Democratic Institutions under Stress

Democracy builds on common principles such as elections, division of power, and rule of law. In practice, democratic institutions often underperform due to executives overstepping powers, conflicts and power struggles causing stalemate in the policy process, and rule instability.


  • Audio contribution | 02/2022

    What Congress for Chile? Unicameralism, Bicameralism, and the New Constitution

    In 2022, Chileans will decide on a new constitution, which among many changes proposes a restructuring of the national congress. In this audio interview, hosted by GIGA, journalist Evan Romero talks with Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos and Ass. Prof. Dr. Christopher Martínez Nourdin to assess the impact of the potential amendments. Listen now!

    Evan Romero

    Ass. Prof. Dr. Christopher Martínez

    Democratization | 2022

    Contested, Violated but Persistent: Presidential Term Limits in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa: Introduction to Special Issue

    The term limits of presidents as a crucial institutional feature to safeguard democracy have often been contested by incumbents. The authors of this article argue that bringing together knowledge on Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa provides new empirical and theoretical insights.

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Accountability and Participation"

    Democratization | 2022

    Sequences of Presidential-Term-Limit Reforms: Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa

    In this article the authors take a longitudinal view on presidential-term-limit reforms in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa since the third wave of democratization. Many countries (re)introduced the measure as a democratic safeguard against abuse of power; since then, it has been repeatedly challenged.

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Accountability and Participation"

    Online Workshop | 02/12/2021 - 03/12/2021

    RedGob Workshop: Latin American Democracies in Crisis. Causes, Processes, and Remedies

    This workshop, organised by the GIGA, brings together renowned European and Latin American scholars from the Red Euro-Latinoamericana de Gobernabilidad para el Desarrollo to discuss and present their most recent research on the state of democratic institutions in Latin America. Los debates serán en inglés, español y portugués.

    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 / Head of Research Programme "Accountability and Participation"

    Prof. Dr. Leiv Marsteintredet

    Research Project | 01/05/2021 - 30/04/2026

    Democratic Institutions in the Global South (DEMINGS)

    This project contributes new knowledge on the functioning of democratic institutions in the Global South, their (in)efficacy to constrain powerful executives, and the effects of particular institutions on both democratic quality and regime stability. The focus is on countries with presidential constitutions, i.e., those with directly elected presidents, an institutional choice that extended worldwide in the last decades.
    Leibniz Competition, 2021-2026

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Accountability and Participation"

    Eduardo Tamaki

    Doctoral Researcher

    GIGA Working Papers | 07/2020

    Beyond Justices The Legal Culture of Judges in Mexico

    Do judges consider themselves political actors having a legislative role? To advance our understanding of the key determinants of judicial behavior, the author uses a survey with federal judges in Mexico to explore to what extent judges adhere to a positivist or a principle‐based constitutionalist legal culture.

    Azul Aguiar Aguilar

    Formerly Visiting Fellow

    Asian Survey: A Bimonthly Review of Contemporary Asian Affairs | 2021

    Coalitions during Transition: The Downfall of Pakatan Harapan in Malaysia

    The papers deal with the difficult transition in Malaysia after the 2018 elections. Since the defeat of the National Front coalition in 2018, politics in Malaysia is characterized by shifting coalitions and political instability. It is now unclear whether the political system is moving towards a form of electoral democracy.

    Dr. Andreas Ufen

    Senior Research Fellow / Research Team Spokesperson


    Research Project | 01/05/2021 - 30/04/2026

    Democratic Institutions in the Global South (DEMINGS)

    This project contributes new knowledge on the functioning of democratic institutions in the Global South, their (in)efficacy to constrain powerful executives, and the effects of particular institutions on both democratic quality and regime stability. The focus is on countries with presidential constitutions, i.e., those with directly elected presidents, an institutional choice that extended worldwide in the last decades.
    Leibniz Competition, 2021-2026

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Accountability and Participation"

    Eduardo Tamaki

    Doctoral Researcher

    Autocracies with Adjectives | 05/2022

    Autocracies with Adjectives: we need better Typologies of Authoritarian Regimes

    The study of regime types, Hager Ali argues, is imbalanced. Theories and concepts of democracy have received attention for decades. But amid the resurgence of autocracies, scholars of authoritarianism still do not have the luxury of nuanced typologies to dissect the broad spectrum of non-democratic regimes.

    Hager Ali

    Doctoral Researcher

    Blog article | 04/2022

    Germany’s Civil-Military Relations are a Multi-Partisan Failure

    The war in Ukraine heralded a drastic change in German defence and security politics. Years of austerity has stifled Germany’s army, the Bundeswehr, but Hager Ali argues that money is the least of it. Salvaging the Bundeswehr means reconfiguring German military professionalism – and fixing its relations with the public

    Hager Ali

    Doctoral Researcher

    British Journal of Politics & International Relations | 02/2022

    Populism and the Politicisation of Foreign Policy

    To what extent and how do populist leaders politicise foreign policy? Sandra Destradi, Johannes Plagemann, and Hakkı Taş find interesting differences between the public discourses of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Prof. Dr. Sandra Destradi

    Audio contribution | 02/2022

    What Congress for Chile? Unicameralism, Bicameralism, and the New Constitution

    In 2022, Chileans will decide on a new constitution, which among many changes proposes a restructuring of the national congress. In this audio interview, hosted by GIGA, journalist Evan Romero talks with Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos and Ass. Prof. Dr. Christopher Martínez Nourdin to assess the impact of the potential amendments. Listen now!

    Evan Romero

    Ass. Prof. Dr. Christopher Martínez

    Democratization | 2022

    Contested, Violated but Persistent: Presidential Term Limits in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa: Introduction to Special Issue

    The term limits of presidents as a crucial institutional feature to safeguard democracy have often been contested by incumbents. The authors of this article argue that bringing together knowledge on Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa provides new empirical and theoretical insights.

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Accountability and Participation"

    Online Workshop | 02/12/2021 - 03/12/2021

    RedGob Workshop: Latin American Democracies in Crisis. Causes, Processes, and Remedies

    This workshop, organised by the GIGA, brings together renowned European and Latin American scholars from the Red Euro-Latinoamericana de Gobernabilidad para el Desarrollo to discuss and present their most recent research on the state of democratic institutions in Latin America. Los debates serán en inglés, español y portugués.

    Cooperation Event | 30/11/2017 - 01/12/2017

    The Sustainability of Democracy in the Trump Era

    The Red Euro-Latinoamericana de Gobernabilidad para el Desarrollo is a network of renowned European and Latin American research institutions which aims to generate a space for the exchange of knowledge on the subjects of governability, public policy, institutional reform and development.

    Deutsche Welle | Interview | 18/03/2022

    Libyen: die unendliche Stagnation

    Hager Ali

    Doctoral Researcher

    Zenith Magazin | Article | 23/11/2021

    Militärcoup im Sudan: Warum das Militär im Sudan so viel Macht hat

    Hager Ali

    Doctoral Researcher

    Deutsche Welle | Quote | 04/10/2021

    Pandora Papers belasten die politische Klasse in Lateinamerika

    Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

    Lead Research Fellow / General Editor GIGA Focus Editor GIGA Focus Global

    08/04/2022

    Zivil-militärische Beziehungen und Sicherheitspolitik

    Other 08/04/2022

    03/03/2022

    The Challenges of Politics

    Instituto de Iberoamerica, Universidad de Salamanca Salamanca: 03/03/2022

    An Interview with Mariana Llanos by Manuel Alcántara

    02/12/2021 - 03/12/2021

    Latin American Democracies in Crisis

    Workshop 02/12/2021 - 03/12/2021

    RedGob Workshop: Latin American Democracies in Crisis. Causes, Processes, and Remedies

    President

    Prof. Dr. Amrita Narlikar is President of the GIGA. Her research focuses on international negotiations, economic statecraft, and multilateralism. She has a special interest in India, Asia, and the BRICS.

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