The elections in Mexico and Colombia allow us to reflect on the electoral process that will take place in Brazil in October and on the state of politics in the region. Here you can get to know more about this
On July 1, Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected as president of Mexico, while on June 17 Colombia elected Iván Duque Márquez as its new president in the second round. Due to their characteristics, both elections were historical for each country and for the region. In Mexico, the left had never come to power, and after 18 years of democracy in the country, it has finally succeeded, while in Colombia the new president will govern only 4 years because the reelection was eliminated in 2015. Both electoral processes give us elements to reflect towards the presidential election of Brazil in October and to analyze the state of the regional policy in this year.
The credibility of the surveys
The polls have lost prestige in the last five years, especially when considering what happened in the Brexit, in the consultation on the Peace Agreement with the ex-guerrilla of the FARC and the election of Donald Trump as president. In these representative cases, the surveys projected totally different results, which brought criticism about its usefulness, its real importance and especially its credibility, according to different media such as El País and CNN in Spanish. In the case of Mexico, in the 2012 elections, the polls put Enrique Peña Nieto as the winner with a wide advantage of up to 18 points, when the reality is that the advantage was of almost 7 points, according to the medium SinEmbargo MX. Thus, although they were not wrong in the order of the candidates in the results, they did in the percentages, which affected their credibility.
In 2018 the polls had fewer problems because they projected a comfortable victory for López Obrador with more than 50%, which happened with great precision in the percentages, improving their image in the public opinion. In Colombia the surveys also had good results, the general average of the surveys a week before the second round was 13 points of an advantage of Duque over Petro, according to El País, a result that was finally confirmed at the polls.
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The campaigns in Mexico and Colombia were far from proactive and clean, as they were characterized by constant attacks and dirty war between different candidates. In Colombia, negative publicity and defamation were constant. Vargas Lleras accused Duque of lack of experience, according to El Universal, just to mention a simple example. However, there was no candidate who did not incur in these practices. Fake news did not stop throughout the campaign. One of the most famous was the accusation against Petro to be close to Chavismo and to want to transform Colombia into Venezuela, according to El País.
Practically identical was the accusation against López Obrador in Mexico, of wanting to transform the country into Venezuela, among other calumnies towards the now elected president. The Mexican campaign was characterized by turning around López Obrador, the insults were aimed at him from all parties. For this reason, civil society and the Mexican media launched Verificado MX, a portal built by several media together to verify the data and corroborate the claims of the news to avoid false news. The success of this initiative can be replicated in other countries such as Brazil, which is close to elections, where false news will be present every day, according to the EFE news agency.
The Mexican elections have something to learn from those of Colombia and Brazil: the second round. The North American country became polarized in 2006 when candidate Felipe Calderón defeated López Obrador by 0.56% advantage, according to SDP Noticias, which translated into a divided country. In 2012 the story was not different, the 7% advantage of Enrique Peña Nieto detracted from his government's legitimacy. For his luck, the López Obrador government arrives with a percentage of up to 54%, more than 30 points over the second place. If Mexico had a second round of presidential election, it would not have been necessary in this case, but the two previous experiences should make the country think if it needs it or not.
Latin American Post | Luis Angel Hernández Liborio
Translated from "Esto es lo que tiene que conocer sobre cómo fueron los procesos electorales de México y Colombia"