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Master's Professional Reports Abstract

Strengthening Legislatures: Costa Rica and Guatemala
Alvarez, Mayra Marleen
REPORT 1999 AL865 Public Affairs Library

Legislatures are considered an important component of democratic systems of government because they are, theoretically, the embodiment of the people. As countries move towards more democratic systems of governance, the question regarding the relative strength and structure of legislatures has gained renewed focus. This report presents an overview of the literature surrounding the factors that affect legislative strength and discusses the role these factors play at increasing or decreasing the legislature's opportunity to act in the area of policy-making and oversight, drawing from the experience of two legislative strengthening programs in Costa Rica and Guatemala. The study presents strategies for future initiatives seeking to strengthen a legislature's capacity to improve policy output, exert oversight and represent the polity.