Elections

CNE will invite international delegates to monitor Ecuador's general elections

The National Electoral Council (CNE) approved a plan to monitor the 2017 general elections, where international and national delegates will participate (El Telegrafo, 22 November 2016). The CNE confirmed international delegates from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Organization of American States (OEA), and the Inter-American Union of Electoral Bodies (UNIORE) will be present at the general elections held on 19 February 2017, which includes the Presidential Election (El Tiempo). CNE President Juan Pablo Pozo stated the decision to invite international organizations was to clear up any speculations regarding the legitimacy of this election, and to prove the elections will be won with nothing but the popular vote (El Comercio).

Daniel Ortega wins third term

With 99.8 percent of the vote accounted for, Daniel Ortega's FSLN won 72.5 percent of the vote for both the presidency and vice presidency (Nuevo Diario, 7 November 2016). President of the Consejo Supremo Electoral (CSE) Roberto Rivas announced that 68.2 percent of registered voters participated. The only sizable opposition from the five participating political parties came from the PLC, which received 15 percent of the total vote (La Prensa). However, the exclusion of opposition members through the judiciary, along with a lack of international observation, has raised concerns about the election. According to La Prensa, the opposition considers Ortega's leadership a dynastic dictatorship, as Ortega's wife Rosario Murillo will assume the vice presidency despite concerns over constitutionality.

Mexican government prepares post-US election economic plan

Officials in Mexico are reportedly planning an economic strategy following the aftermath of the United States presidential election on 8 November 2016. As mentioned by El Diario de Juarez on 3 November 2016, Central Bank (Banxico) Governor Agustín Carstens claimed a contingency plan was being formulated, regardless who will be Obama's successor. Carstens previously claimed a Donald Trump win would be akin to a “hurricane” battering Mexico, while a win for Hillary Clinton would be less damaging. Nevertheless, he warned the economy would still face a period of volatility in the post-election period.

In addition, Milenio reported Carstens also expressed optimism over the continuing recovery of the economy in the U.S., Mexico’s main trade and economic partner. He also said Banxico is most concerned over an inflation hike should the U.S. Federal Reserve raise interest rates soon.

Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo attempted to downplay Carstens’ worries over Mexico’s financial state following 8 November. According to El Informador on 3 November 2016, Guajardo claimed Mexico doesn't need to feel anxious about the results of the U.S. presidential election. Regardless of who wins, he said it’s vital to ensure strong bilateral trade relations. Guajardo cited during a meeting of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Mexico how market and adjustments following the Brexit vote serve as an example of not making overly wild predictions.

Mexican National Electoral Institute approves guidelines for internet voting from abroad

The General Council of the Mexican National Electoral Institute (INE) approved a measure on 24 October 2016, which sets guidelines for an electronic internet-based voting system for Mexicans living abroad (Excelsior). The vote of seven in favor and two against does not assure the system will be approved, but is the start of a process to analyze the best options available. INE Board Member Enrique Andrade González suggested the guidelines sought to ensure only one vote would be issued to each eligible citizen living abroad (Excelsior). INE Chairman Lorenzo Córdova warned the system was not guaranteed to take part in the 2018 election, but would be crucial for future votes. The General Council agreed the system, although subject to testing and evaluation, would be in place by March 2017 (La Jornada).

Voter turnout in Chilean municipal elections reaches historical lows

Municipal elections held on 23 October 2016 registered the lowest turnout in Chilean elections since the country's return to democracy. According to the first recounts, only 4.9 million out of 14.1 million registered voters exercised their right to vote. This meant a turnout of 34.9 percent, easily the lowest figure in the elections and referenda held in the country since 1988. Experts identified several reasons for this, ranging from the public's lack of interest in politics to the corruption scandals that have undermined trust in the country's institutions. The restriction on political campaigning mandated by transparency and democratic strengthening laws passed in April 2016 was also quoted as having contributed to low turnout. Low participation in the election has sparked discussion on potential measures to address the issue, including a return to mandatory voting (abolished in 2012) and promoting the use of electronic voting to facilitate voter turnout (La Tercera).

PAN members warn Anaya on bid for Mexican presidency

PAN members, including part of the leadership, penned a letter on 23 October 2016 criticizing PAN President Ricardo Anaya’s ambitions to run for President in 2018 (La Jornada). The group pointed out the conflict of interests involved for Anaya to continue on as the leader PAN while planning to run for the highest office in the country, claiming it was Anaya’s role as PAN national president to preserve harmony, not to damage it. The group warned Anaya of using PAN funds and structure to carry out his ‘personal’ bid for president and urged him to make his intentions clear as soon as possible (La Jornada and Informador). The majority of signatures on the letter were those from supporters of Margarita Zavala, former first lady and potential PAN candidate for the presidency in 2018 (Informador).

Ecuadorian President speaks out against tax havens

President Correa appeared before Ecuador's Constitutional Court to present his proposal to hold a referendum on whether candidates who have assets in tax havens should be barred from standing during the February 2017 elections. Correa arrived at the Court accompanied by representatives from social movements, and heavily criticized tax havens and their impact on the economy (Telégrafo). The President claimed that between 2014 and 2015 Ecuador lost US$379 million to tax havens, an amount equivalent to the investment required to rebuild the areas most affected by the April 2016 earthquake (Universo).