4.3-4.5lapol - Latin American Politics April 3 2007...

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Latin American Politics 03/04/2007 16:42:00 April 3, 2007 Democratic survival without democratic consolidation Two challenges 1) governability: how well can they govern? o Gets at question of combining democracy w/ effective policy-making 2) accountability: to what extent are elected leaders accountable to oversight? There are tensions between accountability and governability Accountability can make for a “messy” policy-making environment There’s no one solution to these two challenges, since maximizing accountability may make government more difficult and vice versa As we study democracy in Latin America in 1990s, our goal should be to identify sources of these challenges Accountability Horizontal accountability : extent to which other branches of gov’t can check the president Vertical accountability : extent to which president is responsive to the voters When there’s high accountability to both, it’s a representative democracy When there’s low accountability to both, it’s an authoritarian government When there’s high horizontal but low vertical, it might be something like a junta Guillermo O’Donnell this week talks about delegative democracy , which he places in the (high vertical, low horizontal) area He claims that these governments create crises since leaders are not accountable to one another, which allows for huge shifts in policy
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In this environment, programs can fail quickly and public opinion can change rapidly, which hurts policy continuity Delegative democracy Tend to remain democratic no effort to mobilize masses; leaders merely need to appeal to large # of voters via TV ( telepopulism ) Commonalities among telepopulists like Menem, Garcia, and Chavez Campaigns are very personalists Popular among poor and informal sectors Vague policy agenda Have little respect for institutions of politics, including their own political parties Key factors distinguishing delegative democracy from representative is the lack of accountability to other branches of government This means these leaders can often rule by decree and in a sweeping fashion, rather than taking small steps and waiting for approval from congress or the courts However, if these sweeping changes fail, these governments lose all popular support – they go from omnipotent to impotent In some places like Chile, delegative democracy does not arise If that’s the case, then why does delegative democracy arise in some places and not in others? Two explanations for delegative democracy 1) economic crisis O’Donnell argues that this is a key cause for delegative democracy high inflation or other problems creates a need for reform and a leader who is above the corrupt/inept bureaucracy, congress, or political parties leaders will appeal directly to the population rather than the institutional political arena so, you win elections by promising one thing (like no big changes, populist policies,
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4.3-4.5lapol - Latin American Politics April 3 2007...

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