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Weekly Report - 26 March 2020 (WR-20-12)

Coronavirus crisis causes electoral uncertainty

The coronavirus pandemic has spawned much debate, and no shortage of media coverage, about the threat posed to fragile public health systems across Latin America and the likely economic impact on the region. But there will also be huge political repercussions. Certain governments will cope better with the crisis than others, and adapt to unprecedented operational challenges such as congresses working remotely, but those that perform badly are likely to face serious public protests. Political polarisation in some countries will  complicate matters. What is not yet clear, however, is whether voters will get the opportunity to express their democratic will at the polls in countries that are scheduled to hold elections this year. Nowhere is this a more vexed issue than in Bolivia due to the interim nature of the government and entrenched political divisions. But Bolivia is not alone in delaying elections and popular votes this year.

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