2018 Presidential Elections in Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia

Eneas de Troya / WikiCommons / CC-BY-2.0

In these interviews with Joachim Bamrud for Latinvex, Michael Shifter discusses the political outlook for Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, three countries in which upcoming 2018 presidential elections are still very uncertain.

Comments by Michael Shifter:


“An AMLO presidency would be accompanied by a high degree of uncertainty.”

“AMLO would probably pursue a more nationalist, populist agenda than recent Mexican presidents, of both the PRI and PAN, as well as his rival candidates.”

“Although he was mayor of Mexico City and has shown a pragmatic streak, AMLO's positions on key issues such as violence and corruption are not altogether clear.”

“AMLO is prone to make mistakes and has proved to be his own worst enemy. His proposed amnesty for narcos illustrates the problem. It makes little sense in either political or policy terms.”

“Meade will end up being AMLO's chief rival, although he is not well-known in much of Mexico. He is viewed as a very able technocrat but lacking popular appeal.”

“All signs suggest this is a "Change" election in Mexico, which gives AMLO the edge.”


“Although Brazil is experiencing an incipient economic recovery, its politics are particularly tumultuous, and its outlook is very hard to predict. The October elections will be critical in shaping the country's political direction.”

“For many Brazilians, Lula is remembered as an enormously popular president who rode an economic boom and focused on the social agenda.”

“Bolsonaro, a federal deputy who is nostalgic for Brazil's military rule, is capitalizing on widespread public concern with crime and insecurity.”

“There is widespread disgust with the political class in Brazil and few politicians remain unscathed by serious corruption allegations, including president Temer.”


“In 2018, Colombia holds one of its most critical elections in recent history. The context is unique, and the stakes are huge. There is widespread disdain for traditional political parties, and polls show that corruption is the dominant concern. The political consensus that once distinguished Colombia has broken down, chiefly over the terms of the controversial peace accord between the government and the FARC.”

“Uribe will, through the candidate he ultimately supports, seek to take advantage of the high level of polarization on the FARC peace agreement.”

“Fajardo enjoys enormous credibility and is seen as honest in a system in which corruption is rampant.”

“Former vice president German Vargas Lleras should not be underestimated. Even though his support has recently been declining, he retains control of a powerful political machinery.”

“Whoever wins, governing will be a formidable challenge. 2018 will be the first time a Colombian president will not have a majority in congress. Colombians will have to get used to divided government.”

You can read the full interviews in Latinvex:

Political Outlook: Brazil, Colombia Uncertainty

Mexico: The AMLO Threat

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