December 8, 2022

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3 Latin American elections in 2022 and how they can change or strengthen the politics of the region

  • Gerardo Lizardi
  • BBC News World

debt, Getty Images

Photo caption,

Preparations for the presidential election in Colombia in May; The election, along with the Brazilians, will be decisive in dictating the course of the left on the continent

In the early years of the 21st century, re-election of current presidents was a common occurrence in Latin America among left and right-wing leaders.

But soon the Boom Raw materials (the main commodities exported to the continent), deep economic problems arose, corruption scandals erupted and social unrest developed (emerged in different waves of resistance), all of which were deepened by the Govt-19 epidemic.

Then, the Latin American electoral trend changed: it voted against Establishing And give space to the opposition.

In 11 of the 12 presidential elections held in Latin America since 2019, a majority vote was to replace the ruling party.

The exception is Nicaragua, but its elections, held in November, were contested by some countries and considered illegal: President Daniel Ortega He was re-elected for the fourth time in a row and all other candidates were in jail.

“There is general dissatisfaction with the political class and the party in power ends up paying the bill,” said Paulo Velasco, an international political professor at Rio de Janeiro (Uerj) State University.

This picture of discontent may end in 2022, with three elections planned for the region, two of which are in the most populous countries in South America: Brazil and Colombia.

Table and views

Among the more than 20 registered candidates are well-known names such as former centrist President Jose Maria Figueroa, conservative former Vice President Lynette Saporio and right-wing evangelical leader Fabrizio Alvarado, who lost to the current president in 2018. ., Carlos Alvarado.

As another sign of popular discontent over the change of government, the ruling Citizen Action Party’s candidate, Welmer Ramos, intends to vote below the margin of error in some polls.

But the two elections that will focus on the region this year are, chronologically, the elections in Colombia and Brazil.

The first round of the Colombian election is scheduled for May 29 (March, more than two months after the legislative elections) and the second round is scheduled for June 19.

In the background The Great Street Struggles of 2021 And various economic challenges, most of Colombia’s polls point to the presence of left-wing Gustavo Pedro, an economist, former guerrilla and former mayor of Bogot, who lost in the second round to incumbent President Evan Duke in 2018.

debt, Getty Images

Photo caption,

After losing the second round, in 2018, Gustavo Pedro will try to become the first left-wing president in Colombia history.

Pedro’s final victory marks an unprecedented victory: the first time a left – wing candidate has been elected president of Colombia.

But the situation may be different from the left-right polarization of the recent Latin American elections.

“This is a strong possibility: today there is no such thing as a polarization between a left-wing and a right-wing candidate,” said Patricia Muñoz, a professor of political science at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogot.

On the other hand, everything indicates that there will be a confrontation between the current President of Brazil Jair Bolzano (PL) and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (PT) in the October election. Objectives for the October 2 election (second round possible on October 30).

debt, Reuters

Photo caption,

At the beginning of this millennium Latin America was dominated by the left, but lost land

So far, polls have not indicated the main motives behind voting for so-called “third-way” candidates, such as former judge and former minister Sergio Moro (Podemos) and former governor Chiro Gomez (PDT).

‘Wave’ from left?

The final victories of Lula and Pedro will give a new impetus to the left in Latin America, not just because of the relative weight of Brazil and Colombia on the continent.

Between 2020 and 2021, left-wing candidates won most of the elections in the region: with the exception of Louis Ars in Bolivia, Pedro Castillo in Peru, Siomara Castro in Honduras and Gabriel Boric in Chile, particular Nicaragua.

However, some analysts reject the notion that a new regional trend could now be predicted, as happened in the first decade of the century when many left-wing governments were consolidated and re-elected.

debt, Reuters

Photo caption,

In the midst of the economic, social and political problems facing the government of Jair Bolsanaro, it is possible to regain the place lost by the left in Brazil.

In his view, it is natural for voters in many countries to move to the left after the disappointment shown by right-wing presidents to those elected instead of the opposite pole.

“If there are more left-wing governments now, there will be a tendency for the right or center-right to win,” he says.

The great challenge for Latin American governments is to meet the demand for better public services and social security, as well as for less inequality and perhaps more consensual problems on the left.

However, it will be difficult to work in Latin America with moderate growth (the regional average will be 3% by 2022, according to the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Commission – ECLAC), and there is now uncertainty due to inflationary pressures, high public debt and the omicron variant of the corona virus.

Some experts warn that social unrest may re-emerge, with popular protests in the region.

debt, AFP

Photo caption,

Protests similar to the ones in Colombia in 2021 may return to Latin America this year

The Sweden-based intergovernmental agency Idea points out that “the poor or lackluster response of many governments in Latin America and the Caribbean (…) to the current crisis could create a new wave of massive and violent social protests.” Report on the state of democracy in the region released in November.

While the report highlights the signs of regression in democracy during the epidemics, it says there have been “frequent attacks on electoral systems” in Latin America by governments and opposition parties in countries such as Brazil, El Salvador, Mexico and Peru. .

In this context, the eyes will also be on the Brazilian election after Bolsanaro’s attacks on the electoral system (in November, he stepped back and said he “believes in electronic voting”) and unsupported the claim of Brazilian President Donald Trump. The 2020 US presidential election was rigged.

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