1st Edition

Legislative Decline in the 21st Century A Comparative Perspective

    228 Pages
    by Routledge

    228 Pages
    by Routledge

    Irina Khmelko, Frederick Stapenhurst, and Michael L. Mezey have assembled an authoritative guide to the declining institutional capacities of legislatures around the world.

    Case studies represent a diverse sample of countries, ranging from newer democracies emerging from the post-communist world to more established but at times fragile democracies in Asia. Although largely focused on newer democratic systems, readers will be able to identify key factors that explain the general global trend toward the empowerment of executives at the expense of national legislatures. The cases, although different from one another, identify several factors that have explained the erosion of legislative power, including historical legacies, institutional design, economic factors, external factors, political polarization, personalization of politics, and the rise of populism. Original data and the presentation of testable theoretical propositions about the growing imbalance between executives and national legislatures moves the field in a promising new direction.

    Legislative Decline in the 21st Century will be of interest to students and scholars of Legislative Studies and Comparative Politics. Lessons drawn from these case studies will allow policy makers to explore new solutions that can lead to the improved quality of democracy in countries around the world.

    Introduction: Vulnerable Legislatures in the Era of Strong Executives.

    Michael L. Mezey

    1. Comparing Legislatures in Moldova and Macedonia.

    William Crowther

    2. The Rise of Powerful Executives: Comparing the Ukrainian and Russian Legislatures.

    Irina Khmelko, Oleksii Bruslyk, Edward Rakhimkulov

    3. A New Parliament in the Economic Crisis: Slovenia’s National Assembly, 2008–2016

    Drago Zajc

    4. Poland: The Road to Authoritarianism is Paved by Gradual Majoritarian Shifts

    Monika Nalepa

    5. The Grand National Assembly of Turkey: A Decline in Legislative Capacity

    Ömer Faruk Gençkaya

    6. The Decline of the Lok Sabha in India: The Impact of Party Polarization, Rise of the Media, and the BJP’s Dominance on Parliamentary Efficacy.

    Milind Thakar

    7. The Legislature as a Tool, Executives’ Power Grab and Civilian Authoritarianism: The Bangladesh Case

    Ali Riaz

    8. Changes in Executive–Legislative Relationship: A Comparative Analysis of Turkey and Central European Countries

    Adam Szymański

    9. Democracy, Legislatures and Business Conditions in Post-Authoritarian African Regimes

    Isabelle Côté and Rick Stapenhurst

    10. Legislative–Executive Relations in Post-Junta Myanmar

    Anthony Staddon

    11. Mexico: The Rise of Presidential Populism and the Decline of Congress

    Khemvirg Puente

    12. The Decline of the Hungarian Legislature since 2010

    Csaba Nikolenyi

    13. The Upsurge of Right-Wing Populism in Germany

    Julia Schwanholz, Marcel Lewandowsky, Christoph Leonhardt, and Andreas Blätte

    Conclusion: A Theory of Global Legislative Decline?

    John Ishiyama


    Irina Khmelko is UC Foundation Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. She is the author of numerous publications on post-communist politics and democratic institution building. Much of her work focuses on Ukraine and Russia. She has served as a guest editor and published in a variety of journals including The Journal of Political Science and Politics, The Journal of Legislative Studies, and The Journal Communist and Post-Communist Studies. Her works have been published in different countries of the world including the US, UK, Germany, and Ukraine. She publishes in three languages including her book The State of the Ukrainian Parliamentarism, with O. Bruslyk and A. Evseev, Ukraine, 2018. She has served as a consultant on democratization for governmental and non-governmental organizations, and she has served as a Vice-Chair of the Research Committee of Legislative Specialists of the International Political Science Association.

    Frederick Stapenhurst is Assistant Professor and Parliamentary Programs Coordinator at McGill University, Canada. He is a former board member at Parliamentary Centre, member of Transparency International, and North American co-chair of the Research Committee of Legislative Specialists. Prior to joining McGill University, he worked at the World Bank concentrating on anticorruption and parliamentary development and writing extensively on these issues.

    Michael L. Mezey is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at DePaul University and former Dean of DePaul’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He has written extensively on legislatures around the world, the United States Congress, and about the relationship between the Congress and the President in the United States. His books include Comparative Legislatures (1979); Congress, the President, and Public Policy (1989); Representative Democracy (2008); Presidentialism: Power in Comparative Perspective (2013); and Selecting the President: The Perils of Democracy (2018). Mezey is a founding co-editor of The Legislative Studies Quarterly and served on that journal’s editorial board for nearly 40 years.

    "This timely volume is undoubtedly a must-read for anyone interested in legislative vulnerability, executive dominance, and democratic backsliding in emerging democracies and hybrid regimes. Leading experts on executive-legislative relations examine the main factors accounting for the global decline of legislative power. These include historical legacies, institutional design, economic conditions; globalization, political polarization, and the personalization of the politics. The essays included in this volume skillfully illustrate how these different factors affect executive-legislative relations in the post-communist world (both in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union), sub-Saharan Africa, fledgling democracies (Bangladesh, India, Mexico, Myanmar, and Turkey), as well as in a well-institutionalized democracy (Germany). While highly informative, the content of these chapters, is accessible to both scholars and students."Sebastian Saiegh, Professor of Political Science, University of California San Diego