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Week 4 Readings and Discussion: Constitutions, Elections and Documentaries

Page history last edited by Kevin Deegan-Krause 14 years, 8 months ago

This week we will think about the broader question of "democracy" and narrow it to discuss particular institutional variants of democracy, particularly those we're going to see in Mozambique.


Constitutions and political systems:

Elections and electoral systems

     Supplementary readings:

Documentary filmmaking



Please as usual, put questions and comments in the comment section.  This is pretty technical stuff so I need to know what you don't understand.

Comments (5)

Veronica Topolewski said

at 6:24 pm on Sep 28, 2009

Manning explains Mozambique can be categorized as a "highly presidentialized semi-presidential regime;" generally, this category tends to perform badly. However, Mozambique is a unique success story. She also compares Mozambique's president and prime minister relationship to that of the U.S.'s president and vice president relationship. In general, the prime minister position is filled by someone with a similar background to that of the president and the actual "semi-presidential" image is only symbolic of an ideology. My overall question, therefore, revolves around this ideology Manning references; I am interested in comparisons with other countries who previously practiced or currently practice true "semi-presidentialism." Since Mozambique's case is unique according to Manning, an original explanation of the basics of semi-presidentialism would be helpful.

Veronica Topolewski said

at 6:26 pm on Sep 28, 2009

Also, on page 9, Manning writes, "In the 2004 general elections, President Chissano, who had served the maximum two terms, was replaced by Armando Guebuza." This makes it sound as if Chissano did not voluntarily step down.....?

Veronica Topolewski said

at 7:59 pm on Sep 28, 2009

Chapter Four in the New IDEA National Handbook was a tough read for me. Although it specifically mentions Mozambique using a two-round system and describes similarities among presidential and semi-presidential systems, I had trouble relating many of its sections to Mozambique (i.e. electing federal/state assemblies and autonomous jurisdictions, electing supranational bodies, electing an upper house). Although the chapter occassionally mentioned other African nations, Mozambique was not often included (unless I missed it?). Having little political science background, explanations in class regarding how these topics relate to Mozambique would be EXTREMELY helpful.

Kevin Deegan-Krause said

at 6:27 pm on Sep 29, 2009

We will follow up on as many of these areas as we have time for.
On semipresidentialism, there is amazingly enough (or, knowing the internet, not so amazingly) a blog on this subject alone with links to papers that help explain it.
Wikipedia's not bad on this, though the map is a bit askew: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semi-presidential_system

And it's true, Chissano was required by the constitution to step down. It's also true that he probably could have found a way to have the constitution changed so that he could stay on.

Excellent questions. Any more?

SebrinaShields said

at 7:08 pm on Sep 29, 2009

On page 134, Manning writes, “ In Mozambique, however, major conflicts have rarely been definitively resolved through formal democratic process and institutions alone”. He further states, “..these have been supplemented by parallel process of sustained elite bargaining…”. I would question if these processes are somehow superior to the formal process that fail to account for the “weaknesses” in the formal systems. I would be curious to know how these types of negotiations are handled (consensus agreement, compromise, etc.) since they seem to be used for more difficult/complicated issues?

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