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.


  • Democratization | 11/2022

    Praising the Leader: Personalist Legitimation Strategies and the Deterioration of Executive Constraints

    In contrast to much current concern, this article shows that liberal democracies seem to largely escape the negative repercussions of government discourses that increasingly stress the uniqueness of the ruler.

    Lennart Brunkert

    Dr. Christian von Soest

    Lead Research Fellow / Head of Research Programme "Peace and Security"

    GIGA Focus Latin America | 5/2022

    Back from the Depths: Brazil, the World and the EU after Lula’s Electoral Victory

    The Lula government will realign Brazil with its multilateral diplomatic traditions and be more in sync with EU foreign policy. But the country will face considerably more political and economic challenges vis-à-vis Lula’s first term in office.

    WDR5 | Interview | 31/10/2022

    Brasilien: "Lula muss es schaffen, Brücken zu bauen"

    Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva hat die Präsidentenwahl in Brasilien gewonnen. Für Lula werde es nun nicht leicht, das gespaltene Land zu einen, sagt Südamerika-Expertin Katharina Fietz: "Er wird noch von vielen mit Korruption in Verbindung gebracht."

    Katharina Fietz

    Doctoral Researcher

    Deutschlandfunk NOVA | Interview | 31/10/2022

    Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien: "Das Wahlergebnis zeigt, wie tief gespalten Brasilien ist"

    Es ist das knappste Wahlergebnis seit dem Ende der Militärdiktatur in Brasilien. Der Sozialist und Ex-Präsident Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva setzt sich gegen Amtsinhaber Jair Bolsonaro durch. GIGA-Forscherin Katharina Fietz kommentiert.

    Katharina Fietz

    Doctoral Researcher

    GIGA Talk | 25/10/2022

    Brazil’s Run-off Elections: Democracy at Risk

    Brazil, one of Global South’s largest democracies, is heading for the decisive second round of its presidential elections on Sunday 30 October. However, incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly threatened not to accept the vote if he should lose. At this GIGA Talk, we will discuss the consequences for Brazil and its relationship with Europe. Video now online!

    GIGA Focus Latin America | 4/2022

    Chile’s Constitutional Reform Process Rebooted

    Although Chileans are overwhelmingly in favour of a new constitution, in a referendum held on 4 September, 62 per cent of those who voted rejected the proposal drawn up by a democratically elected Constitutional Convention. The struggle for a new constitution is thus entering the next round.

    La Nación | Quote | 02/10/2022

    Los tres peligros subterráneos de las democracias de Brasil y la Argentina

    Más allá de las amenazas evidentes, hay otros riesgos silenciosos que erosionan la confianza los ciudadanos en el sistema político al que llegaron con tanto anhelo y dificultad hace casi 40 años.

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow

    Infographic | 08/2022

    Do COVID-related Legal Measures Shrink Civic Space?

    How COVID-related measures have changed the civil society space is illustrated in this infographic. The trend analysis was produced as part of the project "Context Matters - Country-Specific Politico-Economic Analyses, Conflict and Crisis Potentials, as well as Global and Regional Trends", funded by BMZ.


    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

    Eduardo Tamaki

    Doctoral Researcher

    Africa Spectrum | 11/2022

    Between Coups and Election: Constitutional Engineering and Military Entrenchment in Sudan

    In this article, Hager Ali (GIGA), Salah Ben Hammou, and Jonathan Powell (University of Central Florida) investigate how armies re-entrench their power after thwarting democratic transitions.

    Salah Benhammou

    Ass. Prof. Dr. Jonathan Powell

    GIGA Focus Latin America | 5/2022

    Back from the Depths: Brazil, the World and the EU after Lula’s Electoral Victory

    The Lula government will realign Brazil with its multilateral diplomatic traditions and be more in sync with EU foreign policy. But the country will face considerably more political and economic challenges vis-à-vis Lula’s first term in office.

    GIGA Focus Latin America | 4/2022

    Chile’s Constitutional Reform Process Rebooted

    Although Chileans are overwhelmingly in favour of a new constitution, in a referendum held on 4 September, 62 per cent of those who voted rejected the proposal drawn up by a democratically elected Constitutional Convention. The struggle for a new constitution is thus entering the next round.

    The Loop - ECPR's Political Science Blog: Autocracies with Adjectives | 08/2022

    Control over Militaries is the Forgotten Landmark of Democracy after Imperialism

    When democracies’ most basic features lose their distinctive edge, differentiating regime types becomes a problem for scholars of democracy and autocracy alike. Hager Ali aims to redraw demarcations between regimes across the political spectrum. To do so, she argues that civilian control over militaries is just as fundamental as suffrage

    Hager Ali

    Doctoral Researcher

    Infographic | 08/2022

    Do COVID-related Legal Measures Shrink Civic Space?

    How COVID-related measures have changed the civil society space is illustrated in this infographic. The trend analysis was produced as part of the project "Context Matters - Country-Specific Politico-Economic Analyses, Conflict and Crisis Potentials, as well as Global and Regional Trends", funded by BMZ.

    GIGA Talk | 25/10/2022

    Brazil’s Run-off Elections: Democracy at Risk

    Brazil, one of Global South’s largest democracies, is heading for the decisive second round of its presidential elections on Sunday 30 October. However, incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly threatened not to accept the vote if he should lose. At this GIGA Talk, we will discuss the consequences for Brazil and its relationship with Europe. Video now online!

    GIGA Forum | 29/09/2022

    Attacking the Vote: Election Fears in Brazil and Beyond

    Many people fear rigged elections, when, on 2 October 2022, more than 150 million Brazilians are called to vote. President Jair Bolsonaro, seeking re-election, has repeatedly impugned the voting system. At this GIGA Forum, experts explore flawed, corrupt, or failed elections in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Video of event now online!

    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.

    Deutsche Welle | Mention | 18/11/2022

    Sudan's difficult path to democratic transition

    Sudanese protesters have been calling for the removal of a German diplomat from the UN mission to the country. Despite the fractious nature of post-dictatorship politics, there are some reasons for optimism.

    Salah Benhammou

    Ass. Prof. Dr. Jonathan Powell

    allAfrica | Mention | 18/11/2022

    Sudan: Nation's Difficult Path to Democratic Transition

    Sudanese protesters have been calling for the removal of a German diplomat from the UN mission to the country. Despite the fractious nature of post-dictatorship politics, there are some reasons for optimism.

    Salah Benhammou

    Ass. Prof. Dr. Jonathan Powell

    WDR5 | Interview | 31/10/2022

    Brasilien: "Lula muss es schaffen, Brücken zu bauen"

    Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva hat die Präsidentenwahl in Brasilien gewonnen. Für Lula werde es nun nicht leicht, das gespaltene Land zu einen, sagt Südamerika-Expertin Katharina Fietz: "Er wird noch von vielen mit Korruption in Verbindung gebracht."

    Katharina Fietz

    Doctoral Researcher

    25/10/2022

    Brazil’s Run-off Elections: Democracy at Risk

    Brazil, one of Global South’s largest democracies, is heading for the decisive second round of its presidential elections on Sunday 30 October. However, incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly threatened not to accept the vote if he should lose. At this GIGA Talk, we will discuss the consequences for Brazil and its relationship with Europe.

    29/09/2022

    Attacking the Vote: Election Fears in Brazil and Beyond

    Many people fear rigged elections, when, on 2 October 2022, more than 150 million Brazilians are called to vote. President Jair Bolsonaro, seeking re-election, has repeatedly impugned the voting system. At this GIGA Forum, experts explore flawed, corrupt, or failed elections in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

    29/09/2022

    Brownbag at Freedom House with Hager Ali on "Autocracies with Adjectives"

    Invited talk with Hager Ali on the Blog-Series "Autocracies with Adjectives", the most recent Nations in Transit-Report, and Hybrid Regimes.

    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.

    Office of the President

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