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ABSTRACT

Political alternate positions (otherwise known as substitutes) can have important effects on women's abilities to enter politics. Using the case of Nicaragua, this study assesses whether these alternate positions are being used to increase women's political representation or as a tool to undermine women's advancement into positions of power. By examining patterns of women's representation as candidates in the 1996, 2001, and 2006 elections for the National Assembly and as elected officeholders (as both alternates for those assembly members and titleholders), the article analyzes how various political parties are utilizing these alternate positions. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, this study finds no evidence that these alternate positions are used to undermine women's political progress.