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Latin America

Constitutional Law

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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Replacing And Amending Constitutions: The Logic Of Constitutional Change In Latin America, Gabriel L. Negretto Dec 2012

Replacing And Amending Constitutions: The Logic Of Constitutional Change In Latin America, Gabriel L. Negretto

Gabriel L. Negretto

Since 1978, all countries in Latin America have either replaced or amended their constitutions. What explains the choice between these two substantively different means of constitutional transformation? This article argues that constitutions are replaced when they fail to work as governance structures or when their design prevents competing political interests from accommodating to changing environments. According to this perspective, constitutions are likely to be replaced when constitutional crises are frequent, when political actors lack the capacity to implement changes by means of amendments or judicial interpretation, or when the constitutional regime has a power-concentrating design. It is further argued that ...


Shifting Constitutional Designs In Latin America. A Two-Level Explanation, Gabriel L. Negretto Jan 2011

Shifting Constitutional Designs In Latin America. A Two-Level Explanation, Gabriel L. Negretto

Gabriel L. Negretto

Latin American countries have been riding a massive wave of constitutional change since 1978. One aspect of the political institutions selected as a result of this process seems particularly puzzling. Reforms that promote party pluralism and consensual decision making coexist, often within the same design, with other reforms that restrict party competition and foster concentration of power in the executive branch. This Article argues that constitutional choice is endogenous to the performance of preexisting constitutional structures and to the partisan interests and relative power of reformers. According to this theory, the seemingly contradictory trends of design that we observe in ...