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About this book

This book explores how power-sharing between the president and the prime minister works in semi-presidential regimes. In contrast to much of the existing comparative work on semi-presidentialism, the book emphasizes the role of institutional coordination at the most concrete level of executive policy-making, and asks how institutional coordination between the president and prime minister influences presidential activism and the balance of power within the executive. The authors develop a tentative framework embedded in institutionalism and based on four strands of research – semi-presidentialism, public administration, political leadership, and foreign policy analysis – which is subsequently applied to the cases of Lithuania, Romania and Finland. Given the political challenges facing many semi-presidential countries, the study ultimately seeks to identify institutional solutions that facilitate power-sharing and successful policy-making.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
This introductory chapter explains the main idea and objectives of emphasizing institutional coordination between the president and the prime minister in semi-presidential regimes. The book makes four main contributions to the literature: it develops a multidisciplinary theoretical framework drawing on four strands of literature; it provides an in-depth analysis of intra-executive decision-making based on unique expert interview data; it offers new insights on foreign policy leadership in semi-presidential regimes; and finally, it identifies institutional conditions that facilitate successful policy coordination in semi-presidential regimes. The chapter introduces the research design and data, presenting the focused comparison of Finland, Lithuania, and Romania and the use of expert interviews to reach behind the scenes of semi-presidential policy-making.
Tapio Raunio, Thomas Sedelius

Chapter 2. Institutions, Coordination, and Leadership

Abstract
This chapter contains the theoretical framework the study in this book is based on. Embedded in institutional theory and building on four strands of literature—semi-presidentialism, public administration, political leadership, and foreign policy analysis—it highlights the role of institutions in facilitating successful policy-making. It outlines key concepts and findings from institutional theory before moving more specifically to the incentives that presidents and prime ministers have for engaging in intra-executive cooperation. The specific challenges related to leadership in foreign and security policy, including European Union affairs, are emphasized. The chapter identifies various intra-executive coordination mechanisms and puts forward a theoretical framework for the subsequent empirical chapters.
Tapio Raunio, Thomas Sedelius

Chapter 3. The Semi-Presidential Cases in Comparative Context

Abstract
This chapter sets Finland, Lithuania, and Romania in a comparative context of semi-presidentialism in Europe. It justifies the selection of cases by including them in a broader set of semi-presidential regimes and uses this comparison to provide a range of basic and institutional data for setting the stage for the subsequent chapters on executive coordination. It provides key indicators on semi-presidential subtypes (premier-presidentialism and president-parliamentarism): level of democracy, presidential power, intra-executive conflict, and cohabitation. Drawing on public opinion surveys, it also assesses general levels of institutional trust with an emphasis on public support for the presidency.
Tapio Raunio, Thomas Sedelius

Chapter 4. Formal Coordination Mechanisms

Abstract
This chapter examines formal intra-executive coordination mechanisms such as joint meetings between the president and the prime minister, joint councils or ministerial committees, and administrative coordination between the offices of the president and the prime minister. It uncovers the status and legal basis of such instruments and explores how they have evolved in Finland, Lithuania, and Romania since the 1990s. It shows strong and systematic variation between the three countries, with Finland displaying a high level of formal coordination. In Lithuania and Romania, on the other hand, such coordination mechanisms are considerably weaker and more dependent on individual office-holders.
Tapio Raunio, Thomas Sedelius

Chapter 5. Informal Avenues of Influence

Abstract
This chapter focuses on the actual coordination and decision-making between the president and the prime minister. The analysis covers agenda-setting initiatives, public opinion and party system dynamics, and the way formal prerogatives are interpreted into praxis, as well as how the key actors approach coordination where there is no explicit constitutional or judicial guidance. The findings confirm that lack of written rules or otherwise strong norms guiding intra-executive coordination opens the door for presidential activism (Lithuania and particularly Romania), whereas under stronger coordination mechanisms, presidents are in turn more constrained and constructively involved in decision-making (Finland).
Tapio Raunio, Thomas Sedelius

Chapter 6. Decision-Making in Foreign and Security Policies and EU Affairs

Abstract
This chapter investigates leadership in foreign and security policy and European Union (EU) affairs, examining decision-making and division of labor between the president and the prime minister. In order to grasp the complexity of intra-executive policy coordination in these areas, it highlights the interdependence between foreign and EU policies. The chapter shows that intra-executive coordination is most developed in foreign and security policy and that Finland, Lithuania, and Romania normally manage to speak with one voice in external relations. It also provides evidence of constitutional rules about jurisdictions bending in favor of presidents. This applies particularly to representation in the European Council.
Tapio Raunio, Thomas Sedelius

Chapter 7. Conclusions

Abstract
This concluding chapter summarizes the main findings, connects them to the theoretical literature, and draws lessons about successful policy-making as well as policy or coordination failures. While acknowledging the importance of other variables, it establishes a clear connection between the level of intra-executive coordination and presidential activism, with the presidents enjoying considerably more discretion in Lithuania and Romania. The Finnish president, on the other hand, is subject to stronger legal and procedural constraints that contribute to smoother intra-executive relations. The chapter concludes the book by suggesting lines of inquiry for future research and by offering some general thoughts on the conditions for policy-making and power-sharing in semi-presidential systems.
Tapio Raunio, Thomas Sedelius

Backmatter

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