Mariana Llanos / Leiv Marsteintredet

The Limits of Presidential Impeachment: Lessons from Latin America 1

Routledge Studies in Latin American Politics | 2023

  • Abstract

    This chapter revisits presidential impeachments in Latin America, an important in-between-election accountability mechanism against presidential misconduct. Since the third wave of democratisation, and especially in the last ten years, congressional pressure and/or legislative votes have become the prevalent way to force a president prematurely out of office. However, the use of impeachment in practice has made apparent the limits of this tool. This chapter assesses such errors and makes a theoretical contribution to the literature in elaborating on them. We name them Type 1 and Type 2 errors, respectively: the first marking an impeachment process that leads to the removal of a president on tenuous grounds, whereas the latter refers to the failure to impeach a president despite their apparent unlawful or undemocratic behaviour. We illustrate these errors with the cases of Peru since 2018 and Brazil since 2019, arguably extreme instances of Types 1 and 2, respectively. Yet, we also show that the solutions that have been presented as alternatives to impeachment may have their own shortcomings, too.

    Published in

    Latin America in Times of Turbulence


    Mariana Llanos

    Leiv Marsteintredet


    Routledge Studies in Latin American Politics









    New York

    Prof. Dr. Leiv Marsteintredet

    Prof. Dr. Leiv Marsteintredet

    Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen

    GIGA Focus Latin America | 6/2023

    Crisis in the Andes: The Rise (and Fall?) of Two Women Leaders

    Women, often seen as political outsiders, bring renewal during crises but face added challenges. Examining Jeanine Añez and Dina Boluarte in Bolivia and Peru respectively reveals these dynamics, shedding light on the potential implications for future female political leaders.

    David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies | 10/10/2023

    “Why Presidents Leave Early: New or Continued Political Instability?”

    Organiser: David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos (Speaker)

    Panelists reflected on how well their past work explains the recent inter-branch crises in Peru and Ecuador. Do the same theoretical frameworks still apply or did we see new dynamics develop during these recent crises that went against their predictions?


    Sign up to receive email notifications about GIGA activities

    Social Media

    Follow us