Duterte’s illiberal democracy and perilous presidential system by East Asia Forum

Controversial ‘strongman’ President Rodrigo Duterte seems to expose the precariousness of democracy and liberal institutions in the Philippines. The structural hazard of presidential systems, according to some, is competing claims to legitimacy between the chief executive and the legislature. But examples from Southeast Asia show it is populist leaders who attack institutional constraints on their power or opponents who are willing to undermine democracy to counter populism — not the presidential systems themselves — that are the true cause of democratic decay.

Duterte’s illiberal democracy and perilous presidential system

Author: Mark R Thompson, City University of Hong Kong

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