Crisis and rapid reequilibration: The consequences of presidential challenge and failure in latin America

Kathryn Hochstetler, David Samuels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Since 1978 when Juan Linz posited his fears about the "perils of presidentialism," presidential democracies have been less likely to break down. Nonetheless, presidents continue to confront challenges. Between 1978 and 2006, 30 percent of all democratically elected presidents worldwide faced serious efforts to remove them from office, and 12 percent were forced out before their terms ended. While scholars have explored the sources of these crises, focusing on their effects is equally important. If such crises have profound consequences, then even with regime collapse not at issue, presidentialism would remain associated with normatively bad outcomes. Yet if challenges or failures have minimal effects, then early presidential exit may represent an underappreciated equilibrating mechanism. The evidence indicates that the challenges and falls in Latin America cause only superficial and ephemeral damage to democratic governance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-145
Number of pages19
JournalComparative Politics
Volume43
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011

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