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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: June 2019

V - The Effect of Crises on Constitutions

  • Edited by Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago, Mark D. Rosen, Illinois Institute of Technology, Georg Vanberg, Duke University, North Carolina
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • pp 283-326


By the end of the nineteenth century the vast majority of Latin American constitutions had presidents with a relatively high degree of autonomy from congress in the operation of government, reactive legislative power, and little or no power to promote legislative change. This design has changed radically; gradually in the early decades of the twentieth century, and more rapidly after the expansion of electoral democracy in the region since the late 1970s. One salient feature of this transformation is that whereas the government powers of presidents have generally decreased, their powers in the legislative arena, in particular to promote legislative change, have increased.