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Political Landscapes, Political Parties, and Authoritarianism in Brazil and Chile

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
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Political parties are the central mediating structures between state and society under democratic regimes. Strong party systems are associated with enduring political tendencies in the electorate; weak party systems do not evince this association. In the bureaucratic-authoritarian regimes found in the Southern Cone of Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s, military elites moved against political parties in an attempt to reshape political life in their countries. In Brazil, long plagued by weak parties and party systems, authoritarian rulers managed to reconstitute the party system as they wished. In Chile, where parties have historically deep roots in civil society, the Pinochet regime was not able to duplicate the Brazilian feat. Chilean parties are seen as viable regime alternatives. A political party system which penetrates civil society is more likely to survive the suspension and perversion of electoral politics characteristic of authoritarian regimes.


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