The conversation with Agustín went through the whole spectrum of Latin American politics, until, after a few minutes of silence for reflection, after talking about the institutional weakness of Latin American countries, he blurted out: when I talk to young people in Uruguay they cannot understand the dimension of the Colorado Party, submerged in the polls, but with well over a century presiding over the country.
And it is that all the Orientals who will vote for the first time in the 2024 national elections did not see the Colorado Party govern. What’s more, they recognize it as a group with limited political incidence, which barely exceeds 10% of the intention to vote.
In Latin America there are a handful of examples of what is known as hegemonic parties, which are those that have managed to monopolize power through repeated electoral victories, among them the Colorado Party of Uruguay, its namesake in Paraguay, the PRI. of Mexico and perhaps the extinct National Republican Party of Costa Rica enters this category.
No one can deny the significance of the Colorado Party, and fundamentally of one of its main currents, Batllismo, in the construction of Uruguay as a nation, but starting with the government of Jorge Batlle (2000-2005), where the country suffered one of the biggest economic crises in its history, this group was not only unable to return to the Presidency of the Republic, but over the years it has become a force that seems to not even have a chance to contest a ballot, according to what that mark the public opinion polls, for which reason he is forced to form part of the so-called multicolor coalition, which makes up the conservative forces that are in the government, but without being the partner with the highest voting volume.
It is hard to believe that the Colorado Party continues to pay the cost of the 2002 crisis, indeed, it is quite innocent to believe it, since there are other signs that should be paid attention to in order to understand the crisis of this historic party founded in 1836. , which appear to be fundamentally ideological in nature.
According to the latest survey by the consulting firm Cifra, from a week ago, if the elections were held at this time, the Colorado Party in Uruguay would obtain 3% support, surely the lowest figure that a public opinion investigation has given it in its entirety. rich history.
But the Uruguayan Colorados are not the only hegemonic party suffering from this crisis on the continent. Many decades ago the National Republican Party of Costa Rica suffered it. Founded in 1934, it won the elections that same year and remained in power uninterruptedly until 1948. In 1952 the party was dissolved, because after the end of the civil war in the Costa Rican country, the National Electoral Tribunal did not allow its re-registration.
There is no doubt that within this group of hegemonic parties, the one that maintains the greatest validity is the Paraguayan Colorado Party, formally called the National Republican Association (ANR). Founded in 1887, it governed from 1947 to the present day, with two interruptions -or perhaps one-: the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner, who was also from Colorado, and the progressive government of Fernando Lugo (2008-2012).
Paraguay is currently in the middle of an electoral campaign. The Guarani are summoned to go to the polls on Sunday, April 30, and the Colorados, although they have clear chances of maintaining the presidency, a great competitor has emerged in the candidacy of Efraín Alegre, who, after his launch, has achieved unite the main forces of the opposition in the National Concertation. This has led to the election being absolutely polarized, with an end that is still open and with various polls that give one or the other the winner, which mostly seem to seek the effect bandwagon (drag) more than being carriers of professional work.
PRI and PAN
Finally, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of Mexico is another example of hegemonic parties in Latin America that is on the decline. He ruled the Aztec country for seventy consecutive years, until Vicente Fox became president in 2000 with the National Action Party (PAN).
The PRI is in good health, it is a party that remains strong and valid in Mexico, but has had to resort to alliances in recent years to be able to defeat Morena, the group of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Currently the PRI is about to lose what may be its last great bastion in its history: the State of Mexico.
In less than three months, on June 4, the states of Mexico and Coahuila will elect new local authorities. In the first of these constituencies there are three specific possibilities: the Juntos Haremos Historia coalition, made up of Morena, the Workers’ Party and the Green Ecologist Party; It goes through the State of Mexico, made up of the PRI, the PAN and the Party of the Democratic Revolution; and Citizen Movement.
Therefore, in its most favorable scenario, the PRI could maintain the government, but now in a coalition, despite the fact that the polls are currently favorable to the forces of President López Obrador.
What is notorious is that in our Latin America the parties no longer have as much weight as before, the vote by tradition for the emblem has been devalued, the new generations no longer respond to this type of stimuli, but instead bet more on the people, the candidates and believe less in the parties, according to what the Latinobarómetro research confirms.
That is one of the reasons for this fall of the hegemonic parties, but it is not the only one, it is also necessary to review what has been the political action of the last years and the current offer that they are offering to the citizens. Conquering votes through the traditional historical mandate is no longer enough for Latin Americans today.
*Chilean journalist, Master in Political Communication and Electoral Campaign Management. Director of the Latin American political communication magazine Relato