Presidentialization of Parliamentarism in Serbia – Causes and Consequences




Parliamentarism, presidentialism, electoral system, party system, political culture


Although the principle of separation of powers in Serbia has been regulated following the parliamentary model in the span of three decades, it has in practice functioned most often as a semi-presidential system. This paper analyzes two groups of factors that are the cause of presidentialization. Institutional factors that systematically create an environment suited for presidentialization include shortcomings in the constitutional design, the proportional electoral system and oligarchic tendencies in the party system. Direct election gives the President of the Republic strong legitimacy, and by retaining the position of party leader, in an electoral system with closed electoral lists and weak intra-party democracy, the head of state can easily control the parliamentary majority, the government and the parliament, thus upsetting the balance of power. Another group of factors that strongly affect the action of the aforementioned institutional aspects are a political culture with a strong authoritarian tradition and a lack of respect for the constitution and the democratic tradition. The consequences are strong authoritarian and populist tendencies and a departure from the liberal concept of democracy. The options proposed by the academic and political public as a solution to the situation blocking the consolidation of democracy in Serbia include the normativization of the incompatibility of office of the head of state and party leader, the abolition of direct elections, and a semi-presidential system.


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Author Biography

Milan Jovanović, University of Belgrade

Is a full professor at the University of Belgrade, Serbia. At the Faculty of Political Sciences, he teaches courses on the Political System of Serbia, Elections and Electoral Systems, Representation and Political Institutions. He is the deputy editor of the Journal Archives of Legal and Social Sciences and a member of the editorial board of the journal Serbian Political Thought. His fields of research include political systems, elections, electoral systems, political parties and parliamentarism.


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How to Cite

Jovanović, Milan. 2022. “Presidentialization of Parliamentarism in Serbia – Causes and Consequences”. Politeja 19 (1(76):345-63.