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By Marcus André Melo, Carlos Pereira (auth.)

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Extra info for Making Brazil Work: Checking the President in a Multiparty System

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In addition to oversight by a strong and professionalized legislature, a constitutionally powerful executive also needs to be constrained by other independent checks-and-balances institutions including the judiciary, public prosecutors, media, and accountability agencies. By reconciling presidentialism and multipartism and illustrating how this institutional combination is capable of delivering good governance and sustainable democracy, our approach has set the stage for a more integrated and positive view of executive–legislative relations under multipartism.

Brazil and Chile were the object of great concern due to the fact that the presidential party share of vote was minimal. During Cardoso’s first term of office, the PSDB got hold of 12 percent of seats, while Lagos’s PS, in 2000, got 10 percent. In a context of lack of incentives for coalition formation, Brazil and Chile were anticipated to be crisis-ridden in the late 1990s and 2000s. Contrary to expectations, a few countries that have been unstable and have performed poorly in terms of democratic governance in the last decade were expected to be successful.

Conversely majoritarian systems by decreasing the number of effective political parties to a small set was expected to produce a robust party system, which in turn would be instrumental for the support of presidents. Moreover, Carey and Shugart argued that additional features were viewed as potentially decisive. These include the mechanisms of candidate selection (and the degree of control wielded by party leaders), the ballot structure, and the timing of executive and legislative elections. 8 The bottom line of the analytical perspective inaugurated by Shugart and Carey (1992) is that not all presidential regimes are prone to institutional crises.

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