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Political Outlook in Latin America for 2021

Next year several Latin American countries will elect their rulers amid a severe economic crisis due to the pandemic .

Chile flags

Latin America is preparing for an intense electoral day that could be the starting point to generate a series of necessary changes in the region. / Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | Moisés Campos

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Leer en español: Panorama Político en Latinoamérica para el 2021

Next year Latin America begins an intense electoral process that may be the starting point to generate a series of necessary changes in the region, which are made urgent to face a not encouraging outlook, product of the crisis generated worldwide by the pandemic of the Coronavirus. Estimates of a sharp drop in GDP, made by the World Bank, ECLAC and the International Monetary Fund, and which place it between 7.2% and 9.4%, will produce a strong crisis that will be decisive in these elections.

Daniel Zovatto, general director of Idea, points out that the countries of the region face the possibility of losing a decade if the voters favor with their vote those candidates who propose easy solutions, opening the doors to more social instability and a stage of authoritarian governments.

Overview of the presidential elections in 2021

Next year four countries in the region will hold presidential elections. Ecuador in February, Peru in April, Honduras in November and Chile in November, where a change in the parties that are in power is expected.

Ecuador

The presidential elections in Ecuador will be held on February 7. The results of the Cedatos pollster reflect that the country is facing the electoral process in the midst of an economic crisis and with a population worried about its consequences. The candidates facing the electoral process who have the most options of reaching a second round are:

  • Guillermo Lasso (CREO-PSC), has a high presence in social media and has 26.1% in electoral preferences, as a result of his proposals to generate employment and open markets.
  • Andrés Arauz (Unión por la Esperanza - UNES), with 19.7%, seeks to concentrate all the forces of progressivism around the figure of former President Rafael Correa.
  • Yaku Pérez (Pachacutik), with 13.1% of voting intentions.

Peru

Peru has been the most affected country in Latin America in deaths per million inhabitants due to the Coronavirus pandemic, in addition to being submerged in a political crisis a few months before the elections. The results of the latest poll conducted by the newspaper El Comercio in conjunction with the polling station Ipsos, former mayor George Forsyth of Victoria Nacional continues to lead the polls, although he has had a 25% decrease in voting intention at its highest. Now with 18%, in addition to being the candidate that generates the least rejection among voters.

After Forsyth, the candidate of the Purple Party, Julio Guzmán, is in the voting preference, with 8%. In third place are the candidates Verónika Mendoza from Together for Peru and Keiko Fujimori from Fuerza Popular, with 7%.

Also read: Latin America at the polls in 2021

Chile

On October 25, the national plebiscite took place with a high electoral participation in which the drafting of a new constitution was approved, carried out by a constituent that will be made up only of citizens. This after having undergone strong social mobilization, so the presidential elections in November 2021 will start an era of change in the country.

The latest survey by Pulso Ciudadano shows that Patricia Jiles from the Humanist Party leads the preferences with 12.7%, followed by Joaquín Lavín from UDI with 12.3% and Daniel Jadue, from the Communist Party (9.9%)

Honduras

The primaries for the presidential elections will be held in March. President Juan Orlando will not run for re-election, due to the strong political crisis that the country is still experiencing. Voters have among their main issues of concern social peace, employment and the high cost of living, being these determining factors that will affect the electoral results, as can be seen in the survey carried out by Goberna.

For the National Party, the dispute for the candidacy will be between the presidential designee Ricardo Álvarez, Mauricio Oliva, president of the Congress, and the mayor of Tegucigalpa, Nasry Asfura. Luis Zelaya Medrano, Oscar Melara and deputy Ángel Darío Benegas are contesting the candidacy for the Liberal Party.

Legislative Elections 2021

Legislative elections will be held in the region in El Salvador in March, in Mexico in June and finally in Argentina in October, without neglecting the electoral processes that will take place in Bolivia, of governors and mayors, and in Mexico elections to elect federal deputies.

With the legislative elections, leaders such as Nayib Bukele in El Salvador or Alberto Fernández in Argentina will seek to achieve a majority in both chambers, since they currently do not have that advantage. López Obrador in Mexico will focus on trying to maintain congressional dominance. Daniel Zovatto also states that the electoral results are likely to lead to the appearance of new actors, as a result of the use of the vote by voters as a method of punishment or reward.

It also highlights that the handling that governments have made of the pandemic in their respective countries will be a determining factor in the voters' decision when voting and that the election result will cause greater political diversity in the region. Carlos Malamud and Rogelio Núñez, researchers at the Elcano Royal Institute, affirm that this year has not been but the beginning of an electoral stage that will take place between 2021 and 2024, with the renewal or maintenance of current governments in power.

Malamud and Núñez also point out that the elected governments will have to carry out major reforms so that the economies of their respective countries are much more productive and can compete on the world stage, emerging from the serious economic crisis they face.

Also, the vast majority of Latin American democracies must be renewed, in order to be able to respond to the growing citizen demands, to prevent the countries of the region from continuing to go through the stages of crisis, which end in a loss of legitimacy, putting its continuity and the political stability of the region at risk. These electoral processes should be seen as an opportunity to establish changes that allow a new phase of growth and political and economic stability to begin.

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