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The Presidentialization of PoliticsA Comparative Study of Modern Democracies$
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Thomas Poguntke and Paul Webb

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199252015

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199252017.001.0001

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Finland: Let the Force Be with the Finland: Let the Force Be with the Leader—But Who Is the Leader?

Finland: Let the Force Be with the Finland: Let the Force Be with the Leader—But Who Is the Leader?

Chapter:
(p.246) 11 Finland: Let the Force Be with the Leader—But Who Is the Leader?
Source:
The Presidentialization of Politics
Author(s):

Heikki Paloheimo

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199252017.003.0011

Since the early 1980s, the regime type of the Finnish political system has gradually mutated, because of the complementary processes of de-presidentialization and re-presidentialization. The former entailed the erosion of the formal prerogatives of the President and a switch from a semi-presidential towards a parliamentary type of executive. This process culminated in the coming into force of a totally new constitution in 2000. Re-presidentialization, in turn, consists of the growing power of the Prime Minister within the newly parliamentarized political executive. Most of the causes of the de facto ‘re-presidentialization’ of Finnish politics are structural rather than contingent. The internal activities of political parties have declined as they have transformed themselves into modern electoralist organizations, and the autonomy of the leaders from their parties has increased. Partisan dealignment and ideological convergence between the parties has made space for the personalization of politics. The personalization of politics, in combination with the declining role of party organizations, enhances the autonomy of party leaders within their own parties. In contemporary Finland, the leaders with the strongest presidential capacities contest the premiership rather than the presidency.

Keywords:   constitutional reform, dealignment, Finland, ideological convergence, personalization, presidentialization, semi-presidentialism

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