Election Watch - Latin America

Opposition Plans Return to Venezuelan Congress

Political sectors opposed to the Venezuelan government of President Hugo Chávez have elected 22 candidates in primaries, and selected another 143 by consensus, to compete in September for the 165 seats in the single-chamber parliament.

COSTA RICA: Last-Ditch Leftwing Alliance to ‘Save’ the Country

Political forces on the left in Costa Rica have formed a partial last-minute alliance to support Ottón Solís, the presidential candidate for the centre-left Citizens' Action Party (PAC), in a bid to counter the conservative lead that the polls predict for the upcoming Feb. 7 elections.

Sebastián Piñera Credit:

CHILE: Steering to the Right

After 52 years without a victory at the ballot box, the political right is coming back to govern Chile, as multi-millionnaire businessman and former senator Sebastián Piñera narrowly won the run-off against Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle in Sunday's presidential election.

BRAZIL: Electoral Reform “Just a Sop” to Women

The Brazilian government is congratulating itself on the first-stage approval of a draft electoral law that increases women's participation in party politics. However, the women's movement says it introduces no changes to a power structure that excludes women from politics.

MEXICO: Record Protest Vote Amid Sweeping PRI Gains

The centre-right governing party and the leftwing opposition in Mexico were dealt a major blow in the midterm congressional and local elections on Sunday, in which the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) made a resounding comeback, reviving memories of the past.

ARGENTINA: Gearing Up for the Presidential Race

The government's poor showing in Argentina's mid-term congressional elections Sunday has cleared the way for would-be successors to President Cristina Fernández in the 2011 presidential elections. Experts say that, at present, no potential rival has a clear lead.

 Credit: FMLN

EL SALVADOR: Crisis, Poverty Huge Challenges for Leftist President

The main challenges faced by El Salvador's leftwing president-elect Mauricio Funes are forging understandings with other political sectors, adopting measures to deal with the economic crisis, and especially its effects on the poor, and strengthening the country's institutions, say analysts.

EL SALVADOR: Elections Mark Shift to the Left

Salvadoran president-elect Mauricio Funes of the leftist insurgency-turned-political party FMLN promised to build an "inclusive" government, with a view to bringing about reconciliation in Salvadoran society and creating a "future of progress" for all Salvadorans.

EL SALVADOR: Left Is Clear Favourite, But Die Not Yet Cast

The campaign for next Sunday's presidential elections in El Salvador wrapped up at midnight Wednesday, muddied by complaints of irregularities and fear mongering propaganda that could influence the outcome.

Rafael Roncagliolo Credit: Eric Lemus/IPS

Q&A: “Campaign of Fear Is Atrocious” Ahead of Salvadoran Vote

"I would not say that the media in Latin America contribute to fomenting civic culture, overall. They generally head in the opposite direction," says Rafael Roncagliolo, a Peruvian sociologist, journalist and election consultant.

Chávez votes in the district of Catia, Caracas.   Credit: Courtesy of Comando Electoral del Sí

VENEZUELA: Ten More Years, If He Can Woo a Divided Country

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez won Sunday's referendum with 54 percent of the vote, which will allow him to stand for reelection indefinitely. But he will have to exercise leadership over a country that is stubbornly split in two.

Campaign demonstrators in Venezuela. Credit: Pedro Antonuccio/IPS

VENEZUELA: Chavez – A Referendum of His Very Own

After a decade in office, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez goes to the country on Sunday in another attempt to change the constitution so that he can stand for reelection "for at least another 10 years".

VENEZUELA: Social Issues Played Down in Referendum Campaign

A mob seized a man suspected of rape in El Valle, a populous district in the southwest of the Venezuelan capital, beat him to death, and then burned his corpse - twice over, so that the press could film and photograph the scene. In spite of the horrifying images, few public figures mentioned the case.

EL SALVADOR: Left on Track to Win Elections

The leftist FMLN is the front-runner in the polls for Sunday's parliamentary and municipal elections in El Salvador, and analysts say a victory would boost its chances of winning the Mar. 15 presidential elections.

VENEZUELA: New Battle for Indefinite Reelection

Venezuela is heading for another electoral battle, after President Hugo Chávez kicked off 2009 by putting forward a new proposal to reform the constitution so that all elected officials may be indefinitely reelected.

VENEZUELA: Reviving the Debate on Presidential Reelection

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who has governed the country since 1999, plans to seek reelection until 2019, or even 2021.

VENEZUELA: Opposition Win Key Districts

The followers of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez are celebrating a sweet and sour victory, because while they won 17 of the 22 states up for grabs in Sunday’s regional elections, the opposition took the most populous and politically and economically important states.

VENEZUELA: Regional Elections Double as National Referendum

In Venezuela, where hardly a year goes by without elections, people will vote Sunday for governors in 22 of the 23 states, and for mayors in 328 of the 335 municipalities. The tough campaign leading up to the ballot has turned the exercise into a new referendum on President Hugo Chávez and his project of "21st century socialism".

VENEZUELA: Elections Will Put Chavez to the Test

As if his post were at stake, Venezuela’s left-wing President Hugo Chávez is showing up all over the country at election rallies, caravans, public works inaugurations, nationally televised public events and highly publicised midnight calls to his party’s local offices in remote towns.

COSTA RICA: Ready for a Woman President in 2010?

The announcement that former Costa Rican Vice President Laura Chinchilla will seek election to the presidency in 2010 indicates that the country "has matured and is ready" to have a woman as head of state, according to some analysts.

ELECTIONS-CHILE: Still Far from Gender Equality

"I had high hopes" that the quota bill introduced a year ago in parliament would be passed before the Oct. 26 municipal elections, Laura Albornoz, Minister of the National Women’s Service (SERNAM), told IPS. But the bill has not even been debated yet.

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