Power of the President: party competition in presidential regimes

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Power of the President: party competition in presidential regimes

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I argue that party competition in legislative elections is partly a function of presidential elections. Previous research on spatial competition has assumed that parties are competing in parliamentary regimes, where the only election of concern for parties and voters is the legislative election. However, in presidential regimes, presidential elections lead to relatively centrist positioning of candidates, and coattail effects from the presidential elections help shape the legislative elections. Through spatial modeling, I demonstrate how presidentialism gives incentives for parties to take centrist positions in legislative elections. Using cross-national data, I give empirical validation to the spatial models by showing that presidential elections make parties relatively more centrist in legislative elections as compared to parties in parliamentary elections. Further empirical validation is given through case studies on Israel and France, which have both experienced changes regarding the selection of their executive. The evidence in these case studies also show that voters' views of the main parties are affected by these institutional changes.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. January 2014. Major: Political Science. Advisor: David Samuels. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 178 pages, appendix A.

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Williams-Wyche, Shaun. (2014). Power of the President: party competition in presidential regimes. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/162721.

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