I have been doing some more digging into when Maurice Duverger first started to use the term ‘semi-presidential’?
In a previous post, I noted that in 1951 on p. 431 of the first edition of his book Les partis politiques (Political Parties) he refers to Weimar Germany being a semi-presidential regime. To my knowledge, this is the first time that he uses this term in print. He sticks with it throughout the various editions of this book.
However, between 1951 and 1970, when he systematically identifies a set of semi-presidential countries, he continues to use the term, but there is no consistency to its use.
For example, in the first edition of his book La Ve République (The Fifth Republic), he uses the term on p. 201 to refer to a type of regime that the left would like to introduce without specifying what type of regime. In the second edition of 1960 (p. 191) he maintains this use of the term. However, by the third edition in 1963, when France has actually become semi-presidential following the 1962 reform, he does not use the term.
In 1960 in his article ‘Introduction à une sociologie des régimes politiques’ in G. Gurvitch (ed.), Traité de Sociologie, vol. 2, he uses the term on p. 9 when discussing regimes generally, though he does not define the term. Also, in 1961 he uses it on p. 122 of his book La VIe République et le régime présidentiel (The Sixth Republic and the Presidential Regime) when talking about possible reforms to the French system.
The fact that he is using the term loosely and that he is still searching for a systematic classification of regimes can also be seen in the 3rd and 4th editions of his book La Ve République. On p. 16 of the 3rd ed. (1963), he classifies the reformed (semi-presidential) Fifth Republic a ‘Weimarian’ regime. On p. 17 of the 4th ed. (1968) he drops all reference to Weimar, but calls the reformed French system ‘a mixed regime, midway between a parliamentary and a presidential regime’. Similarly on p. 19, he calls it ‘a mixed, half-parliamentary, half-presidential regime’.
It is clear, then, that even though his use of the term ‘semi-presidential was very fluid prior to 1968, by that time Duverger is very close to the systematic definition that will follow just two years later.