Separation of Powers

Discipline: Political Science

A political system where the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government are separate bodies, and do not have an overlapping membership.

Separation of powers is associated with the French political theorist Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755).

Separation of powers is a characteristic of presidential systems. It contrasts with fusion of powers, which is peculiar to parliamentary systems. (The separation of the judicial branch, however, is a common feature of parliamentary and presidential systems.)


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