What factors help a democracy to survive a crisis? A study of cases in which democracy suffered a steep decline, yet ultimately recovered and endured, offers new insights. In moments of crisis, unelected and nonmajoritarian actors can play a pivotal role.
Colombian voters turned against the architects of the peace accord ending the country’s decades-old internal war, while giving the presidency to a lieutenant of ex-president Uribe, the agreement’s leading opponent.
President Alvaro Uribe’s time in office was marked by disturbing trends that included a spike in extrajudicial killings and an attempt to overthrow term limits, but the country’s institutions of horizontal accountability proved remarkably resilient.
Often thought of as a “nascent” democracy, Colombia actually has longstanding democratic institutions. In 2010, they were effective in determining who would succeed a highly popular, two-term president.
The left-right ideological divide has begun to narrow in Latin America as citizens and leaders increasingly choose a pragmatic approach to politics and embrace the rules of the democratic game.
Where indigenous peoples constitute a smaller share of the electorate, their recent inclusion denotes a more generalized opening of the political system to excluded and vulnerable sectors of society.
In reelecting President Alvaro Uribe by a landslide, Colombia's voters opted for continuity. But they chose continuity with an administration that has carried out a major series of policy innovations.