The prerogatives granted to the state president are essential determinants of any constitutional system. It is above all the amount of legislative and political power enjoyed by the president which automatically defines the positions occupied by the legislators and the executive in the political system. However, even if the political system as such is sufficiently balanced, it finally depends on the specific political actors whether a political regime in a democratic or in an authoritarian direction. In this context, the election modus of the president should be given particular consideration.
Examples from West European democracies and East European countries in transition will be cited to illustrate problems, but also "lessons learned" in establishing working democratic systems.