Constitutions establishing presidential and semi-presidential systems of government are characterized by the parallel popular legitimacy of the legislature and the president.

Presidents in such systems ordinarily serve a guaranteed fixed term of office. Nevertheless, many constitutions in presidential and semi-presidential systems of government provide exceptional grounds and procedures through which a president may be removed before the end of their term. The grounds for and process of presidential removal are complex and can be contentious, often involving both legal and political considerations.

This Primer seeks to inform and aid decisions on the constitutional design of presidential removal processes through a comparative discussion of the diverse set of rules for presidential removal.


Publication date
15 June 2022
Adem Kassie Abebe
Number of pages
978-91-7671-550-5 (PDF)


1. Introduction

2. What is the issue?

3. Presidential removal
3.1. Removal through impeachment
3.2. Removal on grounds of physical or mental incapacity
3.3. Removal on political grounds (recall)
3.4. Concluding remarks

4. Decision-making questions

5. Examples


Give us feedback

Do you have a question or feedback about this publication? Leave us your feedback, and we’ll get back to you

Send feedback

Removal of Presidents

International IDEA's Constitution-Building Primer 23
Total views 2341
Downloads 35
Close tooltip