Legislative Coalition Size and Antigovernment Protests in Latin America

Ana Isabel López García


This work examines whether the size, as well as the composition, of legislative coalitions is an additional factor that affects the incidence of protests against national governments in Latin America. Based on aggregate data for 18 democracies from 1980 to 2014, the analysis reveals that the relationship between the size of legislative coalitions in the lower house of national assemblies and the odds of antigovernment protests is U-shaped. Specifically, the odds of antigovernment protests occurring decrease until the president has a coalition comprising 50–55 percent of the national assembly; once this threshold is passed, the odds of protests taking place increase as the coalition grows. This result holds after controlling for the party composition of the governing coalition and other factors previously linked to the occurrence of antigovernment protests. The evidence thus indicates that both minority and supermajority scenarios can be socially destabilizing for Latin American democracies.

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