Parliamentary and Presidential Systems: The Role of Parties and the Danger of Authoritarian Populism

  • Jean Blondel
  • Jean-Louis Thiebault


To flourish under liberal-democratic rule, a parliamentary or a presidential system does not depend primarily on the existence of strong leadership, but on the presence of strong political parties. The continuous existence of parties operating on lively liberal-democratic characteristics is the truly relevant factor: if parties with these characteristics decline, parliamentary and presidential systems are likely to experience crises. Currently, in Europe, some parties of the Right or Left have come to question the norms and/or the institutions of liberal democracies. Such attitudes may result in the rise of ‘populism’, a populism which is typically rather authoritarian and appears to threaten the characteristics of traditional parties, in Britain and other countries. So far ‘authoritarian populism’ has not led to major changes in the structure of liberal-democratic political systems, although this may be because institutional arrangements to replace that structure have not as yet been discovered.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean Blondel
    • 1
  • Jean-Louis Thiebault
    • 2
  1. 1.Robert Schuman Centre, European University InstituteFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.Institute of Political StudiesLilleFrance

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