Universiteit Leiden

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Symposium on Political Parties and Government Survival in Latin America

On Monday 4 September, Professor Christopher Martinez, from the Universidad de Concepción (University of Concepción), Chile, was invited by the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law to introduce his forthcoming book at our university.

The title of his book is ‘Why Presidents Fail. Political Parties and Government Survival in Latin America’, to be published by Stanford University Press in the coming weeks. The symposium started with an introduction by Professor Wim Voermans who placed the topic in the context of broader discussions on presidentialism and democratic survival. He also mentioned the global interest in the debates currently taking place in Chile on the constitution-making process.

Professor Martinez then introduced the main arguments, evidence and findings of his research. He highlighted the centrality of political parties in securing the orderly conduct of government and the democratic continuity of presidencies in Latin America. After his presentation, two discussants commented on critical aspects of the book. First, PhD candidate Elina Zorina, from the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University, commented on methodological and empirical aspects of the book, raising constructive suggestions. Second, Professor Luisa Netto, from the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law, focused on more theoretical considerations as well as stressing the particularities of the Brazilian case for further understanding the pros and cons of presidentialism. 

Finally, participants from Leiden University as well as guests commented on the presentations and also raised questions particularly on matters of comparing the situation in Latin America with the state of political parties in Europe. 

The event was organised and moderated by PhD candidate Esteban Szmulewicz Ramírez, of the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law, as part of the ongoing programme of lectures and seminars with external guests that the department has been conducting.

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