Download full paper (pdf)
About the Authors
Return to Entire Series

About the Working Paper Series:

This series of working papers is a response to the imperative for targeted expertise in support of constitution building in the wake of the Arab Spring. As one of the primary international institutions supporting constitution building in the Middle East and North Africa region, International IDEA commissioned leading international experts to produce research papers on specific issues of constitutional design that will need to be addressed by states in the region seeking more democratic institutional frameworks. International IDEA, together with Constitutional Transitions, has brought these papers together in this Working Paper Series.

Semi-Presidentialism as a Form of Government: Lessons for Tunisia

By Sujit Choudhry and Richard Stacey

Download the full paper (pdf)
Return to the Working Paper Series


This paper considers the range of institutional design options adopted in a selection of the world’s semi-presidential regimes. Through an extensive comparative analysis, this paper illustrates that the democratic performance of a semi-presidential regime depends to a great extent on the choices that are made among these design options. The Tunisian Constitutional Assembly has proposed a semi-presidential system of government, although there is an ongoing debate over the precise details. Drawing on global experiences, this paper offers comments on the April 2013 draft Constitution of the Republic of Tunisia, as a contribution to the constitutional process still underway.

Sujit Choudhry

Sujit Choudhry is the Cecelia Goetz Professor of Law at the NYU School of Law and Faculty Director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions at NYU Law (Constitutional Transitions). His edited collections include Constitutional Design for Divided Societies: Integration or Accommodation (Oxford, 2008) and The Migration of Constitutional Ideas (Cambridge, 2006). He sits on the Board of Editors of the International Journal of Constitutional Law, is a member of the Editorial Board of the Constitutional Court Review (South Africa), and is on the Board of Advisers for the Cambridge Studies in Constitutional Law. He is a member of the United Nations Mediation Roster, has been a consultant to the World Bank Institute at the World Bank, and has worked as a foreign constitutional expert in support of constitutional transitions in Egypt, Jordan, Libya and Tunisia (with International IDEA), Nepal (with the United Nations Development Programme and the Nepal Bar Association), and Sri Lanka (with the Forum of Federations and the Centre for Policy Alternatives).

Richard Stacey

Richard Stacey is the Director of Research at the Center for Constitutional Transitions at NYU Law (Constitutional Transitions). His publications include “Constituent Power and Carl Schmitt’s Theory of Constitution in Kenya’s Constitution-making Process” (2011) 9 International Journal of Constitutional Law 587, and “Independent or Dependent? Constitutional Courts in Divided Societies”, in Colin Harvey and Alex Schwartz (eds), Rights in Divided Societies (Hart, Oxford and Portland 2012, with Sujit Choudhry). He serves as co-editor of the multi-author reference work Constitutional Law of South Africa 2 ed (Juta, Cape Town 2007-), to which he has contributed chapters on socio-economic rights and executive authority. Between 2005 and 2010 he acted as an advisor on administrative law to the South African Department of Justice, and has advised the South African Parliament on matters of legislative drafting. In 2009, he acted as a consultant to Kenya’s Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.