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The Quality of Democracy in Latin America

The Quality of Democracy in Latin America

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The Quality of Democracy in Latin America

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  1. The Quality of Democracy in Latin America Maxwell A. Cameron Poli 332 March 1, 2010

  2. Dimensions • Electoral • Constitutional • Citizenship

  3. Electoral • Right to vote and run for office • Clean elections • Free elections • Elected officials

  4. Constitutional • Checks and balances • Judicial independence • Civilian control over military

  5. Citizen Participation • Three generations of rights • Active participation • Constitutional change by democratic means

  6. (A) Electoral Democracy at Risk?

  7. Popular leaders, dirty elections • Hugo Chávez & Alvaro Uribe • Irregularities in elections

  8. Venezuela: “Lista Russian” • Comptroller general bans candidates • Violation of the right to run for office

  9. Colombia: La Parapolitica • 81 investigations, 32 sentences • Violence in election process • Paras, narcos, guerrillas

  10. (B) Concentration of Power

  11. Venezuela - Chávez • No checks and balances. • No judicial independence • Uncertainty over alternation

  12. Bolivia Morales Checks and balances Yes, congress • CA process • Now has majority No • Weak party system • Emergence of single party

  13. Judicial Independence Threatened in Bolivia • Constitutional tribunal closed, then stacked • Appointments to supreme court

  14. Ecuador - Correa • Conflict among branches of power • Disputes involve the election authority and constitutional tribunal

  15. Colombia - Uribe • 1991 constitution • Judicial independence • Re-election threat

  16. (C) Citizens’ Democracies Under Construction

  17. Participation • Referenda • Recall • Initiative by citizens • Community councils • Participatory budgeting

  18. Venezuela Community Councils • 26,000 • Presidential commission • Mayors and governors

  19. Bolivia • MAS as instrument • Agrarian reform • Municipal government • Juridical pluralism

  20. Ecuador New constitution • Recall, citizen initiative • Participatory budgeting • New civil society organs • Undermining parties?

  21. Perú Participation in Law Ley 26300 (Ley de referendos) • In practice, neglected • Eg Bagua

  22. Chile • No participation • Despite Bachelet’s efforts

  23. (D) Constituent Power • Creating hegemony? • Overcoming exclusion?

  24. Venezuela • Chávez’s role • Congress closed • Outcome • Constituent power as permenent process • Re-election • Consejos Comunales

  25. Bolivia • Social movement pressure • Congress not closed • No super majority • Negotiation • Hybrid outcome

  26. Ecuador • Presidential protagonism • Congress displaced • Participatory but not deliberative • 70,000 participants • Acosta’s resignation • Limited advances for indigenous

  27. Summary and Conclusions • Rankings not useful • Election irregularties serious • Constitutional problems pervasive • Participation where representation weak • Against two regoins • Colombia and Venezuela alike • Perú & Chile not participatory • Bolivia & Venezuela different in CA process