Category Archives: Cohabitation

Cohabitation – Cape Verde

This is a series of posts that records 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.

Here is my list of cohabitations in 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.

Difficult cases of cohabitation – East Timor

In a previous series of posts I recorded 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.

One potential problem with this definition is that non-party presidents cannot generate any periods of cohabitation. The problem is that some nominally non-partisan presidents may actually be de facto partisans. If this is the case, then the cases of cohabitation may be underestimated.

This new series of posts discusses ‘difficult’ cases of cohabitation, meaning the situation where nominally non-partisan presidents are de facto partisans and where there are no other supporters of the president in the government.

For the record, I take party affiliation from worldstatesmen.org. To the best of my knowledge, there is no systematic error in the recording of non-partisanship there. Moreover, there is nothing in their recording of non-partisanship that allows a rule to be applied to these cases in order to identify ‘difficult’ cases of cohabitation. As a result, the determination of such cases has to be made on a case-by-case basis.

The first case is East Timor (Timor-Leste) and thanks to Ben Reilly for flagging this one.

In August 2001, FRETILIN won 55 of the 88 seats in the first East Timorese parliamentary election. In April 2002, Xanana Gusmão was elected as the first president of East Timor. Gusmão ran as an independent. Hence, he is classed as non-partisan. However, while his presidency was endorsed by a number of small parties, he was not supported by FRETILIN. Indeed, he had left FRETILIN in the 1980s. Moreover, in 2007 he formed a party, the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (Conselho Nacional de Reconstrução do Timor, CNRT) that competed against FRETILIN. Therefore, there are grounds for thinking of Gusmão as a de facto partisan.

In May 2002 the first constitutional government was formed with Mari Alkatiri of FRETILIN as prime minister. FRETILIN was the only party represented in the government. This government lasted until July 2006. If Gusmão is considered to be a de facto partisan and there was a FRETILIN government, then this might be a case of cohabitation. Indeed, Dennis Shoesmith (in Robert Elgie and Sophia Moestrup eds., Semi-presidentialism Outside Europe, 2007, p. 227) refers to a period of “conflictual cohabitation” during this time.

There is, though, a small fly in the ointment. From 2002-2006, there was at least one nominally non-partisan minister in the government, José Manuel Ramos-Horta. There is reason to believe that Gusmão and Ramos-Horta were allies of a sort. Ramos-Horta had also left FRETILIN, though in 1998. In 2006, he was appointed as prime minister of the second constitutional government by President Gusmão. In May 2007, Ramos-Horta was elected as president against the official FRETILIN candidate, though worldstatesmen.org records him as a non-party president. In August 2007 President Ramos-Horta appointed Gusmão as prime minister. If Ramos-Horta and Gusmão were allies, then the first constitutional government was not a period of cohabitation.

So, what should we conclude? Well, there are some grounds to identify the period from 2002-2006 as a period of de facto cohabitation. The case that Gusmão was a de facto partisan is quite strong. The case that Ramos-Horta was a de facto partisan and from the same party as Gusmão is less strong. If Gusmão was a de facto partisan and Ramos-Horta was non-partisan or a de facto partisan from a different party to Gusmão, then there was a period of de facto cohabitation.

As with any ‘difficult’ case of cohabitation, no definitive conclusion can be drawn. Indeed, this is why I believe it is better to define cohabitation systematically and in a way that allows periods of cohabitation to be identified reliably. However, this is definitely a difficult case.

Cohabitation – Croatia

This is a series of posts that records 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.

Here is the list for Croatia:

Feb 2010 – December 2011
President – Ivo Josipović (SDP); PM – Jadranka Kosor (HDZ); Coalition – HDZ, HSS, HSLS, SDSS

Party abbreviations:
HDZ – Hrvatska demokratska zajednica (Croatian Democratic Union)
HSLS – Hrvatska socijalno liberalna stranka (Croatian Social Liberal Party)
HSS – Hrvatska seljačka stranka (Croatian Peasant Party)
SDP – Socijaldemokratska partija Hrvatske (Social Democratic party)
SDSS – Samostalna demokratska srpska stranka (Independent Democratic Serbian Party)

Cohabitation – Serbia

This is a series of posts that records 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.

Here is the list of cohabitations in Serbia. The story is a little complicated.

On 3 June 2006 Montenegro declared independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. This left Serbia (and its various constituent parts, including Kosovo) alone in the Union. The State Union Constitution was parliamentary. (The text is available here). Within the State Union both Serbia and Montenegro had their own constitutions and both were semi-presidential. (A post will follow on another occasion). Following Montenegro’s departure, on 8 November 2006 Serbia adopted a new constitution, replacing the State Union document. This document is semi-presidential. So, as far as I understand, it Serbia, as a stand-alone country, comes into existence in November 2006.

Meanwhile, in March 2004, following the legislative elections in December 2003, Vojislav Koštunica from the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) had become prime minister heading a minority government, while in June 2004 Boris Tadić from the Democratic Party (DS) had been elected president. Thus, within Serbia under the State Union there was cohabitation from June 2004. When Serbia adopted its new constitution in late 2006 the period of cohabitation continued.

There was then a new legislative election in January 2007 and, in May 2007, Koštunica was returned as prime minister, but this time with a government that included the DS. So, cohabitation ended in May 2007.

The government details are taken from Daniel Bochsler, ‘The parliamentary election in Serbia, 21 January 2007’, Electoral Studies, vol. 27 (2008), 160-165.

So, here is the list of cohabitations in Serbia when the country a.) had a semi-presidential constitution and b.) when the State Union with Montenegro had ended:

Nov 2006 – May 2007
President – Boris Tadić (DS); PM – Vojislav Koštunica (DSS); Government – DSS, G17+, SPO, and NS

Party abbreviations:

DS – Demokratska stranka (Democratic Party)
DSS – Demokratska stranka Srbije (Democratic Party of Serbia)
G17+
NS – Nova Srbija (New Serbia)
SPO – Srpski pokret obnove (Serbian Renewal Movement)

Cohabitation – Sri Lanka

This is a series of posts that records 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.

Here is my list of cohabitations in Sri Lanka:

Aug 1994 – Nov 1994
President – Dingiri Banda Wijetunge (EJP); PM – Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (SLMP/SLNP); Government – SLMP/SLNP

Dec 2001 – Apr 2004
President – Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (SLMP/SLNP); PM – Ranil Wickremasinghe (EJP); Government – EJP

Party abbreviations:

EJP – Ekshat Jathika Pakshaya (United National Party)
SLMP – Sri Lanka Mahajana Pakshaya (Sri Lanka People’s Party)
SLNP – Sri Lanka Nidahas Pakshaya (Sri Lanka Freedom Party)

Source of affiliations:
http://www.worldstatesmen.org/Sri_Lanka.html

Cohabitation – Slovenia

This is a series of posts that records 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.

Here is my list of cohabitations in Slovenia:

Dec 2004 – Jan 2006
President – Janez Drnovšek (LDS); PM – Janez Janša (SDS); Coalition – SDS, NSi, SLS, DeSUS

Dec 2012 – March 2013
President – Borut Pahor (SD); PM – Janez Janša (SDS); Coalition – SDS, NSi, SLS, DeSUS, LGV

Like Slovakia, the first Slovenian case of cohabitation is a slightly difficult one. President Drnovšek was a member of the LDS party. However, according to Wikipedia, on January 30, 2006, he left the LDS and founded the Movement for Justice and Development. This was a civil society organisation. So, in effect, I assume Wikipedia is correct and I treat Drnovšek as non-partisan from this point. However, he remained in office until December 2007. So, the period of cohabitation could be extended to this point. There is some detail on the president’s involvement with the Movement for Justice and Development group in the EJPR, vol. 46, 2007, p. 1111.

Party abbreviations:

  • DeSUS – Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (Demokratična stranka upokojencev Slovenije)
  • LDS – Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (Liberalna Demokracija Slovenije)
  • LGV – Gregor Virant’s Civic List
  • NSi – New Slovenia (Nova Slovenija)
  • SD – Social Democrats
  • SDS – Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka)
  • SLS – Slovenian People’s Party (Slovenska ljudska stranka)

Source of affiliations:
http://www.worldstatesmen.org/Slovenia.html

The first reference to ‘cohabitation’

Thinking about the origins of the term ‘semi-presidentialism’ (see previous post) got me thinking about the same issue with regard to ‘cohabitation’. In my head, I had in mind that the term was first used in France about the French system and that it was coined by former Prime Minister Edouard Balladur. Anyway, bearing in mind that my received wisdom about ‘semi-presidentialism’ was totally wrong, I decided to explore a little further and I found that I was not the first to think about this issue.

In his 1997 book, Alternance et cohabitation sous la Ve République, Jean Massot, constitutional lawyer and former head of the French Conseil d’Etat, spends the first few pages identifying the origins of the term. It transpires that, even though Wikipedia still thinks that Edouard Balladur was the first to use the term, this is not so.

According to Massot, Jean-Luc Parodi was the first use the term ‘cohabiter’ (to cohabit) in the context of semi-presidentialism in his 1973 thesis, La Ve République et le système majoritaire. However, another French political scientist/constitutional lawyer, Pierre Avril seems to have been the first to use the noun ‘cohabitation’ in a 1977 article in Revue du droit public. The term was then used more systematically by yet another political scientist/constitutional lawyer, Jean-Claude Colliard, in 1977 in the review Pouvoirs.

Massot makes the point that prior to about 1983 the term was used only intermittently and only in academic circles. For example, I have found another reference to the term by Jean-Luc Parodi in 1981 in the Revue française de science politique. However, by 1983, when it was becoming clear that the socialists would have difficulty winning the 1986 legislative election and, therefore, that President Mitterrand may have to cohabit with a right-wing government, the term started to be used more widely and by political figures. So, former PM Raymond Barre (who thought the president should resign rather than cohabit) uses the term in January 1983, former president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing uses it in March and Edouard Balladur in September.

So, once again, my received wisdom was wrong. Edouard Balladur did not invent the term, though I am still assuming that the term was first used in France. (For example, a Google Scholar search for ‘cohabitação’ on Portuguese pages generates nothing until the 1990s).

Of course, there was cohabitation in Finland as early as 1926 and in Weimar Germany as far back as 1920. While the term ‘cohabitation’ would not have been used, it would be interesting to know whether an equivalent term was in common usage in these countries.

Cohabitation – São Tomé e Príncipe

This is a series of posts that records 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.

Here is my list of cohabitations in São Tomé e Príncipe:

Oct 1994 – Dec 1995
President – Miguel Trovoada (ADI); PM – Carlos da Graça (MLSTP-PSD); Coalition – MLSTP-PSD, PCD

Dec 1995 – Nov 1996
President – Miguel Trovoada (ADI); PM – Armindo Vaz d’Almeida (MLSTP-PSD); Coalition – MLSTP-PSD, PCD

Nov 1996 – Jan 1999
President – Miguel Trovoada (ADI); PM – Raul Bragança Neto (MLSTP-PSD); Coalition – MLSTP-PSD, PCD

Jan 1999 – Sep 2001
President – Miguel Trovoada (ADI); PM – Guilherme Posser de Costa (MLSTP-PSD); Coalition – MLSTP-PSD

March 2004 – Sep 2004
President – Fradique de Menezes (MDFM-PL); PM – Maria das Neves Ceita Baptista de Sousa (MLSTP-PSD); MLSTP-PSD, Ue-K (inc ADI)

Sep 2004 – Jun 2005
President – Fradique de Menezes (MDFM-PL); PM – Damião Vaz d’Almeida (MLSTP-PSD); Coalition – MLSTP-PSD, ADI

January 2010 – August 2010
President – Fradique de Menezes (MDFM-PL); PM – Joaquim Rafael Branco (MLSTP-PSD); Coalition – MLSTP-PSD, PCD

August 2010 – September 2011
President – Fradique de Menezes (MDFM-PL); PM – Patrice Trovoada (ADI); Government – ADI

São Tomé is a really interesting case because, along with Weimar and Sri Lanka, it is the only case of a country with president-parliamentary form of semi-presidentialism to experience cohabitation. Also, with Romania, it is the only country where cohabitation has begun mid-term. This happened in 2004 and on 31 December 2009 when the president’s MDFM party left the coalition. Finally, it has experienced a lot of cohabitation. In fact, it is the most cohabitation-prone country. (See previous post).

Source of party affiliations: http://www.worldstatesmen.org/Sao_Tome.html

Party abbreviations:

ADI – Acção Democrática Independente (Independent Democratic Action)
MDFM-PL – Movimento Democrático Força da Mudança-Partido Liberal (Force for Change Democratic Movement-Liberal Party)
MLSTP-PSD – Movimento de Libertação de São Tomé e Príncipe-Partido Social Democrata (Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé e Príncipe-Democratic Socialist Party)
PCD – Partido de Convergência Democrática (Democratic Convergence Party)
Ue-K – Uê Kédadji (a coalition)

Cohabitation – Portugal

This is a series of posts that records 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.

There is a slight complication in the case of Portugal. I prefer to use a standardised list of party affiliations. Therefore, I use worldstatesmen.org, which is usually reliable. This site classes as Ramalho Eanes as a representative of the Partido Renovador Democrático (PRD) for the full term of his office. However, according to my information, the PRD was only created in 1985. Prior to to that time, I understand Eanes to be non-party. If he was partisan before this time, then there are more cohabitations than those recorded here. On the assumption that he was non-partisan, then here is my list of cohabitations in Portugal:

Mar 1986 – Oct 1995
President – Mário Soares (PS); PM – Aníbal Cavaco Silva (PSD); Government – PSD

Apr 2002 – Jul 2004
President – Jorge Sampaio (PS); PM – José Manuel Barroso (PSD); Government – PSD, CDS-PP

Jul 2004 – Mar 2005
President – Jorge Sampaio (PS); PM – Pedro Miguel Lopes (PSD); Government – PSD, CDS-PP

Mar 2006 – June 2011
President – Aníbal Cavaco Silva (PSD); José Sócrates (PS); Government – PS

Source of party affiliations: www.worldstatesmen.org/Portugal.htm

Party abbreviations:
CDS-PP – Centro Democrático e Social – Partido Popular (Democratic and Social Centre – People’s Party)
PS – Partido Socialista (Socialist Party)
PSD – Partido Social Democrata (Social Democrat Party)

Cohabitation – Poland

This is a series of posts that records 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.

Here is my list of cohabitations in Poland:

Dec 1991 – Jun 1992
President – Lech Wałęsa (NSZZ); PM – Jan Olszewski (PC); Government – PC, ZChN, PL

Jun 1992 – Jul 1992
President – Lech Wałęsa (NSZZ); PM – Waldemar Pawlak (PSL); Government – PSL, PC, ZChN

Jul 1992 – Oct 1993
President – Lech Wałęsa (NSZZ); PM – Hanna Suchocka (UD); Government – UD, KLD, ZChN, PChD, SL-Ch, PPG, PL

Oct 1993 – Mar 1995
President – Lech Wałęsa (NSZZ); PM – Waldemar Pawlak (PSL); Government – SLD, PSL

Mar 1995 – Dec 1995
President – Lech Wałęsa (NSZZ); PM – Józef Oleksy (SdRP/SLD); Government – SLD, PSL

Oct 1997 – Oct 2001
President – Aleksander Kwaśniewski (SdRP/SLD); PM – Jerzy Karol Buzek (AWS); Government – AWS, UW (to June 2000)

Nov 2007 – April 2010
Lech Aleksander Kaczyński (PiS); PM – Donald Tusk (PO); Government – PO, PSL

Source of party affiliations and cabinet composition: European Journal of Political Research (yearbook – various years)

Party abbreviations:
AWS – Akcja Wyborcza Solidarność (Solidarity Electoral Action)
KLD – Kongres Liberalno-Demokratyczny (Liberal Democratic Congress)
NSZZ – Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy ‘Solidarność’ (Independent Self-Governing Trade Union ‘Solidarity’)
PC – Porozumienie Centrum (Center Alliance)
PChD – Partia Chrześcijańskich Demokratów (Christian Democrats Party)
PiS – Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice)
PL – Porozumienie Ludowe (Peasants Agreement)
PO – Platforma Obywatelska (Civic Platform)
PPG – Polski Program Gospodarczyl (Polish Economic Program)
PSL – Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe (Polish Peasant Party)
SdRP – Socjaldemokracja Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland)
SL-Ch – Stronnictwo Ludowo-Chrześcijańskiej (Peasant Christian Party)
SLD – Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej (Democratic Left Alliance)
UD – Unia Demokratyczna (Democratic Union)
UW – Unia Wolności (Freedom Union)
ZChN – Zjednoczenie Chrześcijańsko-Narodowe (Christian-National Union)