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Legislatures and the New Democracies in Latin America

David Close, editor
ISBN: 978-1-55587-475-9
1995/174 pages/LC: 94-42491

"These essays offer fruitful insights into Latin American legislatures..."—Latin American Research Review

"Provides a wealth of useful information and analysis on the role of assemblies in the newly democratizing countries of Latin America.... It is concise but rich in detail and evidence."—J. Patrice McSherry, Journal of Third World Studies


Legislatures are indispensable parts of constitutional liberal democracies, controlling and criticizing the executive while voicing a wide range of opinions on public issues. This book examines the role of the legislature in the politics of democratic construction and consolidation in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Uruguay.

Analyzing the status and daily operations of these legislatures, the authors explore the demands made on government, government reactions to public debate and opposition, and whether important forces remain outside the formal machinery of democratic government—all vital issues in the process of democratization. In the process, they show each nation's progress toward open, competitive, tolerant politics.


David Close is professor of political science at Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada). His many publications include Nicaragua: Politics, Economics, Society.


  • Foreword—J. Bosley.
  • Introduction: Consolidating Democracy in Latin America: What Roles for Legislatures?—D. Close.
  • Mexico's Legislature: Missing the Democratic Lockstep?—R. Camp.
  • The Salvadoran National Legislature—J.Z. Garcia.
  • Nicaragua: The Legislature as Seedbed of Conflict—D. Close.
  • Argentina's New Democracy: Presidential Power and Legislative Limits—G.W. Wynia.
  • The Legislature and Democratic Transition in Brazi—D. Zirker.
  • Legislatures and Democratic Transitions in Latin America: The Chilean Case—N. Galleguillos and J. Nef.
  • Uruguay: The Legislature and the Reconstitution of Democracy—M. Weinstein.
  • Conclusion—M.C. Needler.