Civilian government restored Guatemala to the rule of law and a limited form of political pluralism. In the discussion about the period since 1982, there are many shades of interpretation about the role of the armed forces in Guatemala's "transition". Rather than "permanent counterinsurgency", Guatemala's situation can best be analyzed as "permanent crisis". The 1985 election paved the way for the civilian government of Vinicio Cerezo and the first "political opening" of any kind in Guatemala's recent history. That political opening was profoundly shaped by the scorched-earth war of 1981-1983 and remained limited by the counterinsurgency logic. Nevertheless, to represent the Cerezo period as nothing more than a continuation of the past would oversimplify a complex and contradictory reality. Pro- and anticoup factions within the ruling coalition reached an uneasy compromise: destabilize the Cerezo government just short of overthrowing it.