Presidents Who Die Too Soon and Presidents Who Live Too Long. Term Limits and Succession in Presidential and Semi-Presidential Regimes

  • This cooperation project researches two important rules defining the presidential mandates, i.e. presidential term limits and succession rules, and their intersection in the presidential regimes of Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.
    DAAD/PPP, 2019-2021


    Aline-Sophia Hirseland

    Doctoral Researcher

    Michael Alvarez

    Prof. Dr. Leiv Marsteintredet

    Åsgeir K. Rabben


    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow

    Research Questions

    The main goal of this project is to explore synergies between the research teams working at the GIGA and the University of Bergen. By building a joint team that embraces a large regional and in-depth country expertise, this cooperation seeks, on the one hand, to enhance the quality of the two individual research agendas in terms of data collection and quality and, on the other hand, to refine existing theories and jointly contribute new theoretical knowledge on the intersection of two important rules defining the presidential mandates, i.e. presidential term limits and succession rules. This cooperation builds upon previous cooperation between the principal investigators, a collaboration that in fact started ten years ago with a NRC/DAAD funded project and led to several joint publications.

    Contribution to International Research

    This topic is highly relevant today when the world is experiencing a democratic backsliding. These new challenges to democracy often come from within rather than from outside the realm of civilian politics. Key to these processes are often incumbents' manipulation of both term limits and rules of succession. Combining the study of these two aspects of presidential regimes will allow us to explore better the mechanism and processes leading to democratic erosion. Curiously, while presidentialism and presidential powers are topics that have received a lot of scholarly attention, term limit rules and rules of succession are scarcely studied in conjunction. Although some large-N works already cover institutional reforms worldwide, specific country expertise is lacking on many cases, which is necessary for understanding causality and complexity in many of the cases where reforms of the two mentioned rules have been underway. The project aims to refine and add precision to existing data by bringing the two teams together.

    Research Design and Methods

    This project aims at strengthening academic cooperation between the two involved teams and institutions as well as to training young scholars in the research of political institutions in the Global South. The involved researchers produce context-sensitive research on political institutions in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, which expands and complements broad data indicators being used for quantitative purposes. Within the framework of the project, the research teams meet twice a year over two years in the two hosting institutions, where methodological questions are discussed along the substantive issues of the project.

    Legislative Studies Quarterly | 05/2021

    Oversight or Representation? Public Opinion and Impeachment Resolutions in Argentina and Brazil

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow

    Prof. Dr. Aníbal Pérez-Liñán

    Congress & the Presidency | 07/2021

    Impeaching the President: Mapping the Political Landscape in the House of Representatives

    The authors' main objective is to explain why and under what conditions legislators (co-)support impeachment resolutions against the president of the United States. We examine the impact of political, institutional and economic variables on the behaviour of legislators.

    Ass. Prof. Dr. Christopher Martínez

    Prof. Dr. Raymond Tatalovich

    GIGA Focus Latin America | 4/2021

    The Political Limits of Presidential Impeachment: Lessons from Latin America

    In presidential democracies, impeachment proceedings are an important mechanism for controlling executive powers. GIGA expert Prof. Mariana Llanos and Prof. Leiv Marsteintredet show in the GIGA Focus that impeachment proceedings can, however, also open the door to party-political interests and opportunism.

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow

    Prof. Dr. Leiv Marsteintredet


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