As if that weren’t enough!
If you’ve managed to stick with Suffragio through 14 world elections to watch in 2014, here are 14 more honorable mentions that you should probably also keep an eye on:
Popular Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra called snap elections for February after the latest round of protests over a proposed (and ultimately tabled) amnesty bill. The fights threaten to reopen a decade of polarization and political violence between the ‘red shirts’ that support Yingluck and her self-exiled brother Thaksin Shinawatra and the ‘yellow shirts’ who oppose them. Popular support in Thailand’s north among rural voters meant that Yingluck and the Pheu Thai Party (PTP, ‘For Thais’ Party, พรรคเพื่อไทย) were headed for near-certain victory. The decision by the opposition Phak Prachathipat (Democrat Party, พรรคประชาธิปัตย์) to boycott the election is a barely disguised plea for military intervention for an unelected ‘governing council’ instead.
El Salvador, with 6.3 million residents, may be small, but it’s the third-most populous country in Central America. As in neighboring Honduras, which went to the polls in November 2013, a preponderance of drug violence and a corresponding collapse in public safety is at the heart of the Salvadoran presidential campaign. None of the three major candidates is expected to win an outright majority on February 2, but the learning candidate is vice president Salvador Sánchez Cerén of the governing Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN, Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front), a one-time guerrilla movement-that transformed itself into the country’s top center-left political party following the 1980s civil war. Sánchez Cerén is hoping to succeed former journalist Mauricio Funes, who has served as president since 2009 and is limited to a single five-year term.
Though Sánchez Cerén leads polls with between 29% and 31%, two candidates are competing fiercely for second place with between 25% and 28% each — longtime San Salvador mayor Norman Quijano of the center-right Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA, Nationalist Republican Alliance), which governed El Salvador between 1989 and 2009, and former president Antonio ‘Tony’ Saca, who left ARENA to run for a second, non-consecutive term for an alliance anchored by Saca’s new populist, right-wing party, the Gran Alianza por la Unidad Nacional (GANA, Grand Alliance for National Unity). The bottom line is that Sánchez Cerén will face a tough fight against the ultimate center-right candidate that emerges in the second round.
Costa Rica is perhaps the most developed country in Central America. It is likely to open accession talks to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2015, making it the first Central American member of the OECD. Its GDP per capita is nearly $10,000, which makes it virtually equivalent to Panamá’s, and Costa Rica doesn’t have the massive canal revenues that Panamá enjoys. That is one of the reasons why the center-left Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN, National Liberation Party) seemed so likely to coast to a third consecutive term to the Costa Rican presidency, despite the massive unpopularity and corruption allegations against outgoing president Laura Chinchilla. The longtime mayor of San José, Costa Rica’s capital, Johnny Araya, held a wide lead in polls throughout much of 2013. But that’s changed as Araya’s missteps on the campaign trail have led to the impression that he’s aloof and out of touch. José María Villalta, the sole lawmaker for the social democratic Frente Amplio (Broad Front) is now virtually tied with Araya in polls. Continue reading 14 in 2014: Fourteen *more* elections to watch in 2014