Party Systems in Latin America after the Third Wave: A Critical Re-assessment

Miguel Carreras


This essay calls for a more nuanced analysis of the evolution of party systems in Latin America. First, I contend that the general impression that party systems are collapsing in Latin America and that processes of partisan and electoral dealignment are affecting most countries in the region is incorrect. Second, I argue that the changes in the party systems (e.g. strategic moderation) often facilitated the processes of democratic consolidation in many Latin American countries. Finally, I discuss the positive impact the recent transformations of Latin American party systems have on political representation in the region, by showing that formerly excluded groups – especially indigenous groups – have been integrated into the political system.

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