Political leaders can make a difference. They can start a war, sign a peace treaty, promote democracy or establish authoritarianism. In fact, world history could be learned through the study of leaders. And yet political leadership has been of secondary importance in the political science literature. There are more studies about democracy than about democrats and without democrats there is no democracy. This has been especially the case in Latin American political studies so far. We welcome the fact that this is changing and there is more interest in analyzing leaders.
The research behind Latin America´s Leaders (ZED Books, London, 2015) was motivated by questions related to the democratic quality of leaders. Why do democratically elected leaders undermine democracy as soon as they are in power? Why has the return to democracy not done away with Latin America’s tendency to generate authoritarian leaders?
Do political parties have been invested by a process of “presidentialization”?
The presidentialization of politics is a relatively new and important phenomenon. However, the term presidentialization has become highly debatable. In particular, the more contentious side is offered by the suggestion that presidentialization of politics could make (semi) presidential regimes and parliamentary ones more similar to presidentialism.