Bicameralism and the Dynamics of Contested Transitions

John Uhr, Stanley Bach, Louis Massicotte

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Modern representative democracy is structured around three dimensions or branches of power: executive, legislative and judicial. Conventional approaches to government transition tend to deal with only one: transitions in and out of executive power. Transitions in general are about new concentrations of power but democratic institutional design gives priority to dispersed governmental powers (Kane et al., 2009). Democracies disperse governmental powers across the three branches, which helps explain why incoming governments are so keen to use their influence whenever opportunities arise to stamp their authority on legislatures (e.g. by claiming ‘mandates’) and the courts (e.g. by appointing sympathizers). Some constitutional devices of dispersed power provide even more testing challenges for incoming governments: federalism, for instance, generates something of a plural executive, nesting incoming national governments in a wider set of political executives often with considerable power to affect the transition dynamics of newly elected national executives (Galligan, 2006)
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHow Power Changes Hands: Transition and Succession in Government
    EditorsPaul 't Hart and John Uhr
    Place of PublicationBasingstoke and New York
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd
    ISBN (Print)9780230242968
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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