LatAm to pass its election year test
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Opinion

LatAm to pass its election year test

The region’s political highlight of 2017 went well.

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Argentine president Mauricio Macri’s passed his crucial mid-term test with flying colours. He gained some seats but, more importantly, momentum in his reform programme was maintained with the population’s clear validation of his attempt to move the economy onto more orthodox footing.

Reinforcing last year’s good political vibes, Chile’s presidential election continued the market-friendly theme with the election of president Sebastián Piñera in mid-December.

Taken together, can we expect these to be a positive signal for this year’s important electoral tests in Colombia, Mexico and Brazil?

Not really.

Each country will be more driven by domestic issues than influenced by any regional movement back towards centre-right market-friendly governments.

Colombia is first up, with the first round in May and a potential run-off in June, and it is still far from clear who will be on the ballot. The traditional, dominant political parties have lost their sway over the Colombian electorate and faith in all parties is reportedly low.

The peace process has also polarized support and there is a strong possibility that an independent candidate could emerge. The good news is that, so far, it is unlikely that a viable candidate will emerge with the potential to take Colombia away from its consensual and orthodox economic approach (the country suffered a morale-sapping downgrade in December 2017).

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