On June 6,2017, TGU Center for Positive/Empirical Analyses of Political Economy at Waseda University sponsored two lectures by Professor Jesús Tovar from the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México titled: “Challenging the Quality of Democracy in Latin America: Definition, Classification, Measurement and Assessment of Corruption” and “How Does a Democracy without a Party Systems Work? (The Peruvian Case).”
Professor Tovar specializes in Latin American politics, especially democracy, and has worked for Mexico’s federal electoral court research institute. He has been engaged in building an international research network for the field of Latin American politics, serving as executive council members of the International Political Science Association (IPSA), the Latin American Political Science Association (ALACIP), and the Mexican Political Science Association (AMECIP).
When speaking about the quality of democracy in Latin America, Professor Tovar explained that in Latin American countries which made transition to democracy over thirty years ago, a lack of the rule of law has been a serious problem and has deteriorated the quality of democracy. This lack of the rule of law exacerbated political corruption and public insecurity, which adversely affected people’s daily life in the region. In particular, students were astonished by the fact that corruption has permeated bureaucracy and police so deeply that people do not trust those public institutions.
Professor Tovar also showed how the Peruvian democracy has functioned without being supported by a solid party system. More specifically, new parties have emerged in presidential election years in Peru, primarily to support presidential candidates. The main purpose of those parties is to support the electoral campaign, suspiciously by resorting to illegal sources of financing such as drug trafficking.
These seminars provided participants an invaluable opportunity to learn that new democracies in Latin America are fragile and faced with problems, including a threat of its breakdown.
*The first lecture was co-sponsored by the Waseda Institute of Political Economy(WINPEC), and the second one was partly supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (KAKENHI: 15K03275).