World The vote in Peru, Bolivia and Chile marks Latin...

The vote in Peru, Bolivia and Chile marks Latin American politics at the beginning of 2020

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Emili J. Blasco

Updated:01/15/2020 14: 08h

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The evolution of political crises lived in 2019 in several Latin American countries will fill the regional news in the coming months, with parliamentary elections in Peru, parliamentary and presidential in Bolivia and a plebiscite on the Constitution in Chile. That in a year for which initially only the elections to the National Assembly of Venezuela were planned, in the month of December.

Peru: extraordinary legislative

The first electoral call, on January 26, is that of Peru, where the bitter struggle between President Martín Vizcarra and the opposition majority, led by Keiko Fujimori, has resulted in legislative elections that were not scheduled. These extraordinary elections will take place despite the initial questioning about the legality of the dissolution of the National Congress (unicameral institution) made by the president. The new deputies will be elected for only one year, since in 2021 the ordinary elections will take place, since in Peru the five-year term of the president and that of Congress must coincide.

The polls are showing a large volume of undecided and possible abstention, as well as a decline in the domain that Fuerza Popular, the formation of Keiko Fujimori, he was in the current Congress. The polls, unreliable given the high indeterminacy still of the electorate, show for now a relative tie between that party and Popular Action, which is in a boom after winning the mayor of Lima in 2018. The call does not present the PPK, the party created for the 2016 elections by the then presidential candidate Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who after his triumph had to resign for corruption in 2018 and be replaced by his vice president, Vizcarra.

Chile: towards the constitutional convention

The next appointment with the polls will be in Chile, on April 26. Social protests registered in the country in recent months led to a broad pact for the celebration of a plebiscite on the Constitution (the current date of the Pinochet dictatorship).

Chileans should answer two questions: if they want a new Constitution and what kind of body should write it. If the answer to the first question is affirmative, it will be taken into account which option triumphs in the second, which presents two alternatives: a mixed constitutional convention, in which half of the members are the current members of Congress and the other half is expressly chosen by the citizens, or a convention in which all its members are voted for that purpose by the Chileans. The direct election of constituents, whether they are 50% or 100% of the convention they would write the new constitution, would take place on October 25, coinciding with the municipal elections and regional governors. The surveys indicate a citizen majority favorable to a new Constitution and to be drafted by a convention completely expressly chosen.

The president's party Sebastian Piñera, National Renewal (RN), has given freedom to vote to its followers, although the majority of its leaders defend voting negatively, claiming that if some constitutional changes are urgent it is better to proceed to them as soon as possible in the current Congress, instead of that everything be delayed in a slow constituent process that also lengthens the current climate of instability and confrontation. Within the Chile Vamos government coalition, of which RN is a part, the Evópoli party defends the affirmative vote for a new Constitution, while the Independent Democratic Union asks for rejection.

Bolivia: generals without anti-Morales unit

The new general elections in Bolivia, after leaving the country of Evo Morales, have finally been called for May 3. In them, the fled former president, who is in Argentina, will not be a candidate. His party, the Movement to Socialism (MAS), plans to appoint presidential next week; Among the possible candidates are the coca grower Andronico Rodríguez and David Choquehuanca, former chancellor with Morales and current secretary general of ALBA.

Given the division that exists between the leaders opposed to the MAS, this has been prevailed in some surveys. The one published by the newspaper "Página Siete" last week gave 23% to the MAS, with Rodriguez as a candidate, compared to 21% of Carlos Mesa, who rivaled Morales in the October elections in which he committed fraud. For its part, Luis Alfredo Camacho Y Marco Pumari, who led revolts against the former president, achieved 13% and 10% respectively. To these names we should add the one of Jeanine Áñez, the interim president, if she decides to introduce herself.

While all of them could join forces in a second round against MAS, by going separately in the first round, which is when the legislative elections also take place, Morales' party could be the strongest in the Bolivian Legislative Assembly.

Venezuela: authoritative occasion for Maduro

Nicolás Maduro failed in his attempt on January 5 to prevent by force the re-election of Juan Guaidó as president of the National Assembly of Venezuela, but this one, anyway, has only one more year in the post. In the autumn of 2020, the Venezuelan legislative elections should be held (traditionally they were in December, but there is a slight advance), which constitutes the propitious occasion for Chavez to resume control of the National Assembly or at least prevent Its constitution.

If in the 2015 parliamentarians the regime was forced to accept the triumph of the opposition (the fraud committed was not enough to turn the result around) it was because then I still needed to keep certain democratic appearances before the world. Today, its authoritarian character is internationally denounced, so it can act without cover.

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