Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor of Political Science and Global Affairs, Political Science, University of Notre Dame

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1999
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Government and International Studies, University of Notre Dame
Crisis without Breakdown: Presidential Impeachment in Latin America

Over the last decade, impeachment has replaced traditional military coups as the standard way to oust presidents in Latin America. Impeachment ended with the administrations of Fernando Coll or de Mello in Brazil (1992) and Carlos Andres Perez in Venezuela (1993). In 1997, the Ecuadorian legislature ousted President Bucaram on charges of "insanity." An unsuccessful move towards impeachment took place in Colombia (1995-96). How can we explain this new trend in Latin America? I argue that recent impeachments have been triggered by a combination of media scandals, declining popularity of the president in the midst of economic reform, and weak congressional support. This project seeks to understand the relationship between these three explanatory factors. I propose the collection of time series data on presidential approval and the economy for the administrations of Collor, Bucaram and Samper, and a set of qualitative interviews with legislators in Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia.