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date: 06 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

The term ‘horizontal structuring’ refers to the constitutional system for allocating power among government actors at the same geographic level of organization. The concept is referred to in some systems as ‘separation of powers’. Modern democracies do not all employ the same forms of horizontal structuring. For example, while presidential systems typically involve a sharp distinction between executive and legislative power, parliamentary systems do not. Indeed, constitutional systems range in a spectrum from those with strong separation of powers (e.g., the United States) to those with greater fusion of powers (e.g., the United Kingdom), with many falling somewhere in the middle. Some constitutions further subdivide power within a branch of government — for example by creating a bicameral legislature with an upper and lower house, or by creating both a president and a prime minister. This article explores the various forms of horizontal structuring employed in modern constitutional democracies, as well as debates about their relative advantages and disadvantages.

Keywords: separation of powers, constitutional democracies, presidential systems, parliamentary systems, executive power, legislative power

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