Populism and Constitutional Reform in Latin America and the Caribbean
38 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2018
Date Written: November 24, 2018
While constitutions are supposed to be stable documents entrenching a set of rules of the political game, Latin American and Caribbean constitutional development has been characterized by frequent change and instability. We hypothesize that the Latin American tradition for populist governments and heads of state explains this tradition. Contrary to established parties and interests, populist tend to aim at securing the median vote and be supported by non-encompassing interests. They also depict themselves as outside the regular elite and oppose the regularly conduct of politics. It may therefore be in the particular interest of populists to change the constitution to suit their specific needs. Exploring the frequency and direction of constitutional reforms in 42 Latin America and Caribbean countries, we find evidence indicating that populists are more likely to amend the constitution to concentrate power.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation