Category Archives: List of disputed areas and other territories with semi-presidential constitutions

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

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)

SP in disputed areas and other territories (15) – Zanzibar

This is an updated version of a previous post.

This is a series of posts on semi-presidentialism in areas other than internationally recognised states. The focus is on areas with, or that have had, full constitutions, but ones that are not recognised as independent states. They may be territories that have declared independence but whose status has not been internationally recognised, or they may simply be self-governing units within or under the protection of another state.

Zanzibar is part of the United Republic of Tanzania. Art. 103 of the 1977 Tanzanian Constitution (2005) states that Zanzibar shall have a president, that there shall be a Chairman of the Revolutionary Council, and that it shall have a House of Representatives. The relations between these institutions are regulated by the 1984 Constitution of Zanzibar. The Zanzibar constitution, as amended up to 2002, is available here.

Art. 26 establishes the President of Zanzibar as the head of government and the Chairman of the Revolutionary Council. In addition, Art. 39 establishes a Chief Minister, who is the “principal adviser” of the president and who has “authority over the control, supervision and execution of the day-today-function and affairs of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar”. So, the Chief Minister is the equivalent of the Prime Minister. Art. 41 provides for the individual responsibility of the Chief Minister. So, on the basis of the definition used in this blog, Zanzibar would not be semi-presidential. However, Art. 42 establishes the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar so-called the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, which includes a Revolutionary Council (and which can be taken as the equivalent of the Cabinet). The Revolutionary Council comprises the President of Zanzibar, the Chief Minister and Ministers. This article then states that the Revolutionary Council is collectively responsible to the House of Representatives. There are no details about the procedures for holding the Revolutionary Council responsible and no confirmation that the loss of responsibility requires resignation, but this can reasonably be assumed.

So, is Zanzibar semi-presidential according to this constitution? There is probably enough for it to be classed as such. There is a directly elected president, a prime minister, and explicit mention of cabinet responsibility. The wording of the constitution is somewhat more ambiguous that other texts and the procedures for responsibility are unspecified. However, overall, Zanzibar can be considered semi-presidential on the basis of the this constitution.

As reported in a previous post, there was a significant constitutional amendment earlier this year. I do not have the text of this amendment. (The result of the referendum on the reform is available here.) However, EISA are reporting that the position of Chief Minister has been abolished and that two vice-presidencies have been created. Ministries are now shared proportionally between the two main parties in the system. Given this reform seems to have abolished the Chief Minister (or prime minister), then Zanzibar would no longer appear to be semi-presidential. Tanzania remains so, of course.

The results of the 2010 presidential election in Zanzibar are available here. Constituency results for the parliamentary election that was held at the same time are available here.

SP in disputed areas and other territories (14) – Republic of Crimea

This post is a little speculative because I do not have full information. While I am fairy confident of the basic facts, any clarifications, including telling me that my interpretation is completely wrong, would be welcome.

Anyway, this is another in a series of posts on semi-presidentialism in areas other than internationally recognised states. The focus is on areas with, or that have had, full constitutions, but ones that are not recognised as independent states. They may be territories that have declared independence but whose status has not been internationally recognised, or they may simply be self-governing units within or under the protection of another state.

As I understand it, the Republic of Crimea adopted a constitution in May 1992 and established itself as a republic within Ukraine. In September 1992 the constitution was amended. In September and October 1993 laws were passed that allowed for the direct election of the president. There was a presidential election in January 1994 and Yuriy Meshkov was elected at the second ballot. A short report is available here.

Now, I believe that the 1992 constitution was restored in May 1994 and in October 1994 the role of prime minister and government was reorganised. At that point, it appears as if the PM and government were responsible to the legislature and there was a directly elected president. So, by my reckoning, Crimea was constitutionally semi-presidential from Octeber 1994. (The constitution as is available in Russian here. Using Google Translate the clauses are very clear.)

In March 1995 the Ukrainian legislature abolished both the 1992 constitution and the presidency of the Republic of Crimea. Yuriy Meshkov, it might be noted, was pro-Russian. So, Crimea was no longer semi-presidential from that time.

Therefore, unless I am mistaken, the Republic of Crimea had a semi-presidential constitution from October 1994 to March 1995.

Any clarification would be appreciated.

SP in disputed areas and other territories (13) – Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)

This is another in a series of posts on semi-presidentialism in areas other than internationally recognised states. The focus is on areas with, or that have had, full constitutions, but ones that are not recognised as independent states. They may be territories that have declared independence but whose status has not been internationally recognised, or they may simply be self-governing units within or under the protection of another state.

The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) declared its sovereignty on 27 September 1990. In December 1991 the first direct presidential election was held and Mikhail Nikolaev was elected winning over 76% of the vote. In December 1996 he was re-elected winning over 60% of the vote. In January 2002 Vyacheslav Shtyrov was elected with 59% of the vote in circumstances that highlighted the tensions between Putin and the Russian federal system.

The Constitution was adopted in April 1992. It was amended in 2008. In the meantime, the direct election of the president had been abolished. However, for a period of time the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) had a semi-presidential constitution.

Art. 67 stated that the president is directly elected.

Art. 83 made mention of a prime minister in the context of the government.

Art. 58 stated that the Supreme Soviet gives consent to the nomination by the president of the prime minister and the members of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Art. 82 stated that a vote of no-confidence in the Supreme Soviet shall entail the dismissal of the Cabinet of Ministers.

There is an article on the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in Europe-Asia Studies vol. 48, no. 1, 1996.

SP in disputed areas and other territories (12) – Kurdistan Region of Iraq

This is another in a series of posts on semi-presidentialism in areas other than internationally recognised states. The focus is on areas with, or that have had, full constitutions, but ones that are not recognised as independent states. They may be territories that have declared independence but whose status has not been internationally recognised, or they may simply be self-governing units within or under the protection of another state.

This post is a little speculative because I am not completely sure of the constitutional situation in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. (The area shaded red in the map). However, recent events there suggests to me that the region is semi-presidential.

On Saturday elections were held to the regional assembly and separately for the president of the region. Previously, it had also been planned to hold a referendum on the region’s constitution, which, according to niqash, was adopted by the regional parliament on 24 June this year. However, the supposedly “secessionist” nature of the constitution was seen by Baghdad to be controversial and no referendum was held. There is a report from RFE/RL here.

A copy of the constitution in a language I understand is slightly difficult to obtain or at least to verify. However, a version of a draft constitution dating to 2007 is available in English here. As far as I am aware, this is the constitution that has been adopted, though there may have been amendments since then. Assuming this is the constitution, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is semi-presidential.

Article 100 creates a directly elected president.
Article 109 establishes a Council of Ministers that explicitly includes a prime minister. The nomination of the Council of Ministers must be approved by parliament.
Article 114 B states that the Council of Ministers shall resign if the parliament withdraws its confidence from the prime minister.

As far as I can tell, there is no provision for the president to dismiss the prime minister. So, this seems to be a premier-presidential form of semi-presidentialism, even if the president of the region seems to be a strong figure.

Any clarification of the constitutional situation would be helpful, but, unless the constitution has been radically amended, which is entirely possible, then this is unequivocally a semi-presidential constitution.

SP in disputed areas and other territories (11) – Bashkortostan

Another Russian Republic with a brief semi-presidential past is Bashkortostan.

The Constitution of the Republic of Bashkortostan was adopted on 24 December 1993. Unlike certain equivalent constitutions, the semi-presidential nature of Bashkortostan was unequivocal.

Art. 93 stated that the President shall be elected on the basis of universal suffrage and Art. 98 made it clear that impeachment was the only way to remove the President.

Art. 101 stated that the President forms the government and appoints the Prime Minister with the consent of the State Assembly.

Art. 102 stated that the government may request a vote of confidence and that it may be subject to a vote of no-confidence. The same article stated that if the vote of no confidence was passed, then the President shall dissolve the government and a new government shall be formed within two weeks.

There were three direct presidential elections in Bashkortostan, the first in 1993, the second in 1998, and the third in 2003. On each occasion, Murtaza Rakhimov was elected. RFE/RL reports that in December 2003 President Rakhimov won 43 per cent of the vote at the first round and 78 per cent at the second, so the election was quite competitive. In 2006 Rakhimov was appointed president under the new Federal legislation that ended direct elections at the sub-national level. So, as with the other Russian Republics, Bashkortostan is no longer semi-presidential.

SP in disputed areas and other territories (10) – Tuva

Yet another Russian Republic may have been semi-presidential for a period. In 1993 the Republic of Tuva passed its constitution. It is slightly unclear, but there is at least some basis to call the constitution semi-presidential.

Art. 70 of the constitution stated that the president shall be directly elected for a five-year term.
Art. 69 stated that the president was head of state and of executive power.
Art. 79 stated that the government shall consist of the head of government, ministers etc.
Art. 80 stated that the government must resign if the Supreme Hural (legislature) votes no-confidence in the government. Also, this article stated that the government is accountable to the president.

All of this seems to make Tuva semi-presidential. However, the complicating factor is that, in the translation I have (Raworth, Constitutions of Dependencies and Territories), Art. 73 (3) stated that the president is head of government. So, it is not clear that there was ever a separate position of prime minister. If not, then the system would not have been semi-presidential on the basis of the definition used in this blog.

Wikipedia reports that Sherig-ool Oorzhak was elected as president in 1993 and again in 1997. In 2001 the constitution was amended. The presidency was abolished completely, so that Sherig-ool Oorzhak could remain in power and avoid a term limit.

SP in disputed areas and other territories (9) – Republic of Adygea

As with a number of Russian Republics, the Republic of Adygea arguably had a semi-presidential constitution for a period.

The current constitution dates back to 1995. A copy in Russian can be found here. They key clauses are the following:

a.) The president is elected for a 5-year term, article 76(3). The president is empowered and steps down prior to the expiration of his term, by and according to the federal law (Article 76(1)).

b.) The president heads the cabinet of ministers and can dismiss it (84.2). The president appoints the PM with the agreement of the Council (legislature) 84.3. The Council has the power of a vote of no confidence (90.1). The president could ask the Council to reconsider, but if it still votes against the PM, deputy PM or any other member of the executive, they have to be dismissed (90.3-4).

This wording seems to be on the cusp of purely individual as opposed to collective responsibility, but Art. 90.1 is probably collective enough for the Republic of Adygea to be considered semi-presidential on the basis of the definition used in this blog.

However, a clarification is overdue. The kind person who translated the Russian text for me also reminded me that the Russian Duma passed a law in December 2004 that abolished presidential elections in Russia’s regions. Instead, they are now appointed by the Federal President. Therefore, any semi-presidentialism in the Republic of Adygea ended with the passage of that law because the president is no longer directly elected.

This point also applies to the previous post on Tatarstan. Apologies for the mistake.

SP in disputed areas and other territories (8) – South Ossetia

For once, this is a fairly timely post. Yesterday the Russian parliament passed a resolution asking President Medvedev to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. So, I thought that I would post about the constitutional situation both areas.

Obviously, both are officially part of Georgia. However, as events in the past weeks have reminded us, both have had more than a certain degree of de facto independence. Specifically, both have their own constitutions.

The most recent constitution of Abkhazia was adopted in 1994. It establishes a presidential system. There is a prime minister, but there is only individual ministerial responsibility (Art. 58).

As far as I understand it, South Ossetia adopted its first constitution in 1993. Robert M. Cutler in an online article gives further information. He states: “On 8 April 2001, South Ossetia held a referendum on proposed changes to its constitution that were intended to increase presidential power. Voter turnout was roughly two-thirds, of whom two-thirds again approved the changes. Because the referendum was held by the ‘Republic of South Ossetia’ on its own initiative without central Georgian participation, the EU and the OSCE condemned it, declaring it illegal and void”.

As far as I can tell, there is a constitution online (in Russian) that dates back to 1996. However, there is also another constitution (also in Russian) that seems current. So, I assume that it includes the more recent changes. I can let anyone who is interested have the PDF version that I have found. I would like to thank a colleague for translating the necessary details for me.

There are similarities between the South Ossetia constitution and the Russian constitution. The president is popularly elected (Art. 7), heads the exec, guides foreign and domestic policy (Art. 47), and appoints the PM subject to parliamentary approval (Art. 50). The government resigns after presidential elections (Art. 75) and if parliament votes no confidence in the government, the president can ignore the vote the first time but must dismiss the government after a second such vote (if the votes are taken within the space of 2 months) (Art. 76).