Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, and Uruguay are having presidential and/or legislative elections. In most of these countries, democracy has taken root. In general, analysts do not fear that the elections will result in violence or a weakening of democratic institutions. Honduras though is the exception on that front.
There are international, regional as well as national factors at play that will determine the outcomes of these elections. Some of the international and regional factors include weakened commodities markets, less access to capital, and the inclusion of expat populations in elections. On a national level, security and economic issues will play an important role in choosing a leader that will grow the economy and provide for personal security, both of which are lacking in many of these countries.
If Xiomara Castro wins as well as Sánchez Cerén from FMLN in El Salvador, then politics in Central America may shift toward the ALBA Alliance in Latin America, says Miriam Kornblith, director of the Latin America and the Caribbean Program at the National Endowment for Democracy.
Castro is likely to join ALBA if she wins the presidency, while it is unclear if FMLN will join as well, its politics are certainly left-leaning. The 2014 FMLN presidential candidate, Sánchez Cerén, is also much further left-leaning the current FMLN leader, Mauricio Funes, who is considered a moderate. ALBA’s influence though may be waning due to Chavez’s death, so analysts will see if Chavez’s legacy continues or if this regional body loses steam.