The presidential election in Colombia this past Sunday, May 25th, resulted in no official victor. As mandated by national law, a presidential candidate must win a majority vote of 50%.1 Thus, the two front runners, incumbent Manuel Santos and challenger Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, will compete in a June 15th runoff election after winning 25.6% and 29.3% of the vote, respectively.
Con la partida de los espectadores de la Copa, Brasil vuelva a la normalidad, libre de las distracciones la ola de nacionalismo producidos por el fútbol. Las elecciones presidenciales de Octubre se acercan, y la presidenta Dilma Rousseff deberá superar varios obstáculos en su búsqueda de la reelección. Por debajo de la emoción de la Copa, una serie de cuestiones sociales, económicas e internacionales nunca dejaron de agitarse.
These past couple of months have been tumultuous for the presidential candidates in Brazil. First, there was the sudden death of Eduardo Campos, the presidential candidate representing the Brazilian Socialist Party. This was followed by the meteoric rise of Marina Silva, a socialist candidate from the rural state of Acre, who has proven to be a worthy candidate against the reigning president, Dilma Rousseff.
The second Panoramas Roundtable discussion of the 2014-2015 school year took place on October 2, with contributors Ana Lúcia Gomes, Bruno Hoepers and Barry Ames. The topic of discussion was the upcoming presidential election’s top three candidates: incumbent Dilma Rousseff, Marina Silva of the socialist party, and Aecio Neves. All three panelists discussed the political landscape of Brazil setting up a structural frame of reference, before moving on to prior corruption scandals and the potential influence of the new middle class.
On October 26th, Uruguay held its presidential, vice presidential, and parliamentary elections. The previous president, José “Pepe” Mujica, was not able to run since it is not permissible for a president to serve two consecutive terms. Running in his place was the Broad Front candidate, Tabare Vazquez, who comes from the same political party as Mujica. The Broad Front, or the Frente Amplio as its known in Uruguay, is a center leftist group with many former communists and guerrilla leaders.
This October Dilma Rousseff was re-elected as Brazil’s president by the slimmest of margins. With approximately 51.4 percent of the vote she beat competitor Aécio Neves of the Social Democracy party (PSDB) who received about 48.5 percent.1 The election reveals Brazil’s clear divide amongst the population with regard to the direction of the country as evidenced by her victory speech in which she admitted that she wants to be “a much better president than I have been until now.”2
In a runoff Tabaré Vazquez won the presidential election of Uruguay beating rival candidate Luis Lacalle Pou. Mr. Vazquez, former president serving from 2005-2010, will succeed José Mujica as head of the South American state.
Latin American nations are notoriously poor tax collectors and Argentina is among the least effective. Despite a relatively high level of development, Argentina’s governments are unable or unwilling to extract at levels comparable even to the surrounding nations. One possible source of this weakness is Argentina’s political structure, including its fiscal federalism and the incentives provided by elections and national governance. Crucially, taxing is unpopular, so politicians that face reelection or can gain resources elsewhere will avoid it.