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Rousseff opens up clear lead over Neves

On 23 October two opinion polls showed that Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, who is standing for re-election for the ruling Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT), opening up a clear lead of between six and eight percentage points on opposition candidate, Aécio Neves of the Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (PSDB), head of the 26 October presidential election second round run-off.

Receding pink tide in Latin America would leave radicals exposed

Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales and Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega will be glued to events unfolding in Brazil and Uruguay on 26 October. Electoral defeats for the ruling left-wing parties in both countries would, at a stroke, leave Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet as the sole representative of the moderate Left in the region and remove the buffer for the region’s more radical leftist governments, above all Venezuela, at a difficult time when oil prices are falling.

Growing focus on ‘Marinaconomics’ as Brazil poll nears

After the tragic death of Eduardo Campos in an airplane crash in early August, Marina Silva, who stepped up from the number two spot to replace him as the Partido Socialista Brasileiro (PSB)’s presidential candidate, has blazed her way up the opinion polls and is a real contender to win the October race. Most analysts believe that the 2014 election has become a two-way affair between Silva and the incumbent, Dilma Rousseff, who is seeking a second term at the head of a sprawling coalition led by the leftist ruling Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT). Brazil’s business community is not hiding its support for Silva. In fact, when Rousseff has done poorly in the opinion polls, the stock exchange has rallied, raising an interesting paradox of an anti-establishment politician who has become the darling of Brazilian business.

EPP split gives Cartes his first major coup against the guerrillas

The government of President Horacio Cartes has been celebrating one of its first substantial victories against the guerrillas of the Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo (EPP) — or, more precisely, against one of its former ‘cells’ that has broken away and renamed itself Agrupación Campesina Armada (‘Armed Peasant Association’). On 19 September the joint military police task force (FTC) operating in Concepción engaged this faction, killing three of its members and reportedly badly injuring one of its leaders.

Morales does it again

As expected, President Evo Morales handily defeated his closest competitor, Samuel Doria Medina of the centre-right Unidad Democrática (UD), to win a third consecutive mandate on 12 October, making him the longest serving president in Bolivia’s recent history. Also as expected, his ruling left-wing Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) strengthened its control over the country, winning eight out of nine departments, up from six in the last (2009) general election. The supreme electoral court (TSE) has yet to announce the final results, but it also looks like the MAS could have recovered a two-thirds majority in the bicameral national legislature, one of its main aims going into this election.

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