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Making Presidentialism Work: Sharing and Learning from Global Experience

The question in the real world is most often not "should we choose a parliamentary or presidential system" but rather "how do we make our system work". There are generally contextual, historical and symbolic reasons for the institutional system that exists in a country, and it is rare that a dramatic change from one institutional system to another is pursued. Indeed, there have been few institutional system changes in democracies in the last sixty years: considering transitions between parliamentary institutional frameworks on the one hand and presidential or semipresidential institutional frameworks on the other, we can count only seven - two in Brazil and one each in France, the Gambia, Moldova, Slovakia and Sri Lanka.

Responding to this dynamic, International IDEA and the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM) hosted a workshop in Mexico City in February 2008 on the theme of "Making Presidentialism Work", bringing together a broad group of experts, ranging from academics and lawyers to political activists and political commentators involved in debate and work on political reform.

This overview summarises the global comparative discussions which arose from the individual presentations at the workshop, a compendium of which is also published by UNAM and IDEA.

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International IDEA, UNAM

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