Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

Lead Research Fellow


  • Short CV

    • Since summer term 2021: extraordinary Professor for "Democratic Institutions in the Global South" at the University of Erfurt; project "Democratic Institutions in the Global South" at GIGA

    • 08/2018 - 04/2021: Deputy equal opportunity commissioner at the GIGA

    • Since 05/2015: Head of RP 1 "Accountability and Participation"

    • 2014 - 2015: Acting Head of GIGA’s Research Program 1 “Legitimacy and Efficiency of Political Systems”

    • 2009 - 2015: Speaker of the Research Team "The Politics of Courts and Constitutions", at GIGA’s Research Programme 1 "Legitimacy and Efficiency of Political Systems"

    • Since 2006: Researcher, GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies

    • 2001 - 2004: Project Researcher, Institut für Iberoamerika-Kunde, Hamburg

    • 2000: Visiting researcher, Universität Augsburg

    • 1993 - 1998: D.Phil. thesis in Political Science

    • Education: D.Phil in Politics, University of Oxford, St. Antony's College, U.K.; Postgraduate Programme on Social and Political History, Instituto Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Licenciatura in Political Science; Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Current Research

    • Political institutions in Latin America

    • Presidentialism

    • Latin American congresses

    • Latin American courts

    • President-Congress relations; president-court relations

    Countries and Regions

    • Latin America

    • Argentina

    • Brazil


    Memberships

    • Journal of Politics in Latin America

    Awards

    • 2022 Jewell-Loewenberg Prize in Comparative Politics
    • Founders Award 2015

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow

    T. +49 (0)40 - 428 25-766mariana.llanos@giga-hamburg.de

    Government and Opposition | 06/2022

    Cabinet Reshuffles in Latin America: A Function of Presidential Reputation

    In this article we propose an innovative comparative analysis of cabinet reshuffles in Latin American presidential systems, focusing on personal incentives as drivers of ministerial turnover.

    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!

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow

    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

    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

    Democratization | Taylor and Francis | 2022

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

    The term limits of presidents as a crucial institutional feature to safeguard democracy have often been contested by incumbents. The authors of this special issue 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

    Research Project | 15/01/2022 - 14/12/2024

    COVID-19 and Executive Personalization in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the MENA Region

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, political leaders reacted by containment measures that, next to combating the spread of the pandemic, also presented a window of opportunity to bolster executives’ personal grasp on power. Personalization of power has been particularly worrying in the Global South where constraints on the chief executives were often already weak prior to the pandemic. This project assesses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the personalization of executive power in 36 countries of the Global South.
    DFG, 2021-2024

    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

    Research Project | 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2021

    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

    Research Project | 01/12/2018 - 30/06/2022

    Latin American Courts Going Public: Institutional Innovations for Social Participation in the Judicial Decision-Making Process

    Since two decades, constitutional and supreme courts in Latin America increasingly have been engaging with the public: for instance, they include the perspectives of civil society through public hearings or extensively use social media to inform about their work. This new court behavior stands in stark contrast to the traditional image of the judges as distant from the people and it could potentially have strong effects on the role of courts in the political system and the quality of democracy. This project is the first to investigate this phenomenon in a comparative perspective for all democratic Latin American countries.
    DFG, 2018-2022

    Deutsch Welle | Quote | 31/10/2022

    Con Lula, en Brasil ganó la búsqueda del centro

    El resultado de las elecciones en Brasil no solo tuvo en vilo a los brasileños, sino a toda América Latina. La ajustada victoria de Lula da Silva abre interrogantes. ¿Cómo influirá este giro a la izquierda en la región?

    T-Online Nachrichten | Quote | 02/10/2022

    Bricht die Hölle los, wenn Bolsonaro verliert?

    Jair Bolsonaro droht als Präsident Brasiliens die Abwahl. Doch eine Niederlage will er nicht akzeptieren. Stehen dem Land unruhige Zeiten bevor?

    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.

    Speaker | 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.

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow

    Speaker | 18/10/2022

    Trayectorias de investigación sobre instituciones democráticas

    Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla Puebla: 18/10/2022

    La Semana de la Ciencia Política “Origen, vigencia y perspectivas de la Ciencia Política”

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow

    Moderator | 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.

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow

    Teaching | University of Erfurt | 2022

    Democratic Institutions and Policy Making

    This seminar studies the formal institutions that must converge in order to deliver a policy outcome. We concentrate on five major themes: the electoral cycle, dynamics of executive-legislative relations, decision-making between national and sub-national levels of government, the judiciary and the protection of rights, and mechanisms for direct democracy.

    Teaching | University of Erfurt | 2021

    Democratization and Autocratization in the Global South

    University of Erfurt Erfurt Germany

    According to the latest Freedom House’s report, global democracy is in further decline, with the number of countries experiencing deterioration outnumbering those with improvements by the largest margin since this negative trend began to be observed 15 years ago. In this course, students are familiarized with three successive developments in global democracy as well as with the political science concepts and literature that have accompanied these trends: first, the inception of the third wave of democratization in the 1970s-1990s; second, democratic recession and problems in the quality of consolidating democracies; third, developments leading to democratic erosion and backsliding. Students will learn to work with key concepts and indicators related to each of these trends. They will work with case studies.

    Teaching | Universität Hamburg | 2014

    Presidential Power and Its Limits

    Universität Hamburg Hamburg Germany

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