Versita

IS THE CZECH REPUBLIC ON ITS WAY TO SEMI-PRESIDENTIALISM?

Vít Hloušek
Keywords: Czech Republic, semi-presidentialism, parliamentary democracy, Miloš Zeman ,

Abstract

The main aim of the article is to contribute to the bourgeoning debate on semipresidentialism, its definition, and its characteristic features, with analysis of the empirical example of the Czech Republic, a country which, according to Elgie´s standard definition, shifted to semi-presidentialism in 2012. The author investigates whether and how Miloš Zeman, the first directly elected president of the Czech Republic, influences relations among the key political institutions in the direction of the model of a semi-presidential democracy.
The paper sets out the working concept of semi-presidentialism first and, through the lenses of process tracing, analyses the goals and acts of Zeman after he entered office in January 2013. The case study of the Czech Republic sheds light not only on the recent development(s) in the Czech political system, but it can be seen as an interesting example ofhow strong political personalities are  attempting to expand their influence on politics in a parliamentary democracy and what the possible limits of this effort are.