Revisiting the constitution: a case for parliamentary system in central Asia.

Revisiting the constitution: a case for parliamentary system in central Asia.

How can a parliamentary system benefit Central Asian states?

This paper summarises the debate over presidential vs. parliamentary systems and provides a brief background of regimes in Central Asia. It also describes institutional constraints of the current presidential systems and presents the case for switching to a parliamentary system before assessing the likelihood of such a change.

The author argues that the institutional design of authoritarian regimes can have an impact on the dynamics of the intra-elite and elite-mass relations. As authoritarian regimes differ widely, this paper limits its scope to the Central Asian states ruled by personalist dictatorships. It argues that a parliamentary system would soften the predatory nature of the regimes and reduce the probability of violent conflicts.

Key concluding points include:

  • most work dedicated to electoral reforms concentrates on the countries transitioning to democracy. Consequently, the arguments over the superiority of a parliamentary vs. presidential system normally evaluate the ability of either system to foster the consolidation of democracy
  • the presidential system in Central Asia exacerbates the personalist tendencies of the regimes. Thus, a concentration of power in single office forces soft-liners to collude with hard-liners, as neither group can claim public support in the struggle against the other
  • switching to a parliamentary system would reduce the political repression of the system by decreasing the stakes in each particular election. It would also increase stability due to the higher flexibility of the system.
  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.