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Victor A. Hernandez Huerta

Ph.D. candidate in political science, University of Notre Dame

Residency: September 2014 – June 2015

Research Project: Losers’ Compliance in Democracies: The Strategic Use of Electoral Justice and Protest as a Negotiation Strategy

Research Interests: comparative political institutions, comparative politics, electoral integrity, electoral justice

Public Talk: “Disputed Elections in Presidential Democracies: Challenging Electoral Outcomes as a Negotiation Strategy” on Nov. 5, 2014 | View "Disputed Elections in Presidential Democracies" (PDF)


Victor Hernandez Huerta is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of Notre Dame. His research focuses on institutions, elections and electoral justice, with a regional specialization on Latin America. In his dissertation, Hernandez Huerta explains the behavior of losing candidates and parties. Elections are critical junctures in which the stability of democracies is tested. The behavior of losing candidates is key in this stage of the democratic process. If a losing candidate challenges the outcome of an election, this action opens the door to political instability and chaos.

Hernandez Huerta’s argument holds that in presidential democracies, losing political parties are not rejecting the outcome of the election because of the presence of irregularities and flaws, but rather are using the complaints as a negotiation tool with the winning party. In democracies, losing parties with an unfavorable negotiating position in Congress will opt for disputing presidential election outcomes in order to strengthen their own capacity for negotiation with the new government. To test this claim, he compares numerous presidential elections in 31 countries between 1974 and 2012, and several gubernatorial elections in Mexico between 2000 and 2012.