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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GIGA Authors

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 Research Programme 1 “Accountability and Participation.” Her research focuses on comparative political institutions, particularly presidentialism, presidential studies, and judicial politics in Latin America.

Recent Publications by the Authors

Magna Inácio / Mariana Llanos

Presidential Pathways and Profiles

in: Ruby B. Andeweg / Robert Elgie / Ludger Helms / Juliet Kaarb / Ferdinand Muller-Rommel (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Political Executives, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming July 2020

Charlotte Heyl / Mariana Llanos

Presidential Term Limits in Africa and Latin America: Contested but Resilient

GIGA Focus Global, 01/2020

Mariana Llanos / Jayane Maia

Argentina 2019: Broken Economy, Strengthened Democracy

GIGA Focus Latin America, 06/2019

Mariana Llanos

The politics of presidential term limits in Argentina

in: Alexander Baturo / Robert Elgie (eds.), The politics of presidential term limits, Oxford University Press, 2019, 473-494

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