Working Papers

"Horizontal Accountability and New Polyarchies"

Guillermo O'Donnell


The present text asserts that many new polyarchies, in Latin America and elsewhere, present the historically rather unusual combination of the coexistence of political -freedoms with weak 'horizontal' accountability. In order to account for this mix, the text delineates three great traditions, or currents-democracy, liberalism, and republicanism that, although partially overlapping, are distinct and have made different contributions to the emergence of polyarchy in the Northwestern quadrant of the world. Further on, the paper notes in many new polyarchies the relative strength of the democratic current jointly with the scant weight of the liberal and republican ones. In light of these considerations, the text concludes with some suggestions for enhancing horizontal accountability in these latter cases. This paper was also published in The Self-Restraining State: Power and Accountability in New Democracies. Andreas Schedler, Larry Diamond and Marc Plattner eds. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1999.


El presente texto afirma que muchas nuevas poliarquías, en América Latina y en otras regiones, presentan la históricamente inusual coexistencia de libertades políticas con débil 'accountability' horizontal. Para dar cuenta de esta combinación, el texto describe tres grandes tradiciones o corrientes-democracia, liberalismo y republicanismo-que, aunque parcialmente superpuestas, son distinguibles y han hecho contribuciones diferentes a la emergencia de la poliarquía en el cuadrante Noroccidental del mundo. Más adelante, el trabajo señala la. conjunción de corrientes democráticas relativamente fuertes y corrientes liberales y republicanos de escaso peso en muchas nuevas poliarquías. A la luz de estas consideraciones, el texto concluye con algunas sugerencias para aumentar la 'accountability' horizontal en estos casos.




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