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The times of democratic involutions

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This paper examines the political processes whereby earlier optimism for democratic transition in the five Andean countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela) has given way more recently to a general weakening of democratic structures. While none has fallen into open dictatorship, they have all seen a gradual installation of a strong presidential executive, over which controls have been weakened; weaker parliamentary organisations; and traditional parties being supplanted by anti-political outsiders. Dividing recent history into two periods (Period 1, 1960s/70s; Period 2, 1980s/90s) he argues that these countries have gone through a double transition: of political regime and of the development model followed; and that neo-liberal adjustments have not sat well with democracy.

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