Latin America is about to embark on an extended series of critical electoral contests that will tell us a lot about the state of democracy in the region, notes Ted Piccone, Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy with the Brookings Institution’s Latin America Initiative and Project on International Order and Strategy. Most signs point to a wave of change, as we’ve seen in other big elections recently in Europe and the United States. But that change is likely to be heterodox ideologically, with fault lines more closely falling along old and new, rather than left and right, he writes:
That was the assessment of a group of experts from the region that the Brookings Latin America Initiative convened in late September to examine political trends in several countries heading toward national elections in the next 18 months, including Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Honduras and Venezuela. Several structural factors are driving this latest prediction—an anemic economic recovery from the end of the China commodities boom, frustrated expectations of new and traditional middle class sectors, and endemic crime and corruption, to name a few. Beyond these indicators, we also see a steady erosion of support for representative democracy in most of the region, which pushes the electoral field wide open for newcomers of various persuasions, good and bad.
Latin America is facing a crisis in the low levels of support and social legitimacy for political parties and public institutions across the region. However, National Endowment for Democracy grantees are working to bridge the gap between citizens and politics by helping new actors access institutional processes.
Join a November 2 discussion with NED grantees on how civil society is helping emerging voices, especially youth, engage in politics, join the ranks of the public sector, and strengthen democracy. Their involvement is challenging conventional ideas about democratic processes and the role of civil society.
Executive Director, Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente
Director, Fundación Avina Americas
Director, Asuntos del Sur‘s Political Innovation Academy
Program Officer, National Endowment for Democracy
Thursday, November 2, 2017
Lunch will be served
1025 F St. NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20004