During Latin America's third democratic wave, a majority of countries adopted a runoff rule for the election of the president, effectively dampening plurality voting, opening the political arena to new parties, and assuring the public that the president will never have anything less than majority support. In a region in which undemocratic political parties were common and have often been dominated by caudillos, cautious naysayers have voiced concerns about the runoff process, arguing that a proliferation of new political parties vying for power is a sign of inferior democracy. This text is the first rigorous assessment of the implications of runoff versus plurality rules throughout Latin America, and demonstrates that, in contrast to early scholarly skepticism about runoff, it has been positive for democracy in the region.
Includes bibliographical references and index. Description based on print version record. Previously issued in print: 2018.