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Presidents, Assembly Dissolution and the Electoral Performance of Prime Ministers

Schleiter, Petra, Morgan-Jones, Edward (2018) Presidents, Assembly Dissolution and the Electoral Performance of Prime Ministers. Comparative Political Studies, 51 (6). pp. 730-758. ISSN 0010-4140. E-ISSN 1552-3829. (doi:10.1177/0010414017710267) (KAR id:61359)


Many European presidents have extensive constitutional powers to affect the timing of early parliamentary elections, which enables them to influence when incumbent governments must face the electorate. This paper examines whether presidents use their assembly dissolution powers for partisan benefit. To date, presidential activism in the electoral arena of parliamentary and semi-presidential democracies remains poorly understood. We hypothesize that presidents use their powers to influence election calling for the advantage of their political allies in government. To test this argument, we use data on 190 elections in eighteen European democracies. Our results suggest that presidents with significant dissolution powers are able to shape the electoral success of incumbents. Prime ministers whose governments are allied to such presidents realize a vote and seat share bonus of around five per cent. These findings have implications for our understanding of presidential activism, strategic parliamentary dissolution and electoral accountability.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0010414017710267
Uncontrolled keywords: European Politics, Presidents and Executive Politics, Cabinets, elections, Parliamentary Dissolution
Subjects: J Political Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Edward Morgan-Jones
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2017 09:20 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 23:17 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Morgan-Jones, Edward.

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