Still elected dictators? A study of executive accountability to the legislature in multi-party democracies across time: Italy (1947-2006), Argentina (1982-2006) and Romania (1992-2007)
Title: Still elected dictators? A study of executive accountability to the legislature in multi-party democracies across time: Italy (1947-2006), Argentina (1982-2006) and Romania (1992-2007)
Author: STINGA, Laurentiu
Citation: Florence, European University Institute, 2009
Series/Report no.: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
This thesis explores the capacity of the Argentine, Italian and Romanian Legislatures to hold the Executive branch of government accountable for its policy initiatives issued by emergency Executive decree, rather than by normal procedure legislative initiatives (NPL). The major questions the thesis attempts to answer are: what makes Executives prefer to promote their policy views extensively by Decree, rather than NPL, even when the situation is not of emergency and necessity? What explains the capacity of Legislatures to hold the Executive to account by amending or rejecting the Executive decrees that infringe their primary legislative function? I argue that the issuing of Executive decrees is a rational policy promotion strategy when the Executive faces bargaining problems in the Legislature, while the level of Executive accountability to the Legislature in terms of amending and rejecting Decrees is determined by the constitutional definition of these acts in favour of either one of the two branches of government. Furthermore, when the Decree is constitutionally defined to enable to the Executive to prevail over the Legislature, the former will issue them excessively, namely at a rate that is higher than that required by the bargaining problems that it confronts in the Legislature. The thesis offers an alternative explanation to the assumption that new democracies are ruled by Executive decree as an outcome of a specific 'dictatorial' culture which perpetuates after the collapse of their authoritarian regime. The disciplined comparison of three study cases with three different political systems and radically different experiences with democracy explores the role of institutional and partisan structures in generating a peculiar style of governance and the Legislatures’ capacity to keep it under control. The thesis provides a novel methodological model for understanding the governance through emergency Executive decrees across political systems (presidential, parliamentary and semi-parliamentary), while offering a thorough exploration of the theoretical relevance of this particular style of governance from the perspective of quality of democracy.
LC Subject Heading: Italy -- Politics and government -- 1945-1976; Italy -- Politics and government -- 1976-1994; Italy -- Politics and government -- 1994-; Argentina -- Politics and government -- 1983-2002; Argentina -- Politics and government -- 2002-; Romania -- Politics and government -- 1989-
Defense Date: 24/09/2009; Examining Board: László Bruszt (EUI)(Supervisor), Peter Mair (EUI), Leonardo Morlino (SUM, Firenze), Wolfgang C. Müller (University of Mannheim)
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