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Local Democracy And Popular Participation In Chile And Brazil

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Chapter Summary

Strong local democracy requires accountability of public officials and institutional access that facilitates the political participation of local constituencies. Since 1989, the local government of Porto Alegre has implemented what has come to be known as the Orçamento Participativo or 'participatory budget'. The contrasts between local government in Porto Alegre under the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) and Santiago under the Concertación are striking. The roots of Brazil's state reform are distinct from Chile's and thus have resulted in a different opportunity structure for popular participation in local government. Constitutional and state reform in Brazil was largely a reaction on the part of multiple social actors to the centralization carried out under authoritarian rule. Constitutional reforms have added to the importance of local office by giving local governments the power to pass their own organic laws.

Keywords: Brazil; Chile; local democracy; popular participation



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