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


    Eduardo Tamaki

    Doctoral Researcher


    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

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

    Research Questions

    In this project, funded by the Leibniz Programme for Women Professors and conducted in cooperation with the Universität Erfurt, researchers engage with the in-depth, context-bound study of political institutions in their country or region of expertise, while remaining sensitive to similar developments in other regions of the world. The main research questions are:
    (1)Under what conditions can powerful executives in consolidating democracies be rendered accountable?
    (2)How do incumbents go about institutional constraints? When are they prone to adhere to existing constitutional rules or instead inclined to bending or changing such rules? Which rules do they tinker with, through which mechanisms, and with which results?
    (3)Under what conditions do democratic institutions have the power to challenge powerful presidents? How do institutions build capacity to prevent presidential abuses of power? What role do courts and legislatures play as control institutions?
    (4)What is the impact of troublesome inter-institutional relations on the quality of democracy and democratic survival?

    Contribution to International Research

    By answering these questions, the project contributes to different bodies of academic scholarship: the burgeoning literature on democratic backsliding and autocratization, extensive comparative politics literature on presidential powers and their constraints, and the diverse contributions from area studies on the workings of political institutions in individual countries. A central goal of this project is to engage and to train young scholars in the analysis of democratic institutions and their policy and politics implications. In addition, the project aims to sensitize decision-makers, civil society actors, and citizens on the importance of democratic institutions for the future of global democracy.

    Research Design and Methods

    The project undertakes context-sensitive comparative research on democratic institutions within and across the regions of the Global South. This research strategy aims to enrich our understanding of political institutions in different ways, such as through the incorporation of conceptual and theoretical perspectives that are used to understand similar phenomena in different world regions or by highlighting the specificities of certain regional and subregional institutional developments. The project embraces the cooperative research agendas of the principal investigator, postdoc researchers and doctoral researchers. Current research topics include the politics of presidential term limits in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, presidential impeachments, institutional innovations in the judiciary, and multilevel party systems in Latin America.

    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

    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


    RISING Global Peace Forum 2021

    Coventry University Coventry : 11/11/2021

    RISING is a threeway partnership between the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, the Cathedral and City Council. It’s a vital part of the Coventry’s unique city of peace and reconciliation status. RISING brings together leading politicians, policymakers, academics and community organisers to discuss and promote new ways to make and sustain peace, both in local communities and on an international level. It highlights the extensive work undertaken at the university to create impact worldwide through its portfolio of research on peace and security. Participation at the event is open to anyone with an interest in creating peaceful communities.The 2021 theme is Leadership for Peace, with a full line-up of speakers to be confirmed in the coming weeks.


    Sign up to receive email notifications about GIGA activities

    Social Media

    Follow us