Checking Executive Power

Presidential Impeachment in Comparative Perspective

by Jody C. Baumgartner, ed., Naoko Kada


Examines the presidential impeachment process in such varied settings as the United States, Russia, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, the Philippines, and Madagascar.

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Cover image for Checking Executive Power

October 2003


Pages 208
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Politics, Law, and Government/Comparative Politics
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Baumgartner, Kada, and thier contributors examine presidential impeachment in such varied settings as the United States, Russia, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, the Philippines, and Madagascar. In all of these countries there has been a serious impeachment attempt within the past decade or so. The results of each impeachment attempt vary, from unnsuccessful attempts to those which were successful; in the latter case, some resulted in presidents remaining in office, others in removal of the president, and, in one case, the forced resignation of a president.

The common framework of each analysis includes a discussion of the historical and constitional bases of the presidency, the institutional balance of power, provisions for impeachment, and the structure of party politics in each country; in addition, the role that public opinion plays in the process is discussed. While broad, the framework permits comparison between the cases and some general conclusions about all phases of the impeachment process and executive accountability can be drawn. One of the most important conclusions is that contrary to popular wisdom, impeachment is most definitively not a strictly legal process, but rather one that is highly political from start to finish. As the volume makes clear, it is most useful to view impeachment by way of examining the intersection of executive-legislative relations, partisan political conflict, and public opinion.

Table of Contents

Comparative Presidential Impeachment: Introduction by Jody BaumgartnerThe Political Nature of Presidential Impeachment in the United States by William B. PerkinsWeak Institutions and Strong Movements: The Case of President Estrada's Impeachment in the Philippines by Yuko KasuyaPresidential Impeachment and the Politics of Survival: The Case of Columbia by Anibal S. Perez-Linan and Victor J. HinojosaMadagascar: Impeachment as Parlimentary Coup D'etat by Philip M. AllenImpeachment, Russian Style (1998-99) by Jody BaumgartnerImpeachment as a Punishment for Corruption? The Cases of Brazil and Venezuela by Naoka KadaComparative Presidential Impeachment: Conclusions by Naoko KadaEndnotesRecommended Readings



The chief contributions of this collection of essays on presidential impeachment are threefold. First, its comparative perspective on presidential perspective brings insight into the promises and problems of presidential systems as an increasingly popular but difficult form of democratic governance. Second, its examination of impeachment from a decidedly political science perspective offers an important alternative to the legalistic perspective that dominates the literature on impeachment. Third, the volume brings to light limitations in the impeachment process as a means of deterring and punishing corruption in the executive branch....Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and graduate students of comparative politics or presidential studies.—Choice

[T]hese essays are by no means a ringing endorsement for impeachment. Instead, they offer immensely useful insights into the limitations of impeachment as a check on presidential misconduct....undoubtedly helps sharpen our understanding of the utility of the different constitutional mechanisms around the world for handling presidential impeachment.—Political Science Quarterly

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