Armindo Vaz d’Almeida (MLSTP-PSD); Coalition – MLSTP-PSD, PCD

3.) November 1996 – January 1999

President – Miguel Trovoada (ADI); PM – Raul Bragança Neto (MLSTP-PSD); Coalition – MLSTP-PSD, PCD

4.) January 1999 – September 2001

President – Miguel Trovoada (ADI); PM – Guilherme Posser de Costa (MLSTP-PSD); Coalition – MLSTP-PSD

5.) March 2004 – September 2004

President – Fradique de Menezes (MDFM-PL); PM – Maria das Neves Ceita Baptista de Sousa (MLSTP-PSD); MLSTP-PSD, Ue-K (inc ADI)

6.) September 2004 – Jun 2005

President – Fradique de Menezes (MDFM-PL); PM – Damião Vaz d’Almeida (MLSTP-PSD); Coalition – MLSTP-PSD, ADI

7.) January 2010 – August 2010

President – Fradique de Menezes (MDFM-PL); PM – Joaquim Rafael Branco (MLSTP-PSD); Coalition – MLSTP-PSD, PCD

8.) August 2010 – September 2011

President – Fradique de Menezes (MDFM-PL); PM – Patrice Trovoada (ADI); Government – ADI



November 2006 – May 2007

President – Boris Tadić (DS); PM – Vojislav Koštunica (DSS); Government – DSS, G17+, SPO, and NS



See this post



1.) December 2004 – January 2006

President – Janez Drnovšek (LDS); PM – Janez Janša (SDS); Coalition – SDS, NSi, SLS, DeSUS

2.) December 2012 – March 2013

President – Borut Pahor (SD); PM – Janez Janša (SDS); Coalition – SDS, NSi, SLS, DeSUS, LGV


Sri Lanka

1.) August 1994 – November 1994

President – Dingiri Banda Wijetunge (EJP); PM – Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (SLMP/SLNP); Government – SLMP/SLNP

2.) December 2001 – April 2004

President – Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (SLMP/SLNP); PM – Ranil Wickremasinghe (EJP); Gove

Semi-presidentialism in disputed area or territories (current and historic)

Adygea, Bashkortostan, Chechnya, Sakha – Yakutia, Tatarstan, Tuva (all Russia)

Anjouan (Comoros)

Crimea (Ukraine)

Kurdistan Region (Iraq)

Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan)

Palestinian National Authority

Republika Srpska (Bosnia and Herzogovina)

South Ossetia (Georgia)

Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (Cyprus)

Zanzibar (Tanzania)

New Blog – Presidential Power

I would like to invite you to visit my new blog, Presidential Power. This is a blog about presidents and presidential activity across the world. If you like The Semi-Presidential One, then you will like the new blog even more.

Presidential Power is a collaborative project. I have set it up with a number of great colleagues. Whereas this blog followed presidential politics in semi-presidential countries only. The new blog covers presidents around the world, thanks to the local knowledge of the various contributors.

Presidential Power has a presence on Facebook and also on Twitter. I would invite you to ‘like’ the Facebook page and to please follow us on Twitter.

The Semi-Presidential One will continue in three ways. First, the archives of past posts will still be available. Second, I will continue to update certain basic posts, such as the list of semi-presidential countries, periods of cohabitation, etc. However, I will not be posting news about individual countries any more. Third, I will use the post to publicise my own work and to discuss any other matters that don’t necessarily fit the Presidential Power blog.

I would still encourage you to continue to bookmark The Semi-Presidential One and to keep coming back. However, there will be less activity here now as attention switches to the new blog. So, while this isn’t a goodbye, I would nonetheless like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has visited the site over the nearly six years that it has been active.

Thank you and over to the new blog where regular posting will begin on Monday.

New Publications

Lydia M. Beuman, ‘Cohabitation in New Post-Conflict Democracies: The Case of Timor-Leste’, in Parliamentary Affairs Advance Access published August 13, 2013.

Parliamentary Affairs, vol. 66, no. 3, There is a debate on the concept of presidentialisation that is really interesting.

John Coakley, Reforming political institutions: Ireland in comparative perspective, Dublin: Institute of Public Administration, 2013 (chapter on presidents).

Frank R. Baumgartner, Sylvain Brouard, Emiliano Grossman, Sebastien G. Lazardeux, Jonathan Mood, ‘Divided Government, Legislative Productivity, and Policy Change in the USA and France’, Governance, early view.

J. L. Black and Michael Johns (eds.), Russia After 2012. From Putin to Medvedev to Putin – Continuity, Change, or Revolution?, London: Routledge, 2013.

Emőd Veress, ‘Improving the State: Critical Remarks on a Constitutional Reform Foretold’, Romanian Journal of Comparative Law, 2012, Vol. III, Number 2, 261-274.

Barry Levitt, Power in the balance: Presidents, parties and legislatures in Peru and beyond, 2012, Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

Sheila Perry and Paul Smith (eds.), Vivement dimanche – Media, Politics and France’s Electoral Year 2011-12, Nottingham French Studies, Volume 52.2 Summer 2013. Special issue with lots of topics to do with last year’s elections.

Susanna D. Wing, ‘Briefing. Mali: Politics of a Crisis’, African Affairs, vol. 112, pp. 476-485.

John Fitzgibbon, ‘Referendum Briefing: The Referendum On The Intergovernmental Treaty On Stability, Coordination And Governance In The Economic And Monetary Union In Ireland, 31 May 2012’, Representation, vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 229-239, 2013.

TRNC – New government, cohabitation continues

In Northern Cyprus, a new government has been formed.

The snap parliamentary election was held on 28 July. Finally, a coalition has been agreed. It is a two-party coalition comprising the largest party after the election, Republican Turkish Party or CTP, and the third largest party, the Democratic Party. According to BRT, the government will face an investiture vote on Friday. In theory, the government has a large majority in parliament.

One consequence of the new government is that the period of cohabitation will continue. President Derviş Eroğlu represents the National Unity Party or UBP. The UBP came second at the election, but is not represented in government.

Burkina Faso – Senate controversy prompts reassessment

Guest post by Sophia Moestrup

In response to the controversy surrounding the newly created Senate, President Blaise Compaoré on Monday ordered his government to assess the ‘process of operationalizing the Senate.’ He specifically requested that a report with ‘recommendations and suggestions’ be submitted to him by August 31, in the spirit of strengthening social cohesion and stability. Read the president’s full statement here.

The statement is being interpreted differently by observers. Some see it as a statesman’s call for dialogue with the opposition. Others as evidence of the president’s backpedalling following large-scale demonstrations by the opposition. And some as a tactical move to delay the process, waiting for heads to cool. The opposition claims the Senate will be costly, adds little to the functioning of democratic institutions, and that its primary purpose is to provide Compaoré with a tool for eliminating constitutional term-limits for the president. Compaoré’s term ends in 2015 and he is not eligible for another term, according to Article 37 in the constitution. The presidential camp, on the other hand, claims that the Senate will complete the country’s democratic architecture by strengthening decentralization through the representation of the regions, traditional and religious leaders and civil society.

The Senate controversy is an indication that the race for 2015 is already on.

Mali – Presidential election 2nd round

Guest post from Sophia Moestrup

Mali has a new president – Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta, also known as IBK. IBK, a former prime minister under Alpha Konaré, won Sunday’s run-off election against contender Soumaila Cissé, a former finance minister who served under IBK. Though official results are yet to be published, Cissé conceded defeat Monday evening and visited IBK with his family to congratulate him, a widely applauded gesture. Cissé has vowed he will remain in the opposition and is strongly positioned to become the leader of that opposition following legislative elections scheduled to take place this fall. This is good news for a country that has suffered under a steady weakening of political parties, debate and oversight under the ‘consensus’ politics of former president Amadou Toumani Touré (ATT) who was toppled in last year’s coup.

IBK and Cissé are both former leaders within Konaré’s Alliance for Democracy in Mali (ADEMA) party, who went on to create their own parties, the Rally for Mali (RPM) and the Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD), respectively, following disagreements within ADEMA. The ADEMA candidate in these past elections, Dramane Dembélé, backed IBK in the second round, though his party backed Cissé, following a pre-election agreement. It will be interesting to see how coalitions form in the new legislature. ADEMA and URD together had a slim majority in the National Assembly elected in 2007 (which was maintained as an interim legislature following the coup) – 85 out of 160 seats. Could Mali be headed for a cohabitation?

Mali- Presidential election

The presidential election in Mali was held at the weekend. This was the first presidential election since the coup last year. The coup itself was precipitated by the presidential that was meant to be held then.

Since the coup, there was the AQMI conflict in the north of the country. This has now largely been put down thanks to international intervention. Thanks also to international pressure the coup leaders stepped down and the constitution was restored. So, even if Mali is still in a precarious state, the presidential election was able to go ahead in good order.

The results have just been announced. They are:

  • Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta – 39.24%
  • Soumaïla Cissé – 19.44%
  • Dramane Dembélé – 9.59%
  • Modibo Sidibé – 4.87%
  • Housseini Amion Guindo – 4.63%

No other candidate, and there were 24 others, won more than 2.5 per cent. Turnout was 51.54 per cent.

So, there will be a second round on 11 August. The favourite is probably still former PM and speaker of the National Assembly, Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta (IBK).