Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

Lead Research Fellow | Co-Leader of the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies (ad interim)

Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos

  • Short CV

    • Since 08/2023: Co-Director of the GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies (ad interim)

    • 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

    • 05/2015 - 07/2022: 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 / Co-Leader of the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies (ad interim)

    T. +49 40

    Routledge Studies in Latin American Politics | 06/2023


    This concluding chapter analyses how and to what extent the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the course of or affected democratic institutions in Latin America by reviewing and assessing their reactions thereto.

    Prof. Dr. Leonardo Morlino

    Prof. Dr. Leiv Marsteintredet

    Routledge Studies in Latin American Politics | 06/2023

    Court–Executive Relations during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Business as Usual or Democratic Backsliding?

    This chapter assesses whether governments’ legal strategies to address the COVID-19 crisis were checked by courts or alternatively court–executive interactions resulted in diminishing court stature and declining democratic standards during the first two years of the pandemic.

    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

    Expert Comment / Guest Contribution | 16/11/2023

    Argentina’s Presidential Election: Massa, Milei and the Coming Runoff

    Argentina is set to hold the second round of its presidential election on November 19. Even if the results should be less contradictory this time, the political outlook stays grim.

    Perfil | Interview | 29/10/2023

    Mariana Llanos: “El programa de Milei es una reacción extrema a la incapacidad de la política”

    En esta entrevista, Mariana Llanos analiza cómo funcionan los sistemas presidenciales y parlamentarios, sus diferencias, principalmente haciendo referencia a Argentina y Brasil.

    Deutsche Welle | Quote | 11/10/2023

    Argentina: los candidatos ante un panorama de crisis

    Workshop | 13/10/2023

    Forty Years of Democracy in Argentina

    Breakdowns and (De)Democratization in South America and beyond, University of Trento, Trento Organisers: University of Trento Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos (Speaker)

    The 22 October 2023 general elections in Argentina commemorate 40 years of uninterrupted democratic rule. However, citizens are expressing discontentment and anger with the established parties. The prospects for democracy and the economy look gloomy in what should be a year of civic celebration.

    David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies | 10/10/2023

    “Why Presidents Leave Early: New or Continued Political Instability?”

    Organiser: David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University Prof. Dr. Mariana Llanos (Speaker)

    Panelists reflected on how well their past work explains the recent inter-branch crises in Peru and Ecuador. Do the same theoretical frameworks still apply or did we see new dynamics develop during these recent crises that went against their predictions?

    Teaching | University of Brasília | 2023

    Autocratization: Discussions on a Global Trend and Perspectives on Latin America

    Short Course for graduate students at the University of Brasília funded by the CAPES Print Programme.

    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 | 2022

    Democratization and Autocratization in the Global South

    In this course, students are familiarized with three successive developments in global democracy as well as with the political science concepts and literature.


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