The Unrealized Potential of Presidential Coalitions in Colombia

Monica Pachon Buitrago, Royce Carroll

Research output: Chapter in Book/ReportChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter analyzes the current Colombian legislative process in terms of the input and output of the legislative agenda during four presidential periods (1998–2014). During this time, the electoral and party system changed significantly, while presidential constitutional power and the internal rules of Congress remained unchanged. Importantly, changes in Colombia’s party system have coincided with the formation of multi-party coalition cabinets. However, this chapter shows that the growth in such coalitions does not lead to any additional advantages for these presidents. It argues two main factors explain this outcome: first, legislators face incentives to focus on developing personal constituencies rather than supporting their party’s collective agenda; second, decentralized formal institutional rules in Congress empower deputies to influence both the agenda and the content of bills, which affects the legislative efficiency of the governing coalition. As a result, executive failures remain just as frequent despite large and increasingly formalized coalitions.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLegislative Institutions and Lawmaking in Latin America
EditorsEduardo Alemán, George Tsebelis
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages122 - 147
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9780198777861
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameOxford studies in democratization
PublisherOxford University Press


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