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Coalitions in presidential systems

Grant number: 13/21716-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2014
Effective date (End): June 30, 2014
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - State and Government
Principal researcher:Fernando de Magalhães Papaterra Limongi
Grantee:Andréa Marcondes de Freitas
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:11/08536-1 - Political institutions, executive-legislative relationship and government performance, AP.TEM

Abstract

Coalition governments are criticized for diluting the political responsibility. No single party or leader can be held accountable for the policies implemented. Voters have no way to hold accountable those how are responsible. In fact, no one is quite sure how coalition governments work. Two alternatives divide scholars of the subject. On one way are those who claim that coalition governments work collectively, i.e., in which all members of the coalition parties take part and therefore are responsible for the actions taken. At the other extreme, there are those who claim that the coalition government divided the political space and responsibilities in accordance with the distribution of ministerial portfolios. If a party receives a folder, it also receives the autonomy to decide on its liability about its policy matter. Between these two polar views, there are any number of alternatives and possibilities. In the case of the presidential system, in which the chief executive is elected by popular vote, it's clear that none of the two views can be true. In both cases, the president would give too much power to the partners. However, the coalition government is not the same as one-party government even where the chief executive, as is the case of Brazil, holds a considerable range of legislative powers. This study aims, continuing my PhD's work, understood more accurately the modus operandi of the coalition government in Brazil. The central question that will guide the research is: To what extent the policy agenda of the Executive is shared among members of the ruling coalition? The aim, therefore, is to understand the role of political parties in shaping policy within the Executive and the implications of sharing or not this policy agenda in the decisions within the Congress.

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