2018: Latin America wants change

Nine countries will go to the polls asking for a change in political vision  

2018: Latin America wants change

Complaints about corruption and the need for change promises 12 months of adjustment for many countries in Latin America.  Disillusionment with political parties suggests that there will be a change in proposals, candidates, and, more importantly, in the electors. Each country faces different challenges which, in general, translates into the same thing: gain confidence in the electorate so that independent movements can come together for the following year.

This year the electoral season begins at the end of this year and will last until the end of 2018. The countries that will be participating in this year’s elections are Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, and Venezuela.

Chile kicked off the process with the first round of presidential elections. Chile’s biggest challenge is its economy.  During the last four years, the Chilean GDP has been 1.8%, which is considered low in comparison to the beginning of the millennium until 2013. For the successor of Michelle Bachelet, a good program for the local economy can guarantee a second round. However, we must bear in mind that corruption scandals overwhelm candidates and their political parties.

Honduras, on November 26, decides the future of its nation. Juan Orlando Hernández, the current president, will run to be reelected. However, the three largest opposition political parties created an alliance in order to remove him from power. Hernández and the Opposition Alliance, with Salvador Nasralla as candidate, know that social problems and violence will be the main issues during the polling.

Cuba will also be among the countries that will be deciding their future during this year’s elections. For Cuba the electoral process will begin by choosing the municipal representatives on November 26th. It’s the first time in 60 years that a person outside the Castro family will rule the country. These elections signify the first transitional step of the Cuban regime into democracy.

In February of 2018, Costa Rica will go to the polls to choose the new members of the legislative power along with the new president. The fragmentation in Congress is notorious due to the scandals that have been discovered in the last three months. Both the legislature and the executive are challenged to correct the public debt that plunged the country into problems, as well as the growth of the crime rate. The challenge for Costa Rica is to be able to harmonize the two powers that are subject to choose.

In March and May, Colombia will vote for the legislators and the president respectively. It will be the first election with the FARC as a political group. The challenges range from the economy to government corruption. During the last four years, the Colombian legislature has been affected by corruption scandals.

When it comes to the presidential race, Colombians have a wide range of options; there seems to a candidate for every political point of view. As of right now, these politicians have not shown their true colors so voters are going to have to wait and see.

In April, Paraguayans will choose their new legislative and executive power. Whoever wins the presidency faces the challenges of managing agriculture difficulties, poverty, and the poor infrastructure that the country possesses. At the legislative level, corruption will be the biggest challenge to be won by the voters.

In July, Mexico will have legislative changes and the election of Enrique Peña Nieto's successor. The current government faces its biggest crisis with the PRI's lowest rate of popularity. Violence, security, and the economy will dominate the electoral agenda. In addition, independent movements gain strength, and in the case of the presidential election, they are shown as a different option and a positive change

Meanwhile, Brazil will also change its legislative branch, as well as the executive. During the last three years, they too have had their government shaken due to corruption scandals.

Last but not least, Venezuela will hold presidential elections at the end of next year. However, according to the Intelligence Unit from The Economist, said event will not be held. The authoritarian regime of Nicolás Maduro could simply annul the suffrage leading the country into a deeper and more pronounced crisis.  

 

Latin American Post | Carlos Eduardo Gómez Avella

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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