Bringing the Right back in. The Right and Democracy in Contemporary Latin America


Since the late 1990s, the left has become a major political actor in Latin America and the scholarly community seems to assume – implicitly rather than explicitly – that the right is virtually irrelevant in the region. However, this image is too simplistic and could lead to a false impression. On the one hand, right-of-center parties have a significant electoral presence in several Latin American societies and they govern countries like Chile, Colombia and Mexico. On the other hand, Latin America’s turn to the left was not necessarily caused by a structural realignment towards the left, but has occurred in great part due to contingent factors (e.g. citizens’ economic discontent with incumbents and traditional parties in the immediate aftermath of the Asian financial crisis). Therefore, there is no reason to believe that right-of-center parties have lost centrality in the region. Nevertheless, there is almost no comparative research on the right in contemporary Latin America and this is particularly evident when it comes to analyze its impact on democratic processes. We seek to fill this research gap by organizing an academic workshop on the topic, which will lead to the publication of an edited book in English in a well-known international publishing house.