16, June, 2015

Determinants of Gaps in Horizontal Accountability of Executive to Legislative Bodies in Latin America and Africa

This design and methods paper sets out how the authors will explore the conditions under which legislative bodies succeed or fail in holding accountable public agencies of the executive as well as the executive’s own capacity for being accountable.

Accountability expresses the concern for checks and oversight, for surveillance and institutional constraints on the exercise of power. In democracies, Congress (Latin America) or Parliament (Africa) is expected to exercise the role of monitoring and providing control on the Executive branch. By taking into account the opacity of power, it seeks to reduce uncertainties that come from it, limit arbitrariness and prevent or even remedy abuses, maintaining power within certain predetermined rules. However, in both Latin America and Africa, there seems to be gaps in accountability mechanisms. Both the ill development of relevant norms regarding sanctions and the distance between formal institutions and actual practices of accountability are some of the main deficits of democracies in many developing countries.

Case countries used to generate evidence for lessons, for Africa and Latin America, are Argentina and Kenya.

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