SP countries where the president is head of government

A key assumption of this blog is that the list of countries with semi-presidential countries is very heterogenous. To operationalise semi-presidentialism in this context, we need to identify different types of semi-presidentialism and test whether particular types are associated with certain outcomes. To this end, I tend to prefer Matthew Shugart’s categorisation of president-parliamentary and premier-presidential countries because of the constitutional (and, therefore, largely unambiguous) way of making the distinction and the theoretical logic underpinning it.

Another way of distinguishing between different types of semi-presidentialism is to differentiate between countries where the directly elected president is constitutionally classed as the head of state and the head of government and those where this is not the case, even though in both there is also a prime minister and cabinet that are responsible to the legislature.

According to my records, the following countries currently have presidents that are constitutionally classed as head of government:

Mozambique (2004 Const., Art. 146-3)
Namibia (1990 Const., Art. 27-1)
Sri Lanka (1978 Const., Art. 38-1)
Tanzania (1977 Const. am. 1984, Art. 33-2)

Obviously, such a distinction would not help us to study semi-presidentialism very much because it would provide us with hardly any variation within the list of semi-presidential countries, whatever the theoretical rationale for the effects of the distinction might be.

Where such a list might be used is in relation to the never-ending debate about the definition of semi-presidentialism. To the extent that in these four countries the president is both head of state and head of government, they would seem to be the most constitutionally presidential-like of semi-presidential countries and some people may wish to classify them as such. However, I am happy to stick with them as semi-presidential.

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