Magna Inácio / Mariana Llanos

The Institutional Presidency from a Comparative Perspective: Argentina and Brazil since the 1980s

GIGA Working Paper, No. 259, October 2014

Argentina and Brazil are governed by presidents with extensive authority. But who influences their political agenda? Magna Inácio and Mariana Llanos look at the players in the background.

Abstract
This paper focuses on the evolution of the institutional presidency – meaning the cluster of agencies that directly support the chief of the executive – in Argentina and Brazil since their redemocratization in the 1980s. It investigates what explains the changes that have come about regarding the size of the institutional presidency and the types of agency that form it. Following the specialized literature, we argue that the growth of the institutional presidency is connected to developments occurring in the larger political system – that is, to the political challenges that the various presidents of the two countries have faced. Presidents adjust the format and mandate of the different agencies under their authority so as to better manage their relations with the political environment. In particular, we argue that the type of government (coalition or single‐party) has had consequences for the structure of the presidency or, in other words, that different cabinet structures pose different challenges to presidents. This factor has not played a significant role in presidency‐related studies until now, which have hitherto mostly been based on the case of the United States. Our empirical references, the presidencies of Argentina and Brazil, and typical cases of coalitional as well as single‐party presidentialism respectively all allow us to show the Impact of the type of government on the number and type of presidential agencies.

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Dr. Mariana Llanos

Lead Research Fellow
Head of RP 1

Dr. Mariana Llanos is a lead research fellow at the GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies and head of GIGA’s Accountability and Participation Research Programme. She is the coordinator of the German team within the PROBRAL project “The Institutional Presidency in Latin America."

Recent Publications by the Authors

Mariana Llanos / Leany Lemos

Preferências Presidenciais? As indicações para o Supremo Tribunal Federal no Brasil Democrático

in: Marjorie Corrêa Marona / Andrés del Río (eds.), Justiça no Brasil: às margens da democracia, Belo Horizonte: Arraes Editores, 2018, 275-308

John M. Carey / Janvier Corrales / Mariana Llanos / Leiv Marsteintredet / Aníbal Pérez-Liñán

The threat of impeachment can push presidents out the door. But there’s a catch.

Washington Post, Monkey Cage, 2018

Sidney Chalhoub / Cath Collins / Mariana Llanos / Mónica Pachón / Keisha-Khan Y. Perry

Report of the LASA Fact-Finding Delegation on the Impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

Latin American Studies Association, 2017

Mariana Llanos / Magna Inácio

Government Changeover without a Majority – Latin American Presidents’ Executive Strategies

GIGA Focus Latin America, 04/2017

Mariana Llanos / Charlotte Heyl / Viola Lucas / Alexander Stroh / Cordula Tibi Weber

Ousted from the Bench? Judicial Departures in Consolidating Democracies

GIGA Working Paper, No. 300, April 2017