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From Runners-Up to Winners:: Explaining the Electoral Victories of the Left in Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Peru
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Romance Studies and Classics.
2014 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This essay presents a comparison “repeat candidacies”, i.e., failed presidential contenders who return to win subsequent elections in five Latin American countries. By comparing their failed electoral bids with successful ones, I attempt to gauge the relative influence of factors that are external to the candidates in question and the ones over which they have control, such as policy proposals and alliances. 


The analysis indicates the importance of factors that are political in nature for success. Whereas social and economic variables appear to have scant explanatory value, an aspect such as the composition of the opposition seems much more influential. In particular, moderation in proposals and presentation appears as an important factor distinguishing successful campaigns from failed ones. In order to show the effects of such moderation, I calculate what I call “proportionality scores” that show how broadly a candidate appeals across the political spectrum. The fact that successful candidates have managed to simultaneously appeal to different ideological, ethnic and socio-economic groups gives a somewhat different perspective on Latin America’s supposed “left turn”, and indicates the need to pay more attention to political agency in explanations for political developments on the continent.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
elections, electoral campaigns
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-115182OAI: diva2:795920
Latin American Studies Association, Chicago, May 21-24 2014.
Available from: 2015-03-17 Created: 2015-03-17 Last updated: 2015-03-17

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