Original Article

French Politics

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 402-428

First online:

The government in two semi-presidential systems: France and Portugal in a comparative perspective

  • Gianluca PassarelliAffiliated withDipartimento di Scienza Politica, University of Bologna

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France and Portugal have the same form of semi-presidential government. Even though the powers of their respective presidents and their political systems have been extensively investigated, the literature on the role of government operations is less comprehensive. This article analyses the organization of the government, focusing on how semi-presidential governments function and highlighting the recruitment and background of ministers, as well as the role of the president and prime minister. Semi-presidential governments function differently according to the degree of concordance between the presidential and the parliamentary majorities – in other words, whether or not there is cohabitation. The organization of government can be hierarchical or collegial, depending on the balance of power between the two heads of the executive.


semi-presidentialism government president prime minister France Portugal