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Parliaments and Citizens in Latin America

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This article examines the nature and strength of links between citizens and their parliaments in Latin America. Despite having much in common culturally and historically, Latin America's democracies have followed very different trajectories in developing citizen–parliament connections (CPCs). To understand the variation, the article first examines the types and levels of citizen engagement with legislatures in a context of strong presidentialism. It then examines the ways parliaments have facilitated the development of CPCs. In some cases (for example, Brazil and Chile), parliaments have developed effective programmes that have increased transparency and accessibility, while parliaments in other cases seem to have barely considered opening up. The last part of the article examines more closely how different political institutions have shaped the development of CPCs.

Keywords: Latin American legislative politics; citizen engagement; parliamentary transparency and accessibility

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond,VA, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2012


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