Presidential elections will be held in Ecuador, Chile and Honduras. Results will shed more light on the future of the region.
The 2017 electoral calendar also includes the parliamentary elections in Argentina, the jurisdictional ones in Bolivia, and the polls to be held in four Mexican States. In 2018 the entire Latin America political situation will be clear after the presidential elections in Costa Rica, Paraguay, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela.
Ecuador’s President Correa, citing family reasons, will not stand in the 2017 election. Ecuadoran economic difficulties, aggravated by the decline in the price of oil, would put him at risk of a public defeat which would imply the end of his political career. The main uncertainty is whether, leftist Allianza Pais, the current ruling party, will be able to win again, having former Vice President Lenin Moreno as its new leader this time.
Moreno needs to get more than 50% of the vote, which is quite unlikely according to current polls, in order to avoid the second run-off vote.
The ruling party is certainly advantaged by the internal divisions of the opposition. In fact, Ecuador’s opposition, which had been contemplating a united candidacy for the upcoming presidential election, appears to have already fragmented, after members of the coalition announced their several preferred candidates, such as Guillermo Lasso, head of the Creating Opportunities Movement (CREO) political party, the Social Christian Party’s (PSC), Cynthia Viteri and the National Agreement for Change (ANC) coalition’s Paco Moncayo. According to recent polls there is a large number of undecided voters, between 45% and 47%, and Moreno is holding a 35,6% lead. The Ecuadoran Presidential elections will be held next 19 February alongside a referendum on tax havens strongly wanted by current President Correa.
On 4 June, gubernatorial elections will be held in the States of Mexico, Nayarit, and Coahuila and municipal elections in the State of Veracruz. Ahead of the 2018 presidential elections, the next June elections will help to give a picture of the Mexican voters’ support for the four parties (PRI, PAN, PRD and Morena). The Mexican left’s most visible figure Lopez Obrador, who formed the Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (Morena) or National Regeneration Movement, a social democratic party, currently tops polls for the 2018 Mexican race.
As far as Argentina is concerned, if President Mauricio Macri reaches the end of his mandate, that would be unprecedented for a non-Peronist government in the country, where legislative elections (renewing half of the Chamber of Deputies and a third of the Senate) are to be held next October. The current Government is confident that the economic recovery will finally arrive soon, however should it not be so, the Peronist opposition would take advantage from the situation. Peronism in Argentina is currently characterized by three factions, (the group headed by Sergio Massa, the faction of ‘Orthodox’ Peronists led by some provincial governors and ‘Kirchnerism’, the political group formed by the supporters of Néstor Kirchner, and of his wife Cristina Férnandez de Kirchner, who was indicted more than once, on corruption charges. The PASO, ‘Primarias Abiertas Simultáneas y Obligatorias’, (Simultaneous and mandatory open primaries), will serve as a political barometer.
On 19 November, Chilean voters will choose a successor to President Michelle Bachelet, after designating candidates in primaries to be held in July. Though some names have already been mentioned (Sebastián Piñera, Ricardo Lagos, Alejandro Guiller), it is too early to foresee who the next occupant of Palacio de la Moneda will be, also because the election will take place in an atmosphere of political disaffection by citizens.
Next November Presidential elections will also be held in Honduras. Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez (National Party) will seek re-election, reigniting debate on a single-term limit that has deeply divided the country and led to a previous president’s ouster. Honduras’s 1982 constitution limits presidents to a single four-year term, but a Supreme Court ruling last year allows him to stand for a new term. The Honduran army-ousted and exiled president Manuel Zelaya of the leftist Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE) will also be running for presidency next autumn.
Finally, in November, Bolivian citizens will cast ballots for magistrates for the Bolivian Supreme Court, the Bolivian Judicial Council and the Bolivian Agricultural Court.
These elections, though purely jurisdictional, will allow it to be known how great the support that Evo Morales can rely on after Bolivia’s ruling party tried to change the constitution to allow President Morales to seek another five years in office when his term ends in 2019.
In 2017 Latin America will face key electoral events, whose results will shed more light on the future of the region. (P.S.)