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Comparative Constitutional Engineering
The second edition of this pathbreaking, highly innovative comparative study in state-building by a major political scientist is a fully updated examination of the problems of making democratic government work. Sartori begins by assessing electoral systems. He attacks the conventional wisdom that their influence cannot be predicted and also disputes the view that proportional representation is always best and will deliver 'consensus democracy'. He argues that the double-ballot formulas deserve more consideration for their ability to facilitate governability in adverse circumstances. His comparative assessment of presidential and semi-presidential systems and the variety of formulas that are categorized, sometimes misleadingly, as parliamentary, looks at the conditions that allow a political form to perform as intended. He concludes with a detailed proposal for a new type of government: alternating presidentialism.
This meets the need for strong parliamentary control and efficient government, with safeguards against both parliamentary obstructionism and government by decree, and so could help to avoid political paralysis in Latin America, in the post-communist countries of Europe and in countries with dysfunctional parliamentary systems such as Italy and Israel.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"Delightfully written, this monograph will be a staple of courses on comparative constitutional design ... I can think of no better example of contemporary political "engineering" than this, and it is precisely this product of research that students of comparative politics must attempt." -Peter C. Ordeshook,Political Science Quarterly "Democratic constitutional engineering is tricky, yet consequential, nowadays more than ever. I can hardly think of a better proof of this double assertion than the one provided by the latest book by Giovanni Sartori, possibly the most astute and passionate student of constitutional engineering ... Mine is an invitation to read the book, indeed to unwrap and savor it. Rarely has constitutional engineering been more salient to the future of expanding democracy." -G. DiPalma,The Review of Politics "Despite the seemingly endless volume of literature on democratic institutions, no text even comes close to formulating the kind of comprehensive and critical synthesis one finds in this elegant new book by Sartori." -P. Vannicell,Los Angeles Monthly "The last book of Giovanni Sartori is a beautiful work that ranks among his very best writings. It is very concise, for it deals only with essentials, and yet covers all the basics of his subject matter; and Sartori always takes a crystal-clear stand on the many controversies that he covers." -G. Bognetti,Il Sole/24 Ore "Giovanni Sartori, internationally recognized political scientist, has written a pathbreaking, highly innovative comparative study of state building." -The Commentator