Part 3: User’s guide

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Selection of research questions: Political institutions

Presidential and parliamentary democratic regime

  • Do the parliamentary and presidential types of democratic regimes have the same impact on government performance, or even on the quality of democracy?
  • What types of parliamentary coalitions can be formed and how does this process work?
  • Under which conditions can motions of no confidence be tabled and how do they impact political decision-making?
  • Under what circumstances can a South African president be impeached and what are the rules governing the process?
  • What is the strength of parliament vis-à-vis the executive in terms of steering the policy-making process?
  • How do presidents work with legislatures?
  • How do presidents employ their position as an equally elected branch of government?

The electoral system

  • How do different electoral rules regulate the levels of representation of different societal groups?
  • Is the current South African electoral system suitable for the country?
  • What is the expected duration and stability of cabinets in the different electoral system?
  • What determines the degree to which parties come together around certain classical political ideologies, as opposed to coalescing around cleavages formed across racial, regional, or ethnic lines?
  • What does it take for some parties to manage to cooperate successfully?
  • What is the party system in South Africa and how does it work?
  • What rules regulate the financing of political parties in South Africa?

Constitutional Courts

  • How involved should constitutional courts get in deciding national policy issues or mediating institutional conflicts?
  • What impact does the South African Constitutional Court have on political life in the country? 

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Selection of research questions: Political culture