Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay: Decisive Elections in Latin America

October 11, 2019

In the coming weeks 3 important coincidental elections for presidential and other legislative and regional positions will take place in Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay. The ballot in each of these countries will decide on the trend of neo liberal projects in the region or continue or not.

This convergence will be highly significant for a new arrangement in the Latin America’s geopolitical spectrum, in which the so-called “Latin American progressive circle” gave way to the resurgence of the “regional right”.


Besides electing new president and vice-president, Argentineans will also elect 130 national deputies and 24 national senators next October 27. In several provinces and in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires will also elect, that same day, executive and legislative authorities.

As in previous elections, an electoral ticket will be declared the winner if they receive 45 percent of the votes, or 40 percent plus a difference of at least 10 percent over its closest contender. If these results don’t happen, a second round would be held with between the two most voted tickets.

In the compulsory primary elections held last August 11, final results showed that most of citizens voted for opposition ticket Frente de Todos, with Alberto Fernandez together with Cristina Fernandez winning 49 percent of the total valid votes.

In second place, pro-government alliance Juntos por el Cambio, with incumbent President Mauricio Macri, was backed by 32.93 percent of the votes. Though surveys conducted last September show that the “Fernandez team” would win in a first round, the broad margin of error in polls prior the primary elections compared to the real results leads to think that a run-off may still take place.

Argentina’s economic crisis has been a crucial topic in the presidential campaign, and primary election results placed the Macri Administration in an uncomfortable defensive situation. Even the International Monetary Fund has put conditions on the continuation of making payments to the Argentinean economy; until the most foreseeable scenario is not confirmed, they will not deal with the Macri Administration.

The economic issue is crucial in defining not only the next electoral result but also the configuration of political will and support networks for Macri as for Fernandez. In short, Argentina’s economy has surrendered to its creditors and they seem to believe that Macri’s reelection is unfeasible and there are signs that they are already lobbying the most likely new government. The most likely result in Argentina today means a setback for the regional Right in such an important stronghold.

Nevertheless, the Fernandez Administration is expected to assume a “moderate left” stance and its actions will depend on internal support groups, with Cristina Fernandez having more leadership in the popular field. They have consolidated the current support network through a versatile platform among leaders of the left, worker’s unions and associations. And ultimately it will have to figure out how to stand up to the IMF.

The role of the new Argentinean Government on the regional geopolitical context is yet to be defined but it should already be considered a significant setback for neoliberal forces in the region, especially because Argentina is an important factor in the different Latin American platforms of trade and diplomacy.


Bolivia is ready to elect next October 20 the president and vice-president of the Pluri-national State, plus 130 deputies and 36 senators for the term 2020-2025.

With over a decade in office, Evo Morales with his Movimiento al Socialismo party is running for reelection with a Bolivian economy in excellent conditions. This is the South American country with the highest sustained growth in the last decade, with an inflation rate lower to five percent and its local currency revaluated.

Similarly, the Bolivian population has seen a significant increase in their purchasing power, decrease in social economic inequality, and a significant improvement in public and social services.

The indigenous President is going to run against a divided opposition represented by Carlos Mesa (Comunidad Ciudadana party) and Oscar Ortiz (Bolivia Dice No) as main contenders. The first one is openly and loudly speaking for neoliberalism with the support of the United States.

Morales appears to be the winning option with higher possibilities in the first round. His party shall get over 50 percent of the valid votes or a minimum 40 percent with a 10 percent difference over the second most voted candidate.

The Bolivian opposition is making efforts to reach the run-off so as to extend the political campaign until December, date for a possible second round.

In this connection, Bolivia’s Right has undertaken a “civic campaign” parallel to Mesa and Ortiz as candidates, a “civic violence” headed by foundations, associations and —apparently nonprofit— organizations representing the autonomy movement based in the province of Santa Cruz, also known as Cruceñismo. They have made important actions calling to cast protest votes against Morales and they have threatened “disobedience” against what they call an “electoral fraud.”

The inconsistency between calling to vote against the Government but claiming fraud at the same time is clearly aimed at reaching a narrow margin in Morales’ victory in a first round or taking the election to December, seeking to cause electoral fatigue marked by political unrest —an unknown scenario for Bolivia for a long time and the reason why the local economy has been able to grow.

Ingredients for a new cycle of political unrest are ready in Bolivia given the tone and agenda proposed by the Cruceñismo during the last weeks.

It would all happen simultaneously with elections and after them regardless of a favorable result for Morales. Even though having a crushing victory, the Government is not possibly able to prevent the regime change agenda under way in that country.

It is also probable that the Morales Administration would implement economic reforms translated into an adjustment of the exchange rate, resulting in an important ingredient for the confrontation and political chaos trying to be spread by the Cruceñismo and other right-wing groups in Bolivia.


Uruguay’s pre-electoral political context is defined by clear trends shown by surveys conducted ahead of presidential and legislative elections next Sunday October 27.

Uruguay’s politics is the most stable in South America but its current context is starting to show distinctive features of different results in the upcoming elections, which would turn upside down the page of hegemony maintained by the Frente Amplio for over a decade.

The conservative Right may took office again in Uruguay.

All scenarios prior the first electoral round show a voting intention clearly favorable to the incumbent Frente Amplio and its presidential candidate Daniel Martinez over the strongest opposition option, the Partido Nacional’s Luis Lacalle Pou. Meanwhile, the Partido Colorado with economist Ernesto Talvi are standing as the third force.

However, regardless of the favorable scenario for the so-called “conservative left,” Uruguay’s electoral law stipulates that results are not defined in a first round but in a run-off, which would take place in November with a different electoral arrangement. In order to win in a first round, a candidate has to reach absolute majority.

In an almost sure run-off to be held on November 24, Daniel Martinez would stand against Lacalle Pou, who would probably be backed by a coalition made by Talvi and other opposition sectors. This is the hotspot of the electoral arrangement following a first round. The correlation of forces of small parties today gather between 10 and 20 percent of preference and they are all opposition, rightist organizations that may join against the Frente Amplio.

In fact, all surveys show that the Partido Colorado would win a run-off. Only an unexpected event or a radical change of campaign would keep the Frente Amplio in power, but possibilities are still scarce.

For the next Uruguayan Administration, the government and parliament will be marked by small parties that will color the legislative body in a different way. This is another feature in Uruguay’s election showing that traditional parties in the country are exhausted. The number of parties with the possibility of winning a seat in parliament is unprecedented. This might complicate management for the next President.

According to surveys conducted between June and to now, nine parties might get parliamentary representation. Some people even talk about “a future multicolor coalition government” and, even if the Frente Amplio is elected, the legislative context is going to be diffused.

It will not be so though if Luis Lacalle Pou of the Partido Nacional makes a run-off coalition favoring the necessary political pacts to govern comfortably with the parliament.

This factor, and if a right-wing parties do not make agreements, would be a key issue for the Frente Amplio.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano, translation, North America bureau