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Crisis and Rapid Reequilibration: The Consequences of Presidential Challenge and Failure in Latin America

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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.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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