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Deborah L. Norden, "Party Relations and Democracy in Latin America," Party Politics, 4 (October 1998), 423-443.

First Paragraph:
During the 1980s and early 1990s, Latin America experienced a surge of democracy, as authoritarian regimes throughout the region gave way to electoral regimes. Yet the triumph of the democratic ideal was accompanied by an increasing awareness of the difficulty entailed in creating a stable, functioning democracy. Not only have prior military groups accustomed to governing continued to defend their political terrain, but some civilian interest groups and institutions have also engaged in behavior potentially debilitating to on-going democratic stability.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Inter-party relationships and democratic stability

Last Paragraph:
Yet low competition can also limit the extent to which a party system is representative. With other forms of competition, especially party system fragmentation and polarization, the correlation between higher representation and higher competition is evident. The more political parties have a voice, and the more diverse interests and ideas are expressed within the government, the more representative that political system is. Yet too many voices create more of a cacophony than a choir. Likewise, if the ideological range covered by the parties represents the full range of political opinions in society, it is likely to include a few that will be less than democratic. These voices, when heard, challenge the very right of the system to exist. Moderate conflict brings similar trade-offs with respect to representation. Moderate conflict requires that voices remain somewhat muted -- players must be willing to set aside their political goals and interests if elections do not favor them. They must be willing to put the continuation of the process over the ends, however critical the ends may be. This too, can mean a loss of representativeness. Those who lose the elections must be willing to accept a weakened voice (as a minority in the legislature) or no official voice at all, at least until the time of the next election. Only the winners can fully represent their constituency. This brings us to one of the historic dilemmas of large-scale democracy: a fully representative democracy -- one in which the entire range of voices is heard -- cannot easily be functional or stable. Moderate competition may be imperfect, but it is the safest option for stable democracy.