Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Impeachment and Presidentialism

In our podcast conversation, Leiv Marsteintredet and I talked a little about how presidential impeachment in Latin America had become like the equivalent of a parliamentary no-confidence vote, something I've blogged about before.

We also talked about the 2009 coup in Honduras, which occurred in part because there was no impeachment process that could be followed. Another part of that was the fact that there was no legal way to really deal with proposing changes to presidential terms. We both knew the latter had changed, but weren't sure about impeachment. But impeachment was indeed added to the constitution in 2013.

Leiv has argued that Latin American presidentialism has become more flexible over time, which has decreased military intervention. One problem for Honduras in 2009 is that its institutions were inflexible.

But this raises important questions about process. Should it be OK to resolve institutional conflict through impeachment, even if the dispute is over policy rather than crimes? We know Dilma Rousseff was not being accused directly of a crime--she was removed for policy reasons. Does it damage democracy over the long-term or should we accept it as an unpleasant but useful way to avoid military intervention or just violence in general? In other words, is acceptance corrosive?


shah8 2:44 AM  

I've grown towards the position that impeachment and recalls are way too subject to abuse

Also I find the idea that a peaceful means of subverting democracy contradictory. There are always stakes, and lives usually still bargaining items. It's often just merely slow or fast deaths. Example, the 2006 Mexico elections and the inevitable consequence of the militarization of the drug war that escalated human losses.

Those benefit and service cuts still immisserate and kills people in Brazil and Thailand, too. Not to mention police violence.

These things are true, because in most of these cases, whether by armies in the streets or bad faith corruption probes, the central argument these societies are usually having is whether some people who do not typically get a say, do get a say.

The South Korean impeachment is the exception that really kinda proves the rule.

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