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Electoral behaviour trends and decentralisation in Colombia’s municipalities, 1988-2000

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The aim of this study is to show the trends of electoral behaviour in Colombia’s municipalities in relation to the decentralisation process. More specifically, based on a statistical analysis, it hopes to explain the relationship among the following variables: level of electoral participation, effective number of parties, decentralisation level, degree of socioeconomic development and levels of violence. The analysis of these aspects allows us to identify both the direct and indirect effects of political decentralisation on some dimensions of electoral democracy in the local sphere. The principal thesis of the study is that the electoral variables cannot be explained only by decentralisation, but rather that this process, together with the factors mention, have a relative impact on the observed trends in the formal political system. Among the results of the analysis, two aspects merit highlighting: first, the hypothesis that fiscal decentralisation acts as an incentive for the creation of new political movements that would compete for the distribution of public resources is not proven for the Colombian municipalities as a whole; second, armed conflict and violence have negative effects on the exercise of the right to vote. Political control by armed means is being consolidated via the direct coercion of voters or is degenerating into confrontations between the different armed groups, which impedes political participation through institutional channels.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/28199/1/wp57.pdf

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