Networked Notes - 8 March 2016

By Southern Pulse Staff and Network

There is a growing realization within the Venezuelan MUD that they are stuck. The government is losing ground in terms of public opinion and general ability to run the country, but Maduro’s opponents still do not have a clear path forward. The decision last week for an “all of the above” strategy to push for Maduro’s ouster came with the unspoken acknowledgement that all of the routes that the opposition controls have little chance of succeeding independently due to the government’s control of other institutions including the military and the courts. Ultimately, the goal of these routes is to convince the Chavistas that their best option is to push Maduro out. Meanwhile, the opposition is simply trying to use its ongoing National Assembly efforts to position itself as a legitimate alternative to voters.

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A recently published poll placed Miguel Osorio Chong, Mexico’s current Secretary of Interior, in a statistical tie with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and former first lady Margarita Zavala for the 2018 presidential election. However, Osorio Chong is simply the best known of a long line of potential PRI candidates and the party’s leadership is tight-lipped about who will eventually receive the infamous dedazo to be the president’s successor. Though less known nationally, popular alternative guesses among journalists in Mexico City include Mexico State Governor Eruviel Ávila and Secretary of Education Aurelio Nuño.

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Another poll published last weekend shows Julio Guzman gaining rapidly in Peru’s presidential race (see last week's Southern Pulse analysis). The sudden surge by an outsider is a story that has been seen in multiple Peruvian elections in the past 15 years. At the same time, it remains quite possible that both Guzman and Cesar Acuña will be removed from the race by the election tribunal due to technicalities. The immediate beneficiary of those candidates dropping out would be Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the former finance minister who is better liked than the two former presidents who are also running as establishment candidates. Also quietly gaining attention is Verónika Mendoza, a little-known and definite outsider among the candidates who could certainly take some of the momentum if Guzman is forced out and voters are looking for another alternative outsider candidate.