This volume on democratic accountability addresses one of the burning issues on the agenda of policy makers and citizens in contemporary Latin America. In much of Latin America, disenchantment and cynicism have set in regarding the quality of elected governments raising the prospect of a new round of democratic erosion and breakdowns. One of the important emerging challenges for improving the quality of democracy resolves around how to build more effective mechanisms of accountability. A widespread perception prevails in much of the region that government officials are not sufficiently subject to routine controls by oversight agencies. Corruption, lack of oversight, impunity of state actors and improper use of public resources are major problems in most countries of the region. Dealing with these issues is paramount to restoring and deepening democratic legitimacy. The fundamental question in this volume is how democratic leaders in Latin America can improve accountability while simultaneously promoting governmental effectiveness.