This week, Peru‘s post-vote lack of political clarity drags on even as Keiko Fujimori increasingly appears to be fighting a hopeless battle to block Pedro Castillo from being declared winner of the 6 June vote. Meanwhile, there will be repercussions from the weekend’s major street protests in Brazil against President Jair Bolsonaro. How Argentina uses any “windfall” Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be under debate amid persistently complex debt dynamics. In Colombia, pandemic management looks set to be a big election campaign issue. Finally, Chile‘s presidential primary campaign is now properly underway.
The JNE electoral board continues to review appeals against rejected vote annulment requests as the slow and messy aftermath to the 6 June presidential run-off drags on. Keiko Fujimori continues to allege – without any clear evidence – that she was deprived of victory by electoral fraud. Tensions will remain high over the coming days, though a judge’s decision yesterday, 21 June, not to return Fujimori to pre-trial custody as part of corruption investigations against her is positive since an arrest order at this point could have set off protests. Last week, dozens of retired military officers signed a letter calling for the armed forces not to recognize Pedro Castillo as the election winner.
The week will see repercussions of street protests that took place on 19 June in more than 100 cities nationwide against President Jair Bolsonaro and in favor of vaccination against Covid-19. Contrary to the first mega-protests against Bolsonaro on 29 May, labor unions and left-leaning political parties were instrumental in mobilization efforts this time – which possibly discouraged centrist-voter participation.
Separately, in Congress, an executive order for the privatization of giant power utility company Eletrobras was approved by the House on 21 June (one day before the deadline) after clearing the Senate with additional controversial modifications to the original text. It now moves on to presidential assent.
Argentina stands to receive some USD 4.3bn if the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agrees this week to go ahead with an issuance of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs); the funds would probably not arrive until August. However, Kirchneristas in the Senate have already passed a (non-binding) motion to earmark any SDRs that Argentina receives to health and social spending, and not for debt payments. Finance Minister Martin Guzman may be hemmed in by this vote, though he is likely to be more preoccupied right now with the issue of Argentina’s USD 2.4bn debt payment due to the Paris Club of creditors. The grace period on the payment expires at the end of July. Japan, one of the group’s leading creditors, has questioned the government’s prompt payments to China and foot-dragging to the Paris Club.
The government’s handling of the pandemic is likely to remain politicized after controversial comments by President Ivan Duque yesterday, 21 June. Amid a record high daily death toll reported yesterday, which brought the total coronavirus death toll over 100,000, Duque said that 10,000 deaths over the last seven weeks could have been avoided if protests against his administration had not taken place. Gustavo Petro, the leftist who is leading the polls ahead of the 2022 presidential contest, called Duque a “liar.” The protests that started in late-April have all but ended, but protest organizers are planning a new day of demonstrations in late-July, which could set off another bout of unrest
Today, 22 June, offers an opportunity to see the two candidates competing for the more radical Left’s presidential nomination in action in a televised debate. The debate involves the Communist Party (PC)’s Daniel Jadue and the Broad Front (FA)’s Gabriel Boric going head-to-head. In parallel, the Center- Right held a similar debate last night in which its four pre-candidates took part. These are Joaquin Lavin (Independent Democratic Union – UDI); Mario Desbordes (National Renovation – RN); Ignacio Briones (Evopoli); and Sebastian Sichel (independent). Lavin, who is the only one of these four who has not served as a minister under President Sebastian Pinera’s unpopular government, is the favorite. The primary vote is scheduled for 18 July. Although the Center-Left is not participating in the July primary process, the Socialist Party (PS)’s Paulo Narvaez still intends to run and plans to unveil her manifesto this week.