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2012, year of elections… illusions

By 31 December over 40 elections will have taken place around  the world this year, which will mean changes in global security and economy, but …will our problems be solved?


María Marzo

Politically active. This is how we could describe 2012, because when it ends, a third of the world’s countries will have held local, provincial and national elections. Among them are four out o the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: Russia, France, United States and China, making 2012 a year that will determine the decisions around global security and economy.

United States

The electoral process in the US will be the most important. Not only because it’s the most powerful country, but because the possibility that the Republicans may regain the White House isn’t unreal. President Barack Obama and the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, are level on how most people intend to vote, according to a survey published by the newspaper The New York Times and the channel CBS.

Romney appears to be the most qualified to confront Obama, but 34 elections to decide the Republican candidate are still to be held. The Republican Convention will devote August to the Republican candidate for the presidency, with Obama facing a tricky path to re-election.

Another piece of information that emerged from the survey shows that 47% of those interviewed are unhappy with Obama.

This decrease in confidence is notably seen among the Latin American population, a crucial voting demographic, who feel deceived not to have seen the reality of immigration reform announced by the American head of state, who accused Republicans of preventing it from becoming law.

He did it on Prisa Radio’s broadcasting network: “I have repeatedly tried to pass that reform, but no one within the Republican party has been willing to cooperate on the matter,” he clarified, while at the same time highlighting the need to recover the democratic majority in Congress: “If we have a high turnout from the Latino community and they choose the congress members with clarity, the reform will become a reality within the next three years,” Obama assured.

Aware that he needs the Hispanic vote to be re-elected as president, Obama has started an initiative aimed at them that consists of broadcasting various television adverts. The president, who takes part in one of them, highlights the future of the Latin Americans. He says: “The decision that the country makes in November will have great consequences for the Hispanic community.”


The socialist Francois Hollande beat Nicolas Sarkozy in the first round of the French presidential elections on April 22nd, but who will reach power next Sunday? The voters of the rest of the parties have the key, more specifically the extreme right wingers, with Marine Le Pen  their originalcandidate. According to analysts, they will spread their votes between abstention, Sarkozy and Hollande.

The French president is trying to gain the support of the extreme right wing with a speech that emphasizes security and immigration, but it won’t be easy, because it’s the conservative leader that connects less with Le Pen’s supporters, who, with 17.9% of the votes, achievedthe best result in their history. Sarkozy’s lifestyle, linked to luxury, his fiscal gifts to the richest and his fierce defence of the Euro, have lead him to not enjoy great sympathy among voters from the extreme right National Front, the majority of them being from the working classes in the most run down areas of the country.

The difference between both candidates is minimal (only 560,000 votes), but Hollande has greater potential to gain the votes of the other candidates than the current president, perceived to be worn down and with an approval rating of only 31% .

Adding up all the forces of the left, Hollande would obtain 43.7%, and he should receive at least two thirds of centre leaning voters (9.3%) meaning that the left wing can return to power after 17 years of conservative governments.

These French elections are key, not only for France, but also for Europe. Will there be an extension of the so-called Paris-Berlin marriage? This is the question that most worries the Eurozone and the markets. This Franco German axis is today the European Union’s motor, not having overcome the sovereign debt crisisthat dictates the rhythm of the adjustment reform programmes.

Latin America

On 20 May the Dominican Republic will start off the Latin American elections, followed by Mexico and Venezuela in July and October respectively. Six candidates are up for the Dominican presidency, but only Hipolito Mejia, from the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PDR), and the socialist candidate from the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), Danilo Medina, seem to have a real chance. According to the latest market research, PLD should gain power with 49.6% of the votes, whilst Mejia would receive41.9% of the vote

The change of government in Mexico is, according to the experts, extremely urgent, because the current executive hasn’t managed to slow down violence originating from drug trafficking and even less decrease poverty rates.

Three candidates will measure up at the polls on 1 July: the neoliberal Enrique Pena Nieto, for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the conservative Josefina Vazquez Mora, from the governing group National Action (PAN) and Manuel Lopez Obrador, from the left wing Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). The polls predict the return of the PRI, who ruled the country for over 70 years. Its leader is the one that until now has best known how to connect with the voters, although the promises and speech are the same for all three candidates: more security and fight against corruption.

Until the elections, their mission will be to convince the 78 million Mexican voters, many of them tired of unfulfilled promises. Apathy and dejection are the feelings of a large part of the population. According to the surveys, 30% are undecided or don’t know if they will vote.

On7 October, Venezuelans will decide whether their president, Hugo Chavez, who declares himself “ready to rule till 2013”, will gaina third consecutive term.

He will have Henrique Capriles as a rival, a centre-left politician who, according to a study published last April by the company Varianzas, has a 7 point difference from Chavez.

The Arab Countries

This May Egypt will hold its first presidential elections since Hosni Mubarak, after 18 days of intense citizen protests, left power last year and the army took over. The possibility that the Islamic Muslim Brotherhood will take the Presidency scares the US and Israel, who will watch as one of their few allies in the Arab world moves away from moderation. If a second round is needed this will take place in June.

In Libya, after the war to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi took place, the rebel government announced that on 23 June elections will take place to form a National Council that will be in charge of making a new constitution and creating an internal government.

However, we will have to wait until then to see if the elections really do take place, because instability and a lack of security in the country mean this is not cetain.

This year has also been significant for Yemen. On 21 February the first elections after 33 years of the dictatorship of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s, one of Sadam Hussein’s allies during the Gulf War, were held.

Seriously injured after a military uprising, this leader left the presidency in the hands of his vice-president, Abdo Rabo Mansur Hadi, who was the sole candidate to run for the elections and whose administration will last for two years.

(Translated by Carina Sala – Email:

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