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Jeffrey J. Ryan, "Democratic Transition and Consolidation in a Polarized System: The Role of the Center in El Salvador," Party Politics, 3 (April 1997), 169-188.

First Paragraph:
In recent years, US foreign-policy-makers have been obliged to spend a considerable amount of their energy crafting responses to emerging democratic systems throughout the world. In many cases, the impulses of democratization in these countries are almost exclusively homegrown, relegating outside actors like the USA to a largely spectator status. In other cases, though, the USA has played a central role as an agent of instigation in the transition process. Even when the USA has played such a role, as it did in the case of El Salvador in the 1980s, it has been confronted with the limits of its capacity to effect fundamental change in the internal dynamics of the target society.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Pre-coup presidential election results, 1967-77.
Table 2: National Assembly election results, 1982-94 (%).
Table 3: Presidential election results, 1984-94 (%).
Table 4: Opinions on best solution to the war (%).
Table 5: Prospects for ending the war (%).

Last Paragraph:
If such conclusions are borne out by further research, they suggest a reconsideration of the complex and variable role played by the center under different conditions by scholars and policy-makers alike.