Latin America’s Parliamentarism Problem

By Will Freeman

Legislatures are gaining more power across the region—but the outlook for governance doesn’t look good.

Since populist Jair Bolsonaro won office, one of Brazil’s institutions has come to dominate the rest. No, it’s not the presidency—it’s Congress. In June, lawmakers obtained $910 million in discretionary funds from the “secret budget,” an opaque pool of government funds Bolsonaro exploits to buy legislative support and stave off the threat of impeachment. And that was just the latest move Brazil’s Congress made to grow its power.  Think that makes Brazil an outlier Think again. Across Latin America, legislatures increasingly tend to hold the cards, while presidents find...

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