Revisiting the Debate on Irish “Semi-Presidentialism”: Tradition or Evolution?
Ireland is generally (but often reluctantly) characterized as a semi-presidential model of government. The 1937 Constitution of Ireland provides that the President of Ireland must be elected by direct vote of the people, but also that the head of government and the cabinet are dependent on the confidence of the lower house of the legislature. A certain uneasiness around this semi-presidential categorization is linked to the weak powers of the Irish Presidency. Recently, academic discussion has been revamped in light of a perceived “activism” of the current President Michael D. Higgins. On foot of these recent occurrences, this short contribution revisits the role of the President in the Irish constitutional system, and reflects on its powers and prerogatives.
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