Category Archives: Old publications

Old publications

This is a series that identifies older publications that relate to semi-presidentialism. The series is designed to highlight some work that may have been forgotten.

This post focuses on the following book:

A. Jeyaratnam Wilson, The Gaullist System in Asia. The Constitution of Sri Lanka, (1978), London and Basingstoke: Macmillan Press

This book focuses on the motivations behind the Sri Lankan constitution of 1978. This was a completely new constitution that replaced the previous parliamentary system. The book argues that the inspiration for the constitution was the French Fifth Republic. However, the constitution was never designed to be a simple imitation of the French constitution. It was designed to be an adaptation of various constitutional styles to suit the Sri Lankan context.

The book outlines the context in which the constitution was adopted, including the drafting process. There are then chapters on different institutions, including the presidency, and the government and parliament. There is a brief conclusion that reflects on how the constitution performed in the first year of its existence.

This is still one of the best studies of the Sri Lankan constitution, even if the party political landscape has changed. It also provides a very good study of constitutional choice.

Old publications

I am not sure whether this post is the beginning of a new series. However, it struck me that just as there was some benefit in identifying new semi-presidential-related publications, there might also be some benefit in identifying older publications. I am thinking of ones that might be slightly more obscure than standard works. Feel free to let me know if this is a good idea.

To begin, I thought that I would identify the following book:

Naunihal Singh, A System of Governance: Parliamentary or Presidential, Anmol Publications, Delhi, 1998, ISBN 978-8174889478.

This is a book with an Indian focus. It argues that India should adopt a new form of government. In so doing, it rehearses arguments for and against presidentialism.

The final section is devoted to semi-presidentialism. There is a chapter that repeats de Gaulle’s Bayeux Manifesto. There is also a chapter on semi-presidentialism generally, largely repeating the ideas of Maurice Duverger from his 1980 EJPR article. There is a chapter on politics in France. There is also a concluding chapter in which the author appears to make a case for the introduction of semi-presidentialism in India.

The author does not break very much new ground. However, it is interesting to see semi-presidentialism discussed in the context of India. It is also useful to be able to cite someone who thinks that semi-presidentialism is a good model to follow.

Much of the book is available at Google Books here. It can also be ordered from Amazon here.