What Sort of Semi-presidentialism do Finns Want? An Intra-systemic Comparative Analysis

David Arter, Anders Widfeldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Against the backdrop of moves by the political establishment, endorsed by political scientists, to shift towards a purely ceremonial presidency, this paper uses recent survey data to assess levels of popular support – and the socio-demographic structure of support – for two different types of semi-presidentialism in Finland. It represents an exercise in intra-country comparison – comparing public support for a return to the significant powers the head of state possessed under the 1919 constitution (Duvergerstyle semi-presidentialism) with backing for the more limited presidential prerogatives enshrined in the 2000 constitution (status quo semi-presidentialism). Correlation and multiple regression analysis of complementary data-sets led to two main findings. The vast majority of Finns seem content with the current limited powers of the president – status quo presidentialism – whilst among the minority that would apparently prefer a return to Duverger-style semi-presidentialism, there is a disproportionate number of persons with relatively low levels of formal education, low social status and predominantly left-wing party political persuasion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1278-1298
Number of pages21
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number6
Early online date21 Oct 2010
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • Models of Presidentialism
  • Comparative politics
  • Public opinion
  • Finland


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