This report analyzes Guatemala's democratic transition in the context of the country's unique history and current political challenges. Focusing on one particular aspect of democratization, legislative oversight, or checks and balances, it analyzes accountability and transparency in government processes. This is a key element in the transition to democratic governance.
A general discussion of democratic transition theory provides the foundation for looking at the case study of Guatemala in Chapter One. The following chapter describes the structure of Guatemalan government and the importance of legislative oversight. Understanding the political history of Guatemala and the country's current process of democratization is crucial for understanding the need for oversight within and between the three branches of government. Therefore, Chapter Three describes Guatemala's thirty-six-year civil conflict and its effects on civil and political society. Chapter Four outlines the constitutional basis of legislative oversight within the Guatemalan government, while Chapter Five describes its actual use by Congress, particularly since the signing of the 1996 Guatemalan Peace Accords. The final chapter looks at recent events in the legislative and executive branches. These developments will undoubtedly impact Guatemala's democratization process and the future of the country as a whole.