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Legislative Institutions and Lawmaking in Latin America$
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Eduardo Alemán and George Tsebelis

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198777861

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198777861.001.0001

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Presidential Agenda Authority in Plurality-Led Congresses

Presidential Agenda Authority in Plurality-Led Congresses

Agenda Setting Prerogatives without Majority Support

(p.32) 2 Presidential Agenda Authority in Plurality-Led Congresses
Legislative Institutions and Lawmaking in Latin America

Ernesto Calvo

Iñaki Sagarzazu

Oxford University Press

Presidents with plurality support in congress are among the most pervasive and less studied phenomena in Latin America. Often conflated with divided government, where an organized opposition controls a majority in congress, presidents whose allies control fewer than 50 percent of the seats still benefit from institutional resources to facilitate the consideration and approval of their preferred legislation. Gatekeeping authority without majority support forces the president’s allies to take advantage of existing congressional rules in ways that differ significantly from contexts in which they have majority support on the plenary floor. As this chapter shows, the strategic use of rules to approve presidential initiatives differs in majority-led or plurality-led congresses. Indeed, partisan, institutional, and positional effects interact with each other so that, even if and when rules remain unchanged, lawmaking patterns will differ across partisan contexts in congress.

Keywords:   Argentina, cartel theory, committee authority, legislative success, legislative rules, minority president

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