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The Inverse Relationship Between Party Strength and Executive Strength: A Theory of Politicians' Constitutional Choices

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 1998

Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego


Constitutions devised by rank-and-file legislative politicians in the ‘Third Wave’ of democratization tend to exhibit an inverse relationship between party strength and executive strength. Party strength refers to the extent to which legislators campaign on the basis of their parties' reputations as providers of public policy as opposed to personal reputations as providers of more narrowly targeted services. Executive strength refers to the constitutional authority of the executive to influence policy independent of partisan support in the legislature. Politicians' interest in one configuration of power or another can be deduced logically from the situation in which they find themselves at the time they are designing a new democratic regime.

Research Article
© 1998 Cambridge University Press

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