1st Edition

Presidentialism and Democracy in East and Southeast Asia

Edited By Marco Bünte, Mark R. Thompson Copyright 2023
    185 Pages
    by Routledge

    185 Pages
    by Routledge

    Presidentialism and Democracy in East and Southeast Asia examines the impact of presidential systems on democracies by examining three distinct literatures – the perilousness of competing legitimacies of the executive and legislative branches, issues of institutional design (particularly regarding semi-presidentialism), and the rise of executive aggrandizement.

    Despite often intense political conflict and temporary instability in the East and Southeast Asia, presidential systems of various types – from relatively "pure" forms to semi-presidentialism and other hybrids – have largely been resilient. Although there are signs of growing autocratization in several cases, presidentialism, associated with both accommodation and conflict, has usually not driven it.

    This book’s contributions to presidentialism debates will be of interests to students and scholars of comparative politics while it also offers detailed analysis of the presidency in these East and Southeast Asian cases.

    List of tables

    Preface and acknowledgements

    List of contributors

    1. Presidentialism and democracy in East and Southeast Asia: Between resilience and regression

    Marco Bünte and Mark R. Thompson

    2. South Korea: Presidentialism in historical and sociological perspective

    Erik Mobrand

    3. The Philippines: Imperiled and imperious presidents (but not perilous presidentialism)

    Mark R. Thompson

    4. Indonesia: Presidential politics and democratic regression

    Dirk Tomsa

    5. Indonesia: Tales of presidentialization

    Andreas Ufen

    6. Taiwan: The limited but beneficial role of semi-presidentialism

    Christian Schafferer

    7. Timor-Leste: Semi-presidentialism and the tribulations of a new democracy

    Rui Graça Feijó

    8. Myanmar: Hybrid presidentialism and democratic breakdown

    Marco Bünte



    Marco Bünte is Professor of Asian Politics at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. His work focuses on questions of democratisation and authoritarian resilience. His publications include the co-edited volumes Politics and Constitutions in Southeast Asia (with B. Dressel, 2017) and Democratization in Post-Suharto Indonesia (with A. Ufen, 2008), also published by Routledge.

    Mark R. Thompson is Professor of politics and Head of the Department of Asian and International Studies, as well as Director of the Southeast Asia Research Centre at the City University of Hong Kong. A specialist of East Asian politics, his most recent book publications by Routledge are China’s "Singapore Model" and Authoritarian Learning (co-edited with Stephan Ortmann, 2020), Governance and Democracy in the Asia-Pacific (co-edited with Stephen McCarthy, 2020), and the Routledge Handbook of the Contemporary Philippines (co-edited with Eric V. Batalla, 2019). He is co-editor of the Routledge/City University of Hong Kong Southeast Asia Series.

    "This book offers important insights into the operation of presidentialism. As the editors point out, cases from East and Southeast Asia are very infrequently invoked in theoretical discussions of presidentialism. By offering theoretically informed analyses of these cases, this book begins to bridge a gaping empirical lacuna and will significantly advance our understanding of how presidential institutions work. It is a welcome addition to the literature on presidentialism." - José Antonio Cheibub, Texas A&M University, USA

    "This is an important book. The analyses of six presidential and semi-presidential systems are of particular importance for the discussion about the current state of democracy and its future prospects in East and Southeast Asia. The case studies in this volume shows the virtues of empirical analysis of formal political institutions that takes context into account, avoids simplistic generalizations and shows how rich and varied constitutional norms, democratic procedures and informal institutions can be in this part of the world. The editors and the authors are to be much congratulated for bringing these neglected cases to the attention of presidentialism studies." - Aurel Croissant, Heidelberg University, Germany