Erik Moberg ã:
A Theory of Democratic Politics
19 - PRESIDENTIAL CONSTITUTIONS WITH
PROPORTIONAL ELECTIONS: THE MAIN ACTORS' INTERACTIONS
Here, as in the other systems we are studying, the main
actors will try to further their ambitions by forming, or by just supporting,
various decisive or blocking sets. In the presidential systems - this one
as well as the majoritarian variety - the president has a particularly
important role in these interactions. This is due to the following three
aspects of the presidential power.
In the presidential, proportional system discussed here there
may, as I have already mentioned (part 7), be some party main actors. Even
so, however, there will also in all likelihood be quite a number individual
main actors. The total number of main actors will therefore be rather great,
and the conditions for coordination (see part 8) are consequently not the
best. The main actor interaction is therefore likely to be characterized
by a lot of uncoordinated behavior. Furthermore, and from the legislators'
point of view, coordination, to the extent that it is possible at all,
will be considerably easier when it aims at creating blocking sets rather
than decisive sets. In particular this is so if there are two houses in
the legislature (see part 2.1).
The inclusion of the president is often required for making
a set decisive. Sometimes that requirement is dropped, but if so the requirements
for a decisive set composed only of legislators is usually sharper. Some
kind of qualified majority of legislators may for example be required.
The president is usually equipped with special, legal procedural
power for making proposals.
The president may command resources of various kinds which
may be used for giving favors, or compensations, to legislators in order
to make them support a presidential proposal.
Now, taking all of this into account, the following hypothetical
conclusions can be drawn about the main actor interaction in proportional,
The reactions to the proposals presented, whether they come
from the president or the legislature, will to a large extent be uncoordinated.
This means that the voting pattern, at least to a considerable extent,
will vary from decision to decision. It also means that occasional majorities
which are considerable larger than minimal winning should cause no surprise.
It furthermore means that the political process will be continuos, rather
than of the batch type. It also means that an organized opposition is unlikely.
Proposals for new legislation require, in order to pass,
the creation of decisive sets, and they will therefore, in fact, often
come from the president. This is a consequence of the aspects 1 and 2 above.
The president has an advantage in creating decisive sets.
But even if it is difficult for the legislators to initiate
new legislation, they may be successful in the much easier task of creating
blocking sets. This is particularly so in this proportional setting, where
some party groups in the legislature may be quite consolidated. The purpose
may be to bring about some wanted changes in the proposal blocked. The
purpose may however also be obstructive - the proposal may be blocked even
by legislators symphatizing with the proposal. If so the idea of the blocking
legislators may be to blackmail the president - to force him to give favors
to themselves, or to their constituencies, in exchange for an end to the
blocking. What makes this kind of blackmail possible, and attractive, is,
of course, the fact indicated in point 3 above that the president controls
resources of various kinds. Thus, and since the legislature does not dispose
of any resources of the kind mentioned, we will never see any blackmailing
in the opposite direction - the president will not try to blackmail the