Presidential contests will have taken place in no less than twelve of the twenty republics – and parliamentary elections in several others. The ﬁfteen-month cycle ends with the Venezuelan presidential elections this month and offers an excellent opportunity to take the political pulse of Latin America.
Nine of the twelve presidential elections have been or are likely to be won by a candidate of the left or centre-left. One other – Mexico – was so close that the result was in dispute for weeks before the centre-right candidate was declared the winner. Only Colombia provides a clear-cut victory for the centre-right and there the re-election of Victor Uribe was a response to the law and order situation. Parliamentary elections present a similar picture.