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date: 16 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Political parties and party system dynamics are critical to understanding how constitutions work, and why they may not, in spite of well-intentioned designs. Unfortunately, much of the recent literature in comparative constitutional law has paid little attention to the multiple ways our basic constitutional structures are conditioned by political parties and party system dynamics. With a plea for greater integration between studies of parties and constitutions, this article offers an overview of the interaction effects between political parties and party systems, and the three constitutional types found in the democratic world today — presidentialism, parliamentarism, and semi-presidentialism. It concludes with an illustration of these effects from the case of Weimar Germany.

Keywords: party system, constitutions, political party, presidentialism, parliamentarism, semi-presidentialism

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