A path-breaking, highly innovative comparative study in state building by a major political scientist, Comparative Constitutional Engineering examines in detail the variant forms of democratic government in their merits, failures and attendant problems.
Sartori begins with a discussion of electoral systems, arguing against the conventional wisdom that their 'influence' cannot be predicted, cleaning up their classification, and bringing back into prominence the double-ballot formulas. In the process he disputes the view that proportional representation is always best and leads to 'consensus democracy'. He then turns his analytic eye to a comparative assessment of presidential versus semi-presidential systems. He continues with a discussion of the varieties of formulas that are categorized, somewhat misleadingly, as parliamentary systems, probing the conditions that affect their respective performances.
He concludes with a proposal, outlined in detail, for a new type of government: alternating presidentialism. Underlying this proposal is Sartori's awareness of the need to combine strong parliamentary control with efficient government. To combat the paralysis to which Western politics are prone, he suggests a legislative process that allows neither parliamentary obstructionism nor government by decree. Such a proposal will be of interest to a number of Latin American countries (all the way from Mexico to Brazil) and is of particular relevance for dysfunctional parliamentary systems (such as those of Italy and Israel) as well as the post-communist countries.
"Delightfully written, this monograph will be a staple of courses on comparative constitutional design ... I can think of no better example of contemporary political "engineering" than this, and it is precisely this product of research that students of comparative politics must attempt." -Peter C. Ordeshook,Political Science Quarterly "Democratic constitutional engineering is tricky, yet consequential, nowadays more than ever. I can hardly think of a better proof of this double assertion than the one provided by the latest book by Giovanni Sartori, possibly the most astute and passionate student of constitutional engineering ... Mine is an invitation to read the book, indeed to unwrap and savor it. Rarely has constitutional engineering been more salient to the future of expanding democracy." -G. DiPalma,The Review of Politics "The last book of Giovanni Sartori is a beautiful work that ranks among his very best writings. It is very concise, for it deals only with essentials, and yet covers all the basics of his subject matter; and Sartori always takes a crystal-clear stand on the many controversies that he covers." -G. Bognetti,Il Sole/24 Ore "Despite the seemingly endless volume of literature on democratic institutions, no text even comes close to formulating the kind of comprehensive and critical synthesis one finds in this elegant new book by Sartori." -P. Vannicelli,Los Angeles Monthly "Giovanni Sartori, internationally recognized political scientist, has written a pathbreaking, highly innovative comparative study of state building." -The Commentator
Number Of Pages: 229
Published: 1st October 1994
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 14.0 x 1.75
Weight (kg): 0.42