The outcomes of key presidential elections seem unusually uncertain, with consequences for stability, trade and investment.
In Mexico, the man to beat in July appears to be the leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador -- anathema to Washington but a pragmatist who might prove less radical in practice than in his rhetoric. However, his security strategy would almost certainly deviate from the status quo. Brazil's presidential contest in October is even more uncertain. An ‘outsider’ victory a real possibility, but their lack of a congressional majority will make governance difficult. The Colombian and Venezuelan elections also raise questions -- in the former case about the peace process; in the latter about when and whether they will take place.
- Will 'outsider' candidates bring changes and governability worries?
- Might commodity prices improve sufficiently to underpin social policies that have reduced poverty in recent years?
- Will there be a consistent shift to the left or right, and will election results represent a trend or a response to peculiar circumstances?
- How much economic and trade uncertainty will prolonged NAFTA renegotiation talks cause?