Presidential Crises and Democratic Accountability in Latin America, 1990–1999

Susan Eva Eckstein and Timothy P. Wickham-Crowley

in What Justice? Whose Justice?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780520237445
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936980 | DOI:
Presidential Crises and Democratic Accountability in Latin America, 1990–1999

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Despite being awash in the democratization waves of the 1980s and beyond, Latin America saw substantial confrontations between the legislative and the executive. The attempt by both parties at achieving relative power over the other gave birth to a whole new field of inquiry. While autogolpes or self-coups became the weapon of the authoritarian executive, that of the legislative was impeachment. While in parliamentary democracy impeachment materializes through no-confidence motions, in presidential forms of government they lead to formidable confusion, and in the process, pave the way for prospective self-coups. This chapter seeks to trace the genesis of the impeachment crisis that characterized the 1990s. While the democratic surge of the 1980s bred political elites conscious of the hazards of military intervention, and unwilling to employ unconstitutional means to evict corrupt/ineffective presidents, the dilapidated development models and the 1980s debt crisis compelled the new governments to accelerate privatization and trade liberalizations.

Keywords: democratization; self-coup; impeachment; political elite; military intervention; debt crisis

Chapter.  12535 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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