Presidential Democracies

Bjoern Dressel, Fakhridho Susrahadiansyah Susilo

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Presidential democracies1 in Asia are back in the limelight. Long seen as potentially ‘perilous’ for political stability after a series of contested presidential impeachments in, among others, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia,2 attention has recently shifted to an opposite concern: the rise of presidencies that dominate legislatures, and often, under a populist guise, have actively engaged in ‘executive aggrandisement’ that raises once more the spectre of authoritarianism in the region.3 Perhaps this is most obvious in Southeast Asia’s most important presidential regimes: the Philippines and Indonesia. In the Philippines, Asia’s oldest presidential system, President Duterte (2016–22) has shown an unprecedented number of illiberal transgressions that are reminiscent of the Marcos dictatorship—a pattern made possible by the president’s control over both the House of Representatives and the Senate.4 In Indonesia, under the increasingly assertive presidency of Joko Widodo (2014–), the People’s Representative Council (DPR), Indonesia’s notoriously fractured legislature, has allowed the president to go virtually unchecked through his second term, which has renewed concerns about ‘democratic backsliding’ in what to date had been one of Asia’s most vibrant democracies.5 Such developments in its largest democracies raise serious questions about the changing nature of presidential democracies in Asia, and especially executive-legislative relations. As populist leadership grows in the region, we ask: How are presidents using their formal constitutional and informal partisan powers to reshape executive-legislative relations? And how are these actions affecting democratic quality and liberal-constitutional practice in their countries?
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Asian Parliaments
    Editors Po Jen Yap, Rehan Abeyratne
    Place of PublicationLondon
    ISBN (Print)9781003109402
    Publication statusPublished - 2023


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