Election Watch - Latin America

Student Protests Energise Mexico’s Election Campaign

The "Occupy" movement has spread to Mexico, where thousands of university students have taken to the streets, bringing fresh air to a superficial and flat election campaign and forcing political parties to pay attention to a long-ignored segment of the population.

COLOMBIA: Election Campaign Marred by Violence

"Political power will be fought for metre by metre in the Oct. 30 local and regional elections in Colombia, because this is a country imbued with violence, with different armies disputing different parts of the territory," said Alejandra Barrios, director of the election observation mission (MOE).

President Cristina Fernández voting in the southern province of Río Gallegos.  Credit: Presidency of Argentina

ARGENTINA: The Cristina Fernandez Era

President Cristina Fernández's smashing victory in Argentina, with nearly 54 percent of the vote, raises questions about how she will handle her growing supremacy.

 Credit: Argentina Senate

ELECTIONS-ARGENTINA: Victory Front for Fernandez

The polls all point to a crushing first-round victory for Argentine President Cristina Fernández in Sunday's elections, due to her administration's successful social and economic policies and the wave of sympathy she received after her husband's death, analysts say.

Socialist candidate Hermes Binner, expected to come in second. Credit: Binner's presidential campaign

ARGENTINA: Divided Opposition Goes All Out for…Second Place

Argentina's weak, fragmented opposition is going to the polls on Sunday offering neither strong leaders nor clear alternatives capable of winning voters away from President Cristina Fernández, who is expected to easily win a first-round victory.

GUATEMALA: Retired General and Populist in Duel for Presidency

A retired general and a populist tycoon will face off for the Guatemalan presidency in a Nov. 6 runoff, since no candidate won 50 percent of the vote in Sunday's elections.

Women candidates on campaign billboards in Guatemala City.  Credit: Danilo Valladares/IPS

GUATEMALA: More Not Always Better for Women

"Women have more opportunities nowadays to participate in the economic, social and political development of the country, but this has still not improved the quality of their lives," said Laura Reyes, one of the three women candidates for vice president of Guatemala.

GUATEMALA: Activists Worried that Clenched Right Fist Will Take Power

Activists in Guatemala are alarmed at the prospect of a victory by the right in the September general elections, recalling the dismal records of past regimes in the areas of human rights, the economy and justice.

Ollanta Humala at end-of-campaign rally in Lima.  Credit: Gana Perú Campaign

ELECTIONS-PERU: Leftist Winner Promises “Growth with Social Inclusion”

For the first time in the democratic history of Peru, a left-wing candidate has won the presidency. With the support of an overwhelming majority of voters in the provinces, retired lieutenant colonel Ollanta Humala defeated his right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori, whose strongest backing was in the capital, in Sunday's runoff.

PERU: Voters to Choose Economic Model, Not Just President

After the most polarised election race in decades, Peruvians will go to the polls Sunday to choose not only a new president but also to decide whether to stick with the current neoliberal economic policies or to opt for reforms to reduce inequality and marginalisation.

ELECTIONS-PERU: Partisan Media Distort Information

Attacks, fear and disinformation are widespread in news coverage of Peru's election campaign, with the leading media outlets taking the side of rightwing Keiko Fujimori in her contest against Ollanta Humala for the presidency.

Rocío Silva (left) and Victoria Vigo at launch of "Fujimori Never Again" campaign.  Credit: Courtesy of the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos

PERU: No Easy Choice for Women in Presidential Runoff

In other circumstances, many women in Peru would be celebrating the possibility of a female president for the first time in the history of their country, or the alternative: the triumph of a candidate who promises to improve things for the poor. But both candidates taking part in the Jun. 5 runoff draw heavy opposition or awaken serious doubts among women's groups.

Sandra Torres at a rally after declaring she was running for president.  Credit: Danilo Valladares/IPS

Ethics and Politics Get Divorced in Guatemala

"She got a divorce because of her ambition and love of money," shopkeeper Dulce Álvarez told IPS, about Guatemalan former First Lady Sandra Torres' decision to end her marriage in order to sidestep the legal bar to the president's family members running for the presidency.

Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadine Heredia wave to the candidate's followers Sunday night. Credit: Courtesy of La República newspaper

ELECTIONS-PERU: Humala and Fujimori in Final Stretch

If retired military officer Ollanta Humala wins the Jun. 5 presidential runoff in Peru, he will have to govern with a highly fragmented Congress. And if lawmaker Keiko Fujimori triumphs, her most notable move may be the release of her father, former president Alberto Fujimori, who is serving 25 years in prison.

ELECTIONS-PERU: The Real Race Will Be the Run-Off

The only certainty about Sunday's general elections in Peru is that all the polls predict a victory for nationalist candidate Ollanta Humala, but say he will not have enough votes to secure the presidency in the first round.

Cenaida Uribe (in red) with members of congressional women's caucus.  Credit: Courtesy Congress of Peru

PERU: Popular Women Vote-Catchers Stand in for Real Participation

Women candidates nominated for the presidential and legislative elections in Peru in April tend to be big names in the worlds of sports, television or show business, or are following family tradition. But political parties are failing to promote meaningful participation by women in politics.

Alvaro Colom wearing the presidential sash. Credit: Courtesy of Guatemalan president's office

GUATEMALA: Controversial Early Start to Election Campaign

Guatemala's election campaign got off to a controversial and premature start, with an evangelical pastor, a military officer, a former president, the president's wife and the daughter of a general who led a coup emerging as presidential hopefuls, although three of them face legal barriers to their candidacy, according to experts.

BRAZIL: The Ironies of Politics

The irony of politics is that the principles upheld by a party are often contradicted in practice, in the struggle for office or the exercise of power. Brazil's elections, in which Dilma Rousseff was chosen as the country's first woman president, offer some apt illustrations.

BRAZIL: Substantive Issues Missing from Election Campaign

In Brazil, 136 million voters will head to the polls in Sunday's presidential runoff election, after a campaign heavy on recriminations and moralistic attacks and weak on substantive issues.

Voters rally for Dilma Rousseff in final stretch of campaign. Credit: Dilma13 web site

BRAZIL: Workers’ Party Support Base Redoubles Efforts for Victory

Every vote counts for the two candidates competing for the presidency of Brazil in next Sunday's runoff, and the governing Workers' Party (PT) is galvanising its electoral base into active campaigning, after the complacency instilled by eight years in power.

'False positive' killings have occurred across Colombia. Credit: Constanza Vieira/IPS

COLOMBIA: Army Killings Rear Head in Presidential Campaign

Colombian presidential candidate Antanas Mockus said he "shares the horror" over the so-called "false positives" -- young civilians killed by the army and passed off as guerrilla casualties in the military's counterinsurgency campaign.

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