Governments in European politics

Authored by: Gianfranco Pasquino

Routledge Handbook of European Politics

Print publication date:  January  2015
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415626750
eBook ISBN: 9781315755830
Adobe ISBN: 9781317628361


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A variety of models of parliamentary government and semi-presidential government can be found in European political systems. Other than Cyprus, no European government follows the presidential model. In many European parliamentary democracies, the head of state is either a king or a queen. This is not an insignificant detail, as practically all parliamentary monarchies have been ‘uninterrupted’ democracies, with the exception of Spain (where the king played a crucial role during the country’s transition to democracy); that is, after the systems of government were established, they have not experienced any authoritarian interlude. It has been observed, by Seymour M. Lipset among others, that by eliminating the need to elect the head of state a significant opportunity for political conflict is removed, often with positive consequences.

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