Legislators’ Attitudes and Party System Competition in Central America

Dr. Annabella Espana-Najera

This paper investigates change and continuity in the values and attitudes of Central America’s political elite. The region, with its diversity in quality of democracy (including democratic reversals) and political institutions, provides an opportunity to explore the extent to which the elite hold consistent political values, including in their support for democratic institutions. The paper undertakes an analysis of the number and nature of the political dimensions dividing legislators and major parties in Central America in the post-transition period (1998–2018). We examine the relationship between political parties and party systems in shaping the number and nature of the political dimensions. Analyzing the values and attitudes of the region’s elite is important if we are to understand developments in the region, including the translation of cleavages to the arena of political competition.