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


    • Journal of Politics in Latin America, Editor in chief, since 2021


    • 2022 Jewell-Loewenberg Prize in Comparative Politics, Legislative Studies Section of the American Political Science Association, 2022
    • Founders Award 2015, American Political Science Association (APSA), 2015

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow

    T. +49 (0)40 - 428

    Edited Volume | Routledge | 2023

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

    This book generates new empirical and theoretical insights by bringing together the scholarship on Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, providing context-bound intraregional research as well as long-term perspectives for the study of term-limit change. The chapters were originally published as a special issue of Democratization.

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow

    GIGA Focus Latin America | 6/2022

    Facing the Stress Test: Courts and Executives during the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Courts are highly relevant in controlling executive abuses of power in exceptional situations like the COVID-19 pandemic. Latin America’s courts were ready and able to set such limits. Illiberal presidents may heavily undermine judicial independence if they have the legislative support to do so.

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow

    Dr. Cordula Tibi Weber

    Research Fellow

    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

    Temuco Catholic University

    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

    SZ | Quote | 13/01/2023

    Bolsonaro zündelt wieder

    Nach den Ausschreitungen im Regierungsviertel der brasilianischen Hauptstadt verbreitet der Rechtspopulist weiter den Mythos vom Wahlbetrug - und das Land treibt eine Frage um: Könnte der Ex-Präsident am Ende im Gefängnis landen?

    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?

    Speaker | 22/01/2023

    Government and Congress

    The Online Event Series brings together scholars from Brazil and Europe to discuss the results of the 2022 elections in the context of the Brazilian political system, to draw a balance of the Bolsonaro presidency, and to provide an outlook on expected developments from 2023 onwards.

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow

    Discussant | 17/01/2023

    Lecture and discussion with author Bernd Rother of the book of the same name

    The event featured the book's presentation by Dr. Bernd Rother, Historian and Senior Fellow at the Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt Foundation and a subsequent discussion with Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos, Extraordinary Professor for Democratic Institutions in the Global South at the Brandt School.

    Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

    Lead Research Fellow

    Speaker | 05/11/2022

    Meet the Editor: Journal of Politics in Latin America

    University of Erfurt Erfurt: 05/11/2022

    Guidelines for PhD students on how to get published in a journal

    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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