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Book Chapter

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This chapter discusses the separation of powers. The point about traditions, or shared social norms, is a central one for this chapter. At a time of growing pessimism about the fate of democracy worldwide, adherence to norms of political behaviour may have an importance transcending formal provisions for the allocation of governmental power. As such, this chapter first presents a brief account of ‘separation of powers’ under American presidentialism; then the contrasting system of Westminster parliamentarianism; third, the increasingly prevalent mixed regimes, often semi-presidential, that can be described as ‘constrained parliamentarism’; and, finally, international institutions. As the chapter shows, in this most real of all possible worlds, the words of constitutions, written or implicit, matter considerably less than the actual distribution of effective power within a polity.


Administrative Law | Comparative and Foreign Law | Constitutional Law | Law