The Philippine presidency in Southeast Asian perspective : imperiled and imperious presidents but not perilous presidentialism

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-345
Journal / PublicationContemporary Politics
Issue number3
Online published11 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018



Among the neglected cases of presidential systems in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is particularly interesting as the oldest in the region and as a ‘pure’ case of presidentialism which provides seemingly strong evidence for its ‘perilousness’. ‘First wave’ presidentialism theory appears to explain how competing legitimacy claims between a president and the legislature contributed to the downfall of a sitting president (Joseph E. Estrada in 2001). Yet, Philippine presidents have usually dominated other branches of government. O’Donnell's concept of ‘delegative democracy’ helps elucidate the hegemonic position of Philippine presidents generally and sheds light on the illiberally transgressive nature of the Marcos and Duterte presidencies in particular. When these twin perils of imperiled and imperious presidents are examined regionally, however, striking parallels are apparent in parliamentary Thailand while the Indonesian case provides a contrasting example of a relatively stable presidential system.

Research Area(s)

  • Philippines, presidentialism, delegative democracy

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