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What were the key features of the new democracies in Latin America post-1981?

The new democracies in Latin America post-1981 were characterised by civilian rule, competitive elections, and increased civil liberties.

After a period of military dictatorships and authoritarian rule, Latin America saw a wave of democratisation starting in 1981. This transition was marked by the restoration of civilian rule, replacing the military juntas that had previously held power. Civilian governments, often led by presidents, were established in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. These governments were typically structured as presidential systems, with a clear separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

Another key feature of these new democracies was the introduction of competitive elections. For the first time in many years, citizens were able to vote in free and fair elections to choose their leaders. This was a significant departure from the previous era, when political power was often seized through coups and maintained through repression. The competitive nature of these elections also allowed for the emergence of multiple political parties, providing voters with a range of choices and fostering a more pluralistic political environment.

Increased civil liberties were also a hallmark of these new democracies. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to peaceful assembly were generally respected. This was a stark contrast to the authoritarian regimes of the past, which often suppressed these rights in an effort to maintain control. The respect for civil liberties also extended to the judicial system, with courts often acting independently and upholding the rule of law.

However, it's important to note that these new democracies were not without their challenges. Many faced economic instability, social inequality, and ongoing issues with corruption. Additionally, while the transition to democracy was largely peaceful, there were instances of violence and political instability. Despite these challenges, the establishment of civilian rule, competitive elections, and increased civil liberties represented a significant step forward in the political development of Latin America.

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