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Presidents with Prime MinistersDo Direct Elections Matter?$
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Margit Tavits

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199553327

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199553327.001.0001

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Introduction: Rationale, Questions, Methods

Introduction: Rationale, Questions, Methods

(p.1) 1 Introduction: Rationale, Questions, Methods
Presidents with Prime Ministers

Margit Tavits (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The Introduction discusses the practical, as well as theoretical, relevance of studying selection mechanisms for heads of state in parliamentary systems. It briefly reviews the relevant constitutional debates in a variety of democracies. This chapter then introduces the main concerns with presidential elections: Do direct elections enhance presidents' legitimacy thereby increasing their activism and encouraging authoritarian tendencies? Are direct elections more heavily contested, partisan, polarizing, and divisive? Do direct elections help decrease voter alienation and apathy? This chapter concludes with an overview of the cases and methodologies used throughout this book.

Keywords:   authoritarian tendencies, case selection, constitutional debate, head of state, methodology, partisan elections, president's legitimacy, presidential activism, polarizing elections, selection mechanism, voter alienation

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