Consolidating democracy in latin america

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The institutional ecology of many of these countries has also become one of the most diverse in the world, as representative institutions coexist with other forms of democratic decision making, such as plebiscites, participatory budgeting, citizen assemblies, national conferences, community councils, local and indigenous autonomies, town hall meetings, and constituent processes.These challenges to the liberal model of democratic governance have in most cases followed victories by left-wing parties and candidates, who have launched major efforts to overhaul their political systems.He remained as president till he died of cancer on 5 March 2013.The Chávez phenomenon has had strong demonstration and conta­gion effects beyond Venezuela.

Without ignoring the roles of mass publics and institutions, the authors conclude that in independent states with long records of political instability and authoritarian rule, democratic consolidation requires the achievement of elite "consensual unity"--that is, agreement among all politically important elites on the worth of existing democratic institutions and respect for democratic rules-of-the-game, coupled with increased "structural integration" among those elites.However, these regimes are often at odds with the electoral, constitutional, liberal, and representative attributes that are associated with democratic regimes.Even though elections are the only means of access to public office in most of the region, they frequently involve high levels of clientelism, harassment of the opposition, and unfair advantages for incumbents.Although the separation of powers is central to the constitutional design in most countries, a generalized tendency exists toward the concentration of power in the national executive through formal or informal mechanisms.In some countries, party systems have collapsed (e.g., Peru and Venezuela); in other countries, parties have become increasingly detached from civil society (e.g., Chile and Mexico), and, in others, social movements have replaced traditional parties (e.g., Bolivia).

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