Dexter Boniface

Latin America’s Elections in 2011: Political Outsiders versus Former First Ladies

In Argentina, Elections, Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru on April 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm

There are many important elections in 2011 as Haitians (March 20),  Peruvians (April 10; June 5), Guatemalans (September 11; November 6), Argentines (October 23), and Nicaraguans (November 6) head to the polls to pick new presidents.

The Haitian and Peruvian elections shared a common feature: in both, the first round eliminated the presumed front-runner(s) and the second round pitted political outsiders (singer Michel Martelly and x-lieutenant colonel Ollanta Humala) against former first ladies (Mirlande Manigat and Keiko Fujimori). In both cases, the political outsiders carried the day. Guatemala’s election in September likewise featured an x-military honcho, General Otto Perez Molina, though (recently divorced) former first lady, Sandra Torres was deemed ineligible to run. In Argentina, another former first lady, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner easily claimed victory.

Haiti. The Haitian election has been decided: singer Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly won the controversial presidential runoff election in a landslide, earning 68 percent of the vote.

Peru. The winner of Peru’s divisive presidential runoff is Ollanta Humala. (For a deeper analysis, see my blogpost: “Polarization in Peru: The 2011 Presidential Elections“).

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