Most Latin American countries currently have multiparty systems in which any party has an opportunity to gain control of the government either individually or through a coalition with another party. The transfer of power takes place through elections.
While military and dictatorial regimes were dominant in the 1960s in Latin America, there was a shift during the 1980s toward more democratic systems. By then almost all former colonies of European countries had become independent. The United States and Europe became models for political stability and higher standards of living. Since 2000, left-wing or socialist parties have risen to power in most Latin American countries. Left-wing politicians often declare themselves socialists, Latin Americanists, or anti-imperialists in opposition to U.S. policies.