A Guide to Latin America’s Packed Election Cycle
Voters head to polls amidst dire public health crisis
This year will be a busy one in the Latin American political arena, with national elections due in eight countries: Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. The economic backdrop could hardly be less favorable: The region has been ravaged by Covid-19, and likely contracted by more than any world region except Europe in 2020, amid tough, prolonged lockdowns, low commodity prices and limited fiscal support in some countries. Unemployment has soared, budget deficits have bulged, and longstanding wealth inequalities have sharpened further, due to threadbare social safety nets and the outsized impact of the pandemic on informal workers. As such, 2021 could see a notable shift in economic policy in many countries. In this brief, economist Oliver Reynolds examines what is to come in the main elections in Latin America this year and what the results could mean for the countries’ respective economies going forward.