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Presidential Term Limits: Comparing Reforms in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa

Mariana Llanos, GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies, Hamburg This lecture took place on 26 February 2021 as part of the CEDLA Lecture Series


In this lecture Dr. Mariana Llanos takes a longitudinal view on presidential-term-limit reforms in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa since the third wave of democratization. Many countries in the two regions (re-)introduced term limits as a democratic safeguard against personal rule and power abuses. Since then, term limits have been contested by a plethora of reform attempts. Such reforms are commonly seen as a risk to democracy. Her theoretical and empirical research (together with Charlotte Heyl ) shows that the stability of term-limit rules is more prevalent than expected, but that this stability sometimes masks institutional ineffectiveness in authoritarian regimes. Rule instability induced by frequent reforms can be part of a piecemeal path towards autocratization, but it can also reflect an open-ended tug of war between authoritarian tendencies and democratic resistance.






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