Rethinking crises and the accretion of executive power: The "war on terror" and conditionality evidence from seven political systems

John E. Owens, Riccardo Pelizzo

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External shocks to democratic systems are likely to threaten the stability of relations between the executive and the representative assembly. This article investigates the impact of the so-called "war on terror" on executive-assembly relations in comparative perspective. We analyze data from seven countries, which varied in terms of form of government, level of democracy, culture, social structure, and geographic location, to evaluate its effects. We find that whereas in some systems the "war on terror" altered the balance of power between the executive and the assembly, in other cases the extant balance of power was preserved. We postulate various conditions under which the constitutionally sanctioned balance of power is most likely to be preserved in times of crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-336
Number of pages16
JournalAsian Politics and Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013



  • Carl Schmitt
  • Constitutional dictatorship
  • Executive-assembly relations
  • Separation of powers
  • War on terror

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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