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Representing Different Constituencies: Electoral Rules in Bicameral Systems in Latin America and Their Impact on Political Representation

  • Detlef Nolte


    (GIGA Institute for Ibero-American Studies)

  • Francisco Sánchez


    (Instituto Interuniversitario de Iberoamérica y Portugal, University of Salamanca)

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    This article analyzes the quantitative (mechanical) effects and qualitative (perceptions) effects on political representation of the election of two separate chambers in Latin America’s bicameral systems. After discussing the spread and strength of bicameralism in Latin America, we compare the different electoral systems for lower chambers and Senates. Our study shows that in a region characterized by relatively high levels of malapportionment in the first chamber, the second chamber reinforces the malapportionment in parliament. Representation tends to be much more disproportional in the upper chamber than in the lower house. Moreover, the differences in the electoral systems and district magnitudes for both chambers make it more difficult for women to win a seat in the Senate.

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    Paper provided by GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies in its series GIGA Working Paper Series with number 11.

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    Length: 33 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:11
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