Opinion

Latin America’s anti-incumbency sentiment shows no sign of abating

Irrespective of who wins the runoff in Colombia, the elections mark the 14th straight opposition victory in free and fair Latin American presidential elections

Latin America Anti-incumbency
Poster displayed during last year’s protests in Colombia calls President Iván Duque “Álvaro Uribe’s bitch.” Voters on Sunday voted two anti-establishment candidates into the presidential runoff. Photo: Alexander Canas Arango/Shutterstock

The past years have not been kind to presidents in Latin America. Irrespective of ideological orientation, voters have not only reliably thrown out their leaders after one presidential term. They have also consistently refused to elect the candidates outgoing presidents had chosen as their preferred successors.

In fact, if there is one rule presidential candidates in the region have sought to follow, it is that they must not project continuity and should avoid, at all costs, the endorsement of the outgoing president.

In 2018, no one understood Brazil’s electorate better than Jair Bolsonaro, who successfully argued that he represented...

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