Explaining Coalition Performance in Presidential Systems: The Importance of (a Parliamentary-style) Coalition Management

Mariana Llanos
This paper intends to contribute to the understanding of the differential performance of coalition governments in presidential regimes by stressing the impact of coalition management on coalition output. Indeed, the performance of a coalition government-particularly in terms of providing government stability and securing legislative majorities-can not be explained by resorting to a single factor. Various exogenous variables-institutional, political, cultural-pose constraints on the coalition
more » ... influence its format and type. However, as the literature on coalition management in parliamentary regimes suggests, these variables are not enough to understand why some coalitions are more durable than others. Looking at the environment in which coalitions operate (presidential or parliamentary; federal or unitary; divided or majority government) only tells a part of the story, and the picture of coalition life is only completed if we add the study of the endogenous practices and informal institutions through which coalitions operate. Then, the main argument of this paper is that the development of inter-party cooperative and fair relations within the coalition, or equally, the development of the appropriate mechanisms for the resolution of internal disputes, is a prerequisite for the success of any coalition experiment, both in presidential and parliamentary regimes. I illustrate the impact of coalition management on coalition performance by examining two cases, one of a failed (Argentina) and one of a successful (Chile) coalition.