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The new left and democracy in Latin America

Author(s): Francisco Panizza

Journal: Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals
ISSN 1133-6595

Issue: 85-86;
Start page: 75;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Latin America | democracy | government | political parties | left-wing

Without embarking on a theoretical debate over the meaning of the term, it is obvious that the left is on the rise in Latin America. However, we should not ignore the fact that the coming to power of left-wing and centre-left parties and movements presents a certain amount of paradoxes and questions. One of the most important of the many paradoxes is the fact that, in spite of the leftwards electoral shift in the region, there is no evidence that the electorate of Latin America has moved to the left in a significant manner. As for the questions, these concern the connection between left-wing governments and democracy, and especially the future challenges that these governments must face to preserve and develop democracy. In an attempt to unravel the paradox and answer these questions, this article examines the roots, contexts and political challenges of left-wing governments in Latin America. To this end, the author analyses a number of issues, such as the tensions between different logics of political representation and their implications for democracy, in addition to discussing the conditions under which the tensions between the different logics of political representation can contribute (or not) to the developing of democracy in the region.
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