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Towards Post-Liberal Democracy in Latin America? A Conceptual Framework Applied to Bolivia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 March 2013


Recent political changes across Latin America that challenge mainstream conceptions of liberal democracy have led to speculation about some kind of post-liberal democracy possibly emerging in the region. Up to now, however, there has been no systematic assessment of this proposition or any explicit conception of post-liberal democracy. This article fills this research gap by proposing a conceptual framework for analysing political change in the direction of post-liberal democracy, in Latin America and beyond, and probes the plausibility of this framework in a case study of Bolivia. It shows that the concept of post-liberal democracy helps us make sense of the contemporary transformation of Bolivian democracy and that it has comparative advantages over alternative conceptual frameworks such as radical populism and defective – that is, illiberal or delegative – democracy.

Spanish abstract

Los recientes cambios políticos a lo largo de América Latina que desafían las concepciones dominantes de la democracia liberal han llevado a especular sobre la posibilidad de que alguna forma de democracia postliberal esté emergiendo en la región. Hasta ahora, sin embargo, no ha habido una evaluación sistemática de tal propuesta o una concepción explícita de democracia postliberal. Este artículo llena este vacío al proporcionar un marco para analizar el cambio político en la dirección de la democracia postliberal, en Latinoamérica y otras partes, y pone a prueba la posibilidad de tal marco de referencia en un caso de estudio en Bolivia. Éste muestra que el concepto de democracia postliberal nos ayuda a entender las transformaciones contemporáneas de la democracia boliviana y que tiene ventajas comparativas sobre marcos conceptuales alternativos tales como el populismo radical y la democracia defectuosa, es decir iliberal o delegativa.

Portuguese abstract

Recentes mudanças políticas na América Latina que desafiam conceitos estabelecidos de liberalismo democrático tem gerado especulações sobre a possibilidade de algum tipo de democracia pós-liberal surgir na região. Até o momento, no entanto, não houveram avaliações sistemáticas sobre essa previsão, tampouco uma definição clara de democracia pós-liberal. Este artigo preenche essa lacuna de pesquisa ao propor um modelo conceitual para a análise das mudanças em direção à democracia pós-liberal, na América Latina e além dela, testando a viabilidade desse modelo de análise utilizando o caso da Bolívia. O modelo mostra que o conceito de democracia pós-liberal nos ajuda a compreender as transformações atuais na democracia boliviana e apresenta vantagens quando comparado à outros modelos conceituais, como o populismo radical e a democracia deficiente, ou seja, não liberal ou delegatória.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013

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3 Arditi, ‘Arguments about the Left Turns’, pp. 72–80.

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8 Arditi, ‘Arguments about the Left Turns’, p. 74.

9 See Alvarez, Sonia E., Dagnino, Evelina and Escobar, Arturo, ‘Introduction: The Cultural and the Political in Latin American Social Movements’, in Alvarez, , Dagnino, and Escobar, (eds.), Cultures of Politics/Politics of Cultures: Re-Visioning Latin American Social Movements (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998), pp. 129Google Scholar; Arditi, ‘Arguments about the Left Turns’; Escobar, ‘Latin America’; de Sousa Santos, Boaventura (ed.), Democratising Democracy: Beyond the Liberal Democratic Canon (London: Verso, 2005)Google Scholar; Van Cott, Donna Lee, ‘Latin America's Indigenous Peoples’, Journal of Democracy, 18: 4 (2007), pp. 127–41Google Scholar; and Radical Democracy in the Andes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008); and Yashar, Deborah J., Contesting Citizenship in Latin America: The Rise of Indigenous Movements and the Post-liberal Challenge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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12 This question is obviously related to the debate about the possible emergence of post-neoliberalism. But while the latter focuses on the economic (development) model, this article deliberately looks at the political regime. On ‘post-neoliberalism’, see Burdick, John, Oxhorn, Philip and Roberts, Kenneth M. (eds.), Beyond Neoliberalism in Latin America? Societies and Politics at the Crossroads (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Macdonald, Laura and Ruckert, Arne (eds.), Post-Neoliberalism in the Americas (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Kaltwasser, Cristóbal Rovira, ‘Toward Post-Neoliberalism in Latin America?’, Latin American Research Review, 46: 2 (2011), pp. 225–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

13 This is, of course, true for the bulk of studies that are not explicitly interested in post-liberal democracy. See, for example, the collection of essays on ‘Latin America's Left Turns’ in Third World Quarterly, 30: 2 (2010), or the two issues of Latin American Perspectives on ‘Bolivia Under Morales’ (see note 44, below).

14 The transformation of Bolivian democracy under President Evo Morales is chosen here as a ‘plausibility probe’ because this case is critical in the sense that, as seen above, the notion of emerging post-liberal democracies in Latin America can ‘hardly be expected to hold widely if it did not fit closely there’. Eckstein, Harry, Regarding Politics: Essays on Political Theory, Stability, and Change (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1992), p. 151Google Scholar.

15 Schmitter, ‘A Sketch’, pp. 1–2.

16 Arditi, ‘Arguments about the Left Turns’, p. 73. See also Escobar, ‘Latin America’, p. 3.

17 Given the peculiar character of any ‘post-something’ concept, post-liberal democracy is conceptually defined negatively by its differences to, and commonalities with, liberal democracy, hence the focus on challenges. If we could define in a positive way the main features of a post-liberal democracy, we could give it a proper name.

18 Merkel, Wolfgang, ‘Embedded and Defective Democracies’, Democratization, 11: 5 (2004), pp. 3643Google Scholar. There are of course innumerable proposals for conceptualising liberal democracy, but for the purpose of this paper, the one developed by Merkel, Puhle and colleagues seems particularly suitable because it deliberately goes beyond a narrow notion of liberal democracy as polyarchy. Not only do the five partial regimes cover all the elements usually identified as typically liberal dimensions of liberal democracy, but also, as will be seen, the shape of these partial regimes is specified in fairly substantial liberal ways. The concept has been developed in detail in Merkel, Wolfgang, Puhle, Hans-Jürgen, Croissant, Aurel, Eicher, Claudia and Thiery, Peter, Defekte Demokratie. Band 1: Theorie (Opladen: Leske+Budrich, 2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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21 Escobar, ‘Latin America’, p. 32. See also Santos, ‘Enriquecer la democracia’, p. 29.

22 Arditi, ‘Arguments about the Left Turns’, p. 77.

23 Ibid., p. 76. See also Santos, ‘Enriquecer la democracia’, p. 29.

24 Peruzzotti, Enrique and Selee, Andrew, ‘Participatory Innovation and Representative Democracy in Latin America’, in , Selee and Peruzzotti, (eds.), Participatory Innovation and Representative Democracy in Latin America (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2009), p. 4Google Scholar.

25 Merkel, ‘Embedded and Defective Democracies’, p. 39.

26 See Coppedge et al., ‘Conceptualising and Measuring Democracy’, p. 253; and Santos, ‘Enriquecer la democracia’, p. 30.

27 See Mény, Yves and Surel, Yves, ‘The Constitutive Ambiguity of Populism’, in Mény, and Surel, (eds.), Democracies and the Populist Challenge (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), pp. 121CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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30 Schmitter, ‘A Sketch’, p. 3.

31 See Escobar, ‘Latin America’.

32 O'Donnell, Guillermo, ‘Horizontal Accountability in New Democracies’, Journal of Democracy, 9: 3 (1998), p. 119CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also Merkel, ‘Embedded and Defective Democracies’, p. 40.

33 Schmitter, ‘A Sketch’, p. 3.

34 Ibid.; see also Coppedge et al., ‘Conceptualising and Measuring Democracy’, p. 253.

35 Vibert, Frank, The Rise of the Unelected: Democracy and the New Separation of Powers (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

36 See Suvelza, Franz Xavier Barrios, ‘The Weakness of Excess: The Bolivian State in an Unbounded Democracy’, in Crabtree, John and Whitehead, Laurence (eds.), Unresolved Tensions: Bolivia Past and Present (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008), pp. 126–30Google Scholar.

37 Merkel, ‘Embedded and Defective Democracies’, p. 41.

38 See ibid., p. 42; and Vibert, The Rise of the Unelected.

39 See Lindblom, Charles, ‘The Market as Prison’, Journal of Politics, 44: 2 (1982), pp. 324–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

40 See Escobar, ‘Latin America’.

41 Merkel, ‘Embedded and Defective Democracies’, p. 41.

42 See Hammond, John L., ‘Indigenous Community Justice in the Bolivian Constitution of 2009’, Human Rights Quarterly, 33: 3 (2011), pp. 649–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

43 See Mayorga, René Antonio, ‘Bolivia's Silent Revolution’, Journal of Democracy, 8: 1 (1997), pp. 142–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

44 See Crabtree and Whitehead (eds.), Unresolved Tensions; Benjamin Kohl and Rosalind Bresnahan (issue eds.), ‘Bolivia Under Morales’, Latin American Perspectives, 37: 3–4 (2010); and Zegada, María Tereza, Arce, Claudia, Canedo, Gabriela and Quispe, Alber, La democracia desde los márgenes: transformaciones en el campo político boliviano (La Paz: CLACSO, 2011)Google Scholar.

45 See Romero, Carlos, Böhrt, Carlos and Peñaranda, Raúl, Del conflicto al diálogo: memorias del acuerdo constitucional (La Paz: fBDM/FES-ILDIS, 2009)Google Scholar.

46 This included laws on the Electoral Organ, the electoral regime, the constitutional court, the Judicial Organ, autonomy and decentralisation, and jurisdictional delimitation.

47 See Weisbrot, Mark, Ray, Rebecca and Johnston, Jake, ‘Bolivia: The Economy during the Morales Administration’ (Washington, DC: Center for Economic and Policy Research, 2009)Google Scholar, available at

48 The Morales government, in particular, recognised the coca leaf's traditional role in indigenous cultures, increased the level of legal coca production and trade, and pushed for coca's international legalisation. It did try to limit the amount of coca production via cooperative forms of social control at the community level while continuing joint military–police counter-narcotics efforts to cut down on drug trafficking. See Farthing, Linda and Kohl, Benjamin, ‘Social Control: Bolivia's New Approach to Coca Reduction’, Latin American Perspectives, 37: 4 (2010), pp. 197213CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

49 The following case study draws mainly on the analysis of primary and secondary sources but was also informed by a series of interviews conducted in La Paz, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba between April and May 2009.

50 On Bolivia's new Constitution, see IDEA Internacional (ed.), Miradas; Käss, Susanne and Castellanos, Iván Velásquez (eds.), Reflexión crítica a la nueva Constitución Política del Estado (La Paz: Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, 2009)Google Scholar; Romero, Böhrt and Peñaranda, Del conflicto al diálogo; Almut Schilling-Vacaflor, ‘Bolivia's New Constitution: Towards Participatory Democracy and Political Pluralism?’, GIGA Working Paper 141 (Hamburg: GIGA, 2010), available at; and Wolff, ‘New Constitutions’. For overviews of Bolivia's political development under Morales, see Stiftung, Bertelsmann, BTI 2010: Bolivia Country Report (Gütersloh: Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2010)Google Scholar, available at; Crabtree and Whitehead (eds.), Unresolved Tensions; Gamarra, Eduardo A., ‘Morales and Democracy’, in Domínguez, Jorge I. and Shifter, Michael (eds.), Constructing Democratic Governance in Latin America: Third Edition (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), pp. 124–51Google Scholar; Kohl and Bresnahan (issue eds.), ‘Bolivia Under Morales’; Postero, ‘The Struggle’; and Zegada et al., La democracia desde los márgenes.

51 See Choque, ‘Participación y control social’, pp. 494–5; Escobar, ‘Latin America’, p. 27; Postero, ‘The Struggle’, pp. 71–2; Bonifaz, Carlos Romero, ‘Los ejes de la Constitución Política del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia’, in IDEA Internacional (ed.), Miradas, p. 29Google Scholar; and Zegada et al., La democracia desde los márgenes, chap. 4.

53 This and all following references to articles, unless otherwise stated, refer to República de Bolivia, Constitución Política del Estado: texto aprobado en el referéndum constituyente de enero de 2009 (República de Bolivia, 2009)Google Scholar.

54 Further vehicles for direct and participatory democracy include assemblies (asambleas) and councils (cabildos), but these are to have a ‘deliberative character’ only (Article 11/II). A final participatory mechanism is the consulta previa (prior consultation) – that is, the right of indigenous peoples to ‘be consulted … whenever there may be legislative or administrative measures that may affect them’ (Article 30/II). See also the corresponding Ley del Régimen Electoral (Ley 026, 30 June 2010), available at

55 Popular approval of international treaties is mandatory if these imply border issues or processes of monetary, structural economic or political integration. In addition, a referendum can be requested by 5 per cent of the registered voting population or 35 per cent of the members of parliament (Article 257–9).

56 The corresponding law passed in June 2010 determines that, to initiate a referendum at the national level, the support of at least 20 per cent of the voting population (and in no department less than 15 per cent) is needed. In addition, various issues – like the unity and integrity of the plurinational state, taxes, internal and external security, organic and framework laws, and the validity of human rights – are exempted from popular decisions. See Ley del Régimen Electoral, Article 16/II, 14.

57 Besides a referendum on establishing a regime of departmental autonomy (2006), which was followed in 2008 by illegal referenda on statutes of autonomy in selected departments, and the constitutional referendum in 2009, the revocation of mandates had already been tested before the new Constitution entered into force. In August 2008, Morales easily survived a recall referendum; among the prefects (governors) at the departmental level, Morales’ major opponents also won their recall referenda while two (opposition) prefects lost their offices. See Zegada et al., La democracia desde los márgenes, p. 78.

58 See Anria, ‘Bolivia's MAS’, p. 113; Dunia Mokrani, ‘Análisis de coyuntura: Escenarios en la segunda gestión gubernamental de Evo Morales’, available at; Laserna, Roberto, ‘Mire, la democracia boliviana, en los hechos…’, Latin American Research Review 45: Special Issue (2010), pp. 2758CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Zegada et al., La democracia desde los márgenes, pp. 49–62, 93–8.

59 See Mayorga, René Antonio, ‘Sociedad civil y Estado bajo un populismo plebiscitario y autoritario’, in Arnson, Cynthia J. et al. (eds.), La ‘Nueva Izquierda’ en América Latina: derechos humanos, participación política, y sociedad civil (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2009), p. 113Google Scholar; Laserna, ‘Mire, la democracia boliviana’; Van Cott, ‘Latin America's Indigenous Peoples’, pp. 136–7.

60 Morales is indeed the first president since the transition to democracy in the 1980s that can count on direct democratic legitimation as he was elected (twice) in the first round with an absolute majority, whereas, in the case of his predecessors, it was Congress that decided the run-off.

61 Van Cott, ‘Latin America's Indigenous Peoples’, p. 134. See also Gamarra, ‘Morales and Democracy’, p. 134.

62 Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD), Los cambios detrás del cambio: informe nacional sobre desarrollo humano en Bolivia (La Paz: PNUD, 2010), pp. 26–7Google Scholar.

63 Gamarra, ‘Morales and Democracy’, p. 135.

64 See Irahola, Carlos Böhrt, ‘Cuarenta días que conmovieron a Bolivia y un pacto político forzado’, in , Romero, Böhrt, and Peñaranda, , Del conflicto al diálogo, pp. 72–3Google Scholar; and Carraffa, Carlos Cordero, ‘Nueva Constitución, nuevo gobierno, nuevo Estado’, in IDEA Internacional (ed.), Miradas, pp. 80–1Google Scholar.

65 Romero, ‘Los ejes de la Constitución’, p. 23.

66 The Bolivian Constitution refers to ‘naciones y pueblos indígena originario campesinos’, translated here, for the sake of simplicity, as ‘indigenous peoples’.

67 The latter restriction to civil society self-organisation resulted from the aforementioned congressional revision. In the original draft, organised civil society was meant to participate in decisions about public policy and was free to independently establish ‘its own norms and way of working’. Zegada, María, ‘Análisis político de las reformas al Proyecto de Constitución y de la aprobación de la Ley de Convocatoria al Referéndum’, Opiniones y Análisis, 97 (2008), p. 54Google Scholar.

68 Barrios, ‘The Weakness of Excess’, p. 136.

69 See ibid., pp. 136–7; Hurtado, Roger Cortéz, ‘Control social: la desconfianza armada’, in Käss, and Velásquez, (eds.), Reflexión crítica, p. 351Google Scholar; and Quintanilla, Juan Carlos Pinto, ‘Sobre el control social y la Constitución’, in IDEA Internacional (ed.), Miradas, p. 489Google Scholar.

70 See Kohl, Benjamin, ‘Bolivia under Morales: A Work in Progress’, Latin American Perspectives, 37: 3 (2010), p. 112CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Barrios, ‘The Weakness of Excess’, p. 138; and Zegada et al., La democracia desde los márgenes, pp. 245–6.

71 See Anria, ‘Bolivia's MAS’; Schilling-Vacaflor, ‘Bolivia's New Constitution’, pp. 14–7; Stefanoni, Pablo, ‘Indianismo y nacionalismo revolucionario: un análisis del gobierno de Evo Morales’, in Ospina, Pablo, Kaltmeier, Olaf and Büschges, Olaf (eds.), Los Andes en movimiento: identidad y poder en el nuevo paisaje político (Quito: Corporación Editora Nacional, 2009), pp. 103–4Google Scholar; and Zegada et al., La democracia desde los márgenes, chap. 6.

72 Zuazo, Moira, ‘¿Los movimientos sociales en el poder? El gobierno del MAS en Bolivia’, Nueva Sociedad, 227 (2010), pp. 128–35Google Scholar, quote at p. 134.

73 See Mokrani, ‘Análisis de coyuntura’; and Zegada et al., La democracia desde los márgenes, chap. 6.

74 Arditi, ‘Arguments about the Left Turns’, pp. 76–7. See also Cortéz, ‘Control social’.

75 Anria, ‘Bolivia's MAS’, pp. 112–13.

76 See Mokrani, ‘Análisis de coyuntura’; and Zegada et al., La democracia desde los márgenes, pp. 93–8. While this is clearly not in the interest of the MAS government, it corresponds to the notion of vertical checks and balances already emphasised by Evo Morales in his pre-inauguration speech at Tiwanaku in January 2006, where he explicitly urged his followers to control, correct and push him. Dunkerley, James, ‘Evo Morales, the “Two Bolivias” and the Third Bolivian Revolution’, Journal of Latin American Studies, 39: 1 (2007), p. 165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

77 Choque, ‘Participación y control social’, p. 494.

78 See Anria, ‘Bolivia's MAS’.

79 See Ascimani, Guillermo Richter, ‘Análisis crítico de la nueva Constitución Política del Estado’, in IDEA Internacional (ed.), Miradas, p. 103Google Scholar; and Böhrt, ‘Cuarenta días’, p. 74.

80 Mény and Surel, ‘The Constitutive Ambiguity’, pp. 8–10.

81 See Barrios, ‘The Weakness of Excess’, p. 128.

82 Romero, ‘Los ejes de la Constitución’, p. 29. However, the congressional revision of the draft constitution re-established the need for two-thirds majorities for some crucial decisions, namely for the election of those members of the different electoral tribunals determined by parliament and for partial reforms of the Constitution; see Böhrt, ‘Cuarenta días’, pp. 89, 105.

83 See Barrios, ‘The Weakness of Excess’, pp. 134–5; and Lehoucq, Fabrice, ‘Bolivia's Constitutional Breakdown’, Journal of Democracy, 19: 4 (2008), pp. 111–24Google Scholar.

84 Bertelsmann Stiftung, BTI 2010: Bolivia Country Report, pp. 11–12.

85 Peñaranda U., Raúl, ‘Crónica del proceso constituyente’, in Romero, , Böhrt, and Peñaranda, , Del conflicto al diálogo, pp. 150–1Google Scholar.

86 Lehoucq, ‘Bolivia's Constitutional Breakdown’, p. 122.

87 See Tudela, Farit Rojas, ‘Análisis y comentario de la Primera Parte de la CPE’, in IDEA Internacional (ed.), Miradas, pp. 283–94Google Scholar.

88 In line with the new emphasis on socio-economic rights, the Morales government has significantly expanded social policies. These include an increasing minimum wage, two conditional cash transfers – one (‘Bono Juancito Pinto’) for children if they continue education and one (‘Bono Juana Azurduy’) for pregnant women and young mothers if they seek medical care during and after pregnancy – as well as a universal state pension (‘Renta Dignidad’). See Weisbrot, Ray and Johnston, ‘Bolivia’, pp. 15–6.

89 See Suvelza, Franz Xavier Barrios, ‘La Autonomía Indígena Originaria Campesina en la Constitución Política del Estado’, in Käss, and Velásquez, (eds.), Reflexión crítica, pp. 431–68Google Scholar.

90 Van Cott, ‘Latin America's Indigenous Peoples’, p. 138.

91 Cordero, ‘Nueva Constitución’, p. 83. This distortion is, however, rather limited; see Choque, ‘Participación y control social’, p. 499. First, the constitutional revision by Congress restricted these special districts to indigenous peoples in rural areas who are a minority in their respective departments; see Böhrt, ‘Cuarenta días’, p. 78. Second, the respective law (Ley del Régimen Electoral), like the transitional law approved in 2009, limited the number of these special seats in parliament to seven out of 130.

92 Nonetheless, the transitional dispositions, added in the congressional agreement, clarify that this requirement is only to be ‘progressively applied according to the law’ (Article 159).

93 See Salazar, Carlos Derpic, ‘La Justicia Comunitaria en la NCPE’, in Käss, and Velásquez, (eds.), Reflexión crítica, pp. 477516Google Scholar.

94 Again, it was Congress that introduced crucial limitations to indigenous justice, most notably references to the ‘right of defence’, to the personal tie to an indigenous people as the basis of indigenous justice, and to a future Law on Jurisdictional Delimitation. See Böhrt, ‘Cuarenta días’, pp. 80–2; and Hammond, ‘Indigenous Community Justice’, pp. 665–70.

95 Barrera, Anna, ‘Turning Legal Pluralism into State-Sanctioned Law: Assessing the Implications of the New Constitutions and Laws in Bolivia and Ecuador’, in Nolte, and Schilling-Vacaflor, (eds.), New Constitutionalism in Latin America, p. 374Google Scholar; see also Ley de Deslinde Jurisdiccional (Ley No. 073, 29 December 2010),, Articles 8 and 10.

96 Together with the prohibition of the death penalty, the mentioned restrictions imply, for example, that lynching – often (if misleadingly) discussed under the heading of ‘community justice’ (Hammond, ‘Indigenous Community Justice’, pp. 671–2) – can by no means be justified as an implementation of indigenous law.

97 In this sense, Luis Tapia has argued that the new Constitution, while advancing significantly towards a recognition of ‘political pluralism’, has already established a ‘constitutional hierarchy’ that continues to privilege the model of modern (colonial) political institutions. Tapia, Luis, ‘El pluralismo político-jurídico en la nueva Constitución de Bolivia’, in IDEA Internacional (ed.), Miradas, p. 263Google Scholar.

98 Hammond, ‘Indigenous Community Justice’, pp. 677–80; see also Van Cott, ‘Latin America's Indigenous Peoples’, p. 139.

99 See Barrera, ‘Legal Pluralism’, p. 378.

100 See Jordán, Helena Argirakis, ‘De Congreso a Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional’, in IDEA Internacional (ed.), Miradas, pp. 361–74Google Scholar; Vargas, Idón Moisés Chivi, ‘El Órgano Judicial’, in IDEA Internacional (ed.), Miradas, pp. 409–22Google Scholar; Carraffa, Carlos Cordero, ‘La Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional: estructura y organización’, in Käss, and Velásquez, (eds.), Reflexión crítica, pp. 153–90Google Scholar; Veltzé, Eduardo Rodríguez, ‘El Órgano Judicial en la Nueva Constitución’, in Käss, and Velásquez, (eds.), Reflexión crítica, pp. 235–65Google Scholar. That the electoral courts are upgraded to a fourth branch of the state – the ‘Electoral Organ’ – is unusual, but only goes to strengthen this picture of horizontal controls (Articles 109–40).

101 This refers to the Plurinational Constitutional Court, the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (Supreme Court of Justice), the Tribunal Agroambiental (Agri-Environmental Court) and the Consejo de la Magistratura (Judicial Council).

102 Chivi Vargas, ‘El Órgano Judicial’, pp. 416–17.

103 Böhrt, ‘Cuarenta días’, p. 84.

104 See ‘Mayoría oficialista elige a los primeros 56 candidatos’, La Razón, 14 July 2011.

105 See Barrios, ‘The Weakness of Excess’.

106 Álbarez, Gonzalo Chávez, ‘Fetichismo constitucional’, in IDEA Internacional (ed.), Miradas, p. 207Google Scholar.

107 As we have seen, legislative initiatives by citizens must pass through parliament; the framework for ‘participation and social control’ is defined by law – that is, parliament – as are the limits of indigenous justice.

108 Cordero, ‘La Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional’, p. 166.

109 See Tapia, ‘El pluralismo político-jurídico’, p. 263.

110 See Zegada et al., La democracia desde los márgenes, pp. 175–98.

111 Postero, ‘The Struggle’, p. 62; see also Cunha, Clayton Mendonça and Gonçalves, Rodrigo Santaella, ‘The National Development Plan as a Political Economic Strategy in Evo Morales's Bolivia: Accomplishments and Limitations’, Latin American Perspectives, 37: 4 (2010), pp. 177–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

112 See International Monetary Fund (IMF), Bolivia – IMF Country Report 11/124 (Washington, DC: IMF, 2011)Google Scholar.

113 See Coppedge et al., ‘Conceptualising and Measuring Democracy’, p. 257.

114 See De la Torre, ‘Radical Populism’, p. 384; Laserna, ‘Mire, la democracia boliviana’; Madrid, Raúl L., ‘The Rise of Ethnopopulism in Latin America’, World Politics, 60: 3 (2008), pp. 475508CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Mayorga, ‘Sociedad civil’.

115 Kaltwasser, Cristóbal Rovira, ‘The Ambivalence of Populism: Threat and Corrective for Democracy’, Democratization, 19: 2 (2012), p. 1CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

116 De la Torre, ‘Radical Populism’, p. 384.

117 Gamarra, ‘Morales and Democracy’, p. 134.

118 De la Torre, ‘Radical Populism’, pp. 385, 388.

119 On the Morales administration's anti-institutional bias, see Bertelsmann Stiftung, BTI 2010: Bolivia Country Report, pp. 11–12.

120 See Molina, George Gray, ‘State–Society Relations in Bolivia: The Strength of Weakness’, in Crabtree, and Whitehead, (eds.), Unresolved Tensions, pp. 109–24Google Scholar.

121 See Santos, ‘Enriquecer la democracia’, pp. 27, 32.

122 De la Torre, ‘Radical Populism’, p. 388.

123 See Kohl, ‘Bolivia under Morales’, p. 116; Mokrani, ‘Análisis de coyuntura’; Laserna, ‘Mire, la democracia boliviana’, pp. 50–7; and Zegada et al., La democracia desde los márgenes, chap. 6.

124 Postero, ‘The Struggle’, p. 75; Santos, ‘Enriquecer la democracia’, pp. 29–30; Van Cott, Radical Democracy, pp. 8–9.

125 Santos, ‘Enriquecer la democracia’, p. 29.

126 Collier, David and Levitsky, Steven, ‘Democracy with Adjectives: Conceptual Innovations in Comparative Research’, World Politics, 49: 3 (1997), pp. 430–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

127 Bertelsmann Stiftung, BTI 2010: Bolivia Country Report, p. 2.

128 Merkel, ‘Embedded and Defective Democracies’, pp. 49–50.

129 Barrios, ‘The Weakness of Excess’, p. 128; Gamarra, ‘Morales and Democracy’, pp. 134–5. In this sense, Whitehead has characterised contemporary Bolivia (like Ecuador and Venezuela) as a ‘distributivist’, ‘participatory’ and ‘illiberal’ democracy: see Whitehead, Laurence, ‘The Fading Regional Consensus on Democratic Convergence’, in Domínguez, and Shifter, (eds.), Constructing Democratic Governance, pp. 32Google Scholar, 35.

130 See Merkel, ‘Embedded and Defective Democracies’, p. 51; and Bertelsmann Stiftung, BTI 2010: Bolivia Country Report for 2002 and 2008 respectively.

131 Ibid., p. 2.

132 Gamarra, ‘Morales and Democracy’, p. 134.

133 Merkel, ‘Embedded and Defective Democracies’, p. 33.

134 Postero, ‘The Struggle’.

135 Whitehead, ‘The Fading Regional Consensus’.

136 Zegada et al., La democracia desde los márgenes, p. 124.

137 I thank two of the anonymous reviewers for urging me to think about this point.

138 See Zegada et al., La democracia desde los márgenes, chap. 6.

139 See Tapia, ‘El pluralismo político-jurídico’.

140 See Burdick, Oxhorn and Roberts (eds.), Beyond Neoliberalism; Macdonald and Ruckert (eds.), Post-Neoliberalism; and Rovira Kaltwasser, ‘Toward Post-Neoliberalism’, pp. 225–34.

141 Escobar, ‘Latin America’, p. 3.

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