The last year marked a fundamental change in the political landscape of Latin America. The so called “Left Turn” that began with Hugo Chávezʼ victory in the Venezuelan presidential elections in 1998 is successively vanishing. However, while some governments accepted their electoral defeats (e.g. in Argentina) or Impeachments (e.g. Brazil), others retain power, partly in a non-democratic fashion.
For instance, the Venezuelan president Maduro has never accepted the oppositional victory in parliamentary elections held in December 2015. With the help of a loyal judiciary Maduro is governing against the legislative branch.
In Nicaragua, in 2014 president Ortega has successfully managed to amend the constitution in order to permit unlimited presidential reelection. With the help of Venezuelan financial support he has implemented a clientelistic economic policy and has built several alliances with powerful societal actors (e.g. Catholic Church, business community) that subsequently secure his dominant and autocratic position in the country.
In Bolivia, president Morales doesn’t seem to accept the referendum’s decision taken in February 2016 which refuses a constitutional amendment for the purpose of another presidential term for Morales beginning in 2019. In November 2016 Morales announced that he is “not ready to go home”.
An exception is the case of Ecuador. President Correa announced that he is not willing to run again in the presidential elections of 2017. However, in 2015 a constitutional amendment was passed that will remove term limits for public officials (including the presidency) from 2021. Hence, critics say Correa will sit out the 2017’s elections to run again in 2021.