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Failed presidencies and social protest in the context of Bolivian politics: Empirical evidence
Unformatted Document Text:  Siles Suazo Paz Estensoro Paz Zamora Sanchez de Lozada Banzer Suarez Jorge Quiroga Sanchez de Lozada Carlos Mesa 1982* 1985 1989 1993 1997**** 2001 2002** 2003** Coalition UDP (MNRI, PCB, MIR, DC) (MNR, ADN) (ADN, MIR) (MNR, MRTKL, UCS, MBL) (ADN, NFR, PDC, KND, FRI, MIR-NM, UCS, Condepa-MP) (ADN, NFR, PDC, KND, FRI, MIR-NM, UCS, Condepa-MP) (MNR, MBL, MIR-NM, ADN, FRI, NFR-PS, UCS-FSB) (Indep.) S D S D S D S D S D S D S D S D % Seats controlled by the governing coalition 37,04 36,15 88,89 64,62 59,26 54,62 66,67 60,77 85,19 73,08 85,19 73,08 70,37 74,62 - - Seats controlled by the Opposition 62,96 63,85 11,11 35,38 40,74 45,38 33,33 39,23 14,81 26,92 14,81 26,92 29,63 25,38 100** * 100*** Source: Boletín Estadistico N. 7, Año 3, CNE, own elaboration *The Congress was elected in 1980. In 1982 it was recalled to session to elect the president. **The 2003 Congress was the same as the 2002 ***Some members of Congress attempted to form a ‘grand’ coalition in support of the President. The patriotic faction (bancada patriótica) was never tested in Congress. ****Banzer fell ill and could not finish his term. His Vice president, Jorge Quiroga, finished the term in his place. Bolivia’s electoral system seems to confirm Duverger’s law (Duverger, 1972, Lijphart, 1994) due to the variety of political parties in its party system. One consequence of this has been that the vote has tended to disperse and consequently a majority government has been difficult to achieve on election day. Nonetheless, this is only half the picture, because the Bolivian electoral system is not purely presidential. It has a mechanism where it provides for the second round of an election to be carried out in Congress, known as the congressional vote. This mechanism, functioning in similar fashion to the parliamentarian system’s coalition building logic, was meant to provide incentives to form coalition governments with relevant legitimacy. Based on this mechanism and the experiences in the elections of 1978, 1979, 1980, when the usefulness of this mechanism became apparent, Bolivia has adopted a model of governability, denominated accorded democracy or democracia pactada. This model is basically a coalition-forming mechanism, where the different political forces agree on a policy path laid out in a contract, much like in parliamentarian systems. For the most part, during the 1990s, the accorded democracy model has been seen as a successful model for governability and democratic practices. It had the ability of bringing to life strong majority governments with solid congressional support. It was due to this model that even though individual candidates received only a fraction of the vote in any given election, the majority of the coalition governments emerging from Congress did not have to deal with the problems a minority government would have to deal with. Naturally, as the term 12

Authors: Buitrago, Miguel.
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background image
Siles Suazo
Paz
Estensoro
Paz
Zamora
Sanchez de
Lozada
Banzer
Suarez
Jorge
Quiroga
Sanchez de
Lozada
Carlos
Mesa
1982*
1985
1989
1993
1997****
2001
2002**
2003**
Coalition
UDP
(MNRI,
PCB, MIR,
DC)
(MNR,
ADN)
(ADN,
MIR)
(MNR,
MRTKL,
UCS, MBL)
(ADN, NFR,
PDC, KND, FRI,
MIR-NM, UCS,
Condepa-MP)
(ADN, NFR,
PDC, KND, FRI,
MIR-NM, UCS,
Condepa-MP)
(MNR, MBL,
MIR-NM, ADN,
FRI, NFR-PS,
UCS-FSB)
(Indep.)
S
D
S
D
S
D
S
D
S
D
S
D
S
D
S
D
% Seats
controlled by
the governing
coalition
37,04 36,15 88,89 64,62 59,26 54,62 66,67 60,77
85,19
73,08
85,19
73,08
70,37
74,62
-
-
Seats
controlled by
the Opposition
62,96 63,85 11,11 35,38 40,74 45,38 33,33 39,23
14,81
26,92
14,81
26,92
29,63
25,38
100**
*
100***
Source: Boletín Estadistico N. 7, Año 3, CNE, own elaboration
*The Congress was elected in 1980. In 1982 it was recalled to session to elect the president.
**The 2003 Congress was the same as the 2002
***Some members of Congress attempted to form a ‘grand’ coalition in support of the President. The patriotic faction (bancada patriótica)
was never tested in Congress.
****Banzer fell ill and could not finish his term. His Vice president, Jorge Quiroga, finished the term in his place.
Bolivia’s electoral system seems to confirm Duverger’s law (Duverger, 1972, Lijphart, 1994)
due to the variety of political parties in its party system. One consequence of this has been
that the vote has tended to disperse and consequently a majority government has been difficult
to achieve on election day. Nonetheless, this is only half the picture, because the Bolivian
electoral system is not purely presidential. It has a mechanism where it provides for the
second round of an election to be carried out in Congress, known as the congressional vote.
This mechanism, functioning in similar fashion to the parliamentarian system’s coalition
building logic, was meant to provide incentives to form coalition governments with relevant
legitimacy. Based on this mechanism and the experiences in the elections of 1978, 1979,
1980, when the usefulness of this mechanism became apparent, Bolivia has adopted a model
of governability, denominated accorded democracy or democracia pactada. This model is
basically a coalition-forming mechanism, where the different political forces agree on a policy
path laid out in a contract, much like in parliamentarian systems.
For the most part, during the 1990s, the accorded democracy model has been seen as a
successful model for governability and democratic practices. It had the ability of bringing to
life strong majority governments with solid congressional support. It was due to this model
that even though individual candidates received only a fraction of the vote in any given
election, the majority of the coalition governments emerging from Congress did not have to
deal with the problems a minority government would have to deal with. Naturally, as the term
12


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