May 8, 2021
Your weekly roundup of news and analysis of elections in the Americas, usually posted on Saturdays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here.
Vineyards in Chile’s Maipo Valley. Chile heads to the polls this month for local and regional elections, plus the election of the Constitutional Assembly. Photo credit: Wikimedia/MattStabile01 (public domain)
Upcoming Americas Elections
Chile Local and Regional Elections: May 15 and 16, 2021 and Presidential and Legislative Elections: November 21, 2021
Chile has delayed its local and regional elections, originally scheduled for April 11, 2021, to May. In addition, voters will elect all 155 members of a Constitutional Assembly, after a referendum in which Chileans voted to write a new constitution (and the new constitution will need to be approved by another referendum).
Chile is also due to hold presidential and legislative elections in November (with presidential primaries on July 4). These elections are taking place in the context of a year of protests and riots, including violent looting, arson, and vandalism. Furthermore, an intense debate over the new constitution continues. Incumbent president Sebastian Pinera, from the center-right Chile Vamos coalition, is not running for another term. He currently has low approval ratings, posing a challenge for his party’s candidate (who will be chosen in the July primary election). More
Sam Lynch, Council on Foreign Relations (May 6, 2021): Chile’s Constitutional Rewrite: A Difficult Path Ahead, but a Recipe for Inclusion
Peru Presidential Runoff: June 6, 2021
Peru held general elections for April 11, 2021. These elections are coming on the heels of snap legislative elections that took place on January 26, 2020, and in the context of political turmoil – including the impeachment of President Martín Vizcarra and the subsequent “week of three presidents” – and an economic crisis brought on by COVID-19.
The presidential runoff will pit socialist Pedro Castillo against right-wing populist Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori, who is currently in prison for various crimes (Keiko is also currently facing criminal charges). Castillo came out of nowhere to win the first round. However, none of the 18 candidates received more votes than the number of blank ballots cast – a sign of voters’ deep frustration. More
Mac Margolis, Bloomberg (May 7, 2021): Latin American Candidates Seek Divine Intervention
Gideon Long, Financial Times (May 6, 2021): Peru’s leftwing presidential candidate rattles its business elite
Holly K. Sonneland, AS/COA (May 6, 2021): Poll Tracker: Peru’s 2021 Presidential Runoff
Brendan O’Boyle, Americas Quarterly (May 3, 2021): Pedro Castillo and the 500-Year-Old Lima vs Rural Divide
Mexico Legislative and Gubernatorial Elections: June 6, 2021
Mexico holds midterm legislative elections on June 6, 2021. These elections will be a key test for left-wing populist firebrand Andrés Manuel López Obrador (frequently called AMLO) ahead of the 2024 presidential election. In addition, 15 of Mexico’s 31 states will hold gubernatorial elections. More
Albinson Linares, Noticias Telemundo, NBC News (May 8, 2021): Mexico is deadliest country for journalists, who also face government harassment
AFP (May 8, 2021): Mayor of Mexican town arrested over missing activist
The Economist (May 8, 2021): The collapse of a Mexico City railway bridge kills 25 people
— OAS (@OAS_official) May 7, 2021
Dave Graham, Reuters (May 4, 2021): Analysis: Mexican president’s looming election win masks disquiet over economy
BN Americas (May 3, 2021): Mexican president’s Morena party runs into setbacks ahead of June 6 elections
Haiti Parliamentary Elections: September 19, 2021 and Presidential Election: Due in November 2021 (delays possible)
Haiti plans to hold long-overdue legislative elections on September 19, 2021, and also has a presidential election due later this year. However, the country is currently in a political crisis related to allegations of fraud followed Haiti’s presidential 2015 election. The international community, including the United States government, has called on Haiti’s officials to set a date for elections and end the crisis.
Haiti plans to hold a constitutional referendum on June 27, although the United States has raised concerns that it would just cause more political turmoil while helping President Jovenel Moise consolidate power. More
Sir Ronald Sanders (May 7, 2021): A storm brewing over Haiti at the OAS
AFP (May 6, 2021): EU: No Funding or European Observers for Referendum in Haiti
AFP (May 4, 2021): Haiti to hold referendum despite international pushback
Calvin Hughes, Local 10 News Miami (May 4, 2021 – video): Ruling by decree, Haitian President Jovenel Moise prepares for summer election
Argentina Midterm Legislative Elections: October 24, 2021 (delay to November 14 possible)
Argentina is due to hold midterm legislative elections on October 24, 2021, but the polls could be postponed to November. Furthermore, although most of Argentina’s 23 provinces hold elections at the same time as the presidential election, a few are due to hold elections in 2021. These elections are happening in the context of an economic crisis, which the leftist government and COVID-19 have exacerbated. More
MercoPress (May 8, 2021): Argentina’s inflation for the year 2021 forecast at 47.3%
Maximilian Heath, Reuters (May 7, 2021): Argentina pushes back mid-term elections as COVID-19 rages
Jorgelina Do Rosario and Patrick Gillespie, Bloomberg (May 4, 2021): Argentina’s Economy Buckles After Leader Puts Politics First
Nicolás Misculin, Reuters (May 3, 2021): Analysis: Virus, poverty and vaccines: Argentina’s Peronists face storm in election year
Nicaragua General Elections: November 7, 2021
Nicaragua holds general elections on November 7, 2021. President Daniel Ortega, who has been in power for 20 years, will seek another term, and under his rule, Nicaragua has become increasingly authoritarian, with rule of law and fundamental freedoms under assault.
Stacey Pirtle and Marin Exler, International Republican Institute’s Democracy Speaks (May 7, 2021): In Nicaragua, the Struggle for Free and Fair Elections Continues
Moisés Martínez, Confidencial (May 6, 2021): Nicaragua’s Legislature Promotes a New Electoral Fraud
4/ Today, the regime shows little sign of loosening its grip on power. Restrictions on freedom of speech & association are harsher and the harassment of politicians, journalists, & activists has been ramping up with the Nov 2021 election drawing closer. https://t.co/UkTzETEpw2
— Human Rights Foundation (@HRF) May 4, 2021
Venezuela Regional Elections: Due in 2021
Venezuela is due to hold regional elections by the end of the year. In December 2020, Venezuela held legislative elections despite members of the opposition and international community calling for a delay in order to ensure credible, fair elections. Ultimately, most of the opposition boycotted.
The opposition is likely to boycott the regional elections as well. These elections are taking place in the context of ongoing political, constitutional, and humanitarian crises have been going on for years. More
AFP (May 5, 2021): Venezuela appoints new, pro-president electoral council
Regina Garcia Cano, Jorge Rueda, and Joshua Goodman, AP (May 4, 2021): Venezuelan lawmakers OK opposition members to election board
Alex Vasquez and Nicolle Yapur, Bloomberg (May 4, 2021): Venezuela New Electoral Board Might Draw Opposition to the Polls
Colombia Presidential and Legislative Elections: Spring 2022 (due)
Colombia is due to hold presidential and legislative elections in spring 2022. Conservative Ivan Duque, elected president in 2018, is not eligible to run for another term.
Astrid Suárez and Regina Garcia Cano, AP (May 8, 2021): EXPLAINER: Why are people protesting across Colombia?
Marlene Lenthang, ABC News (May 8, 2021): Bloody protests in Colombia leave at least 26 dead: Protests erupted April 28 to decry the president’s proposed tax reform.
Catherine Osborn, Foreign Policy (May 7, 2021): Unrest Returns to Colombia Over COVID-19 and Police Violence
Canada Parliamentary Elections: By October 16, 2023 (snap elections possible)
Canada is not due to hold federal elections until 2023, but snap elections could happen if the opposition manages to oust PM Justin Trudeau’s Liberal minority government in a vote of no confidence.
Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press (May 5, 2021): Bill to ensure safe voting during pandemic stalls as odds of federal election increase
Mike Crawley, CBC News (May 3, 2021): Ontario’s political parties gear up for next spring’s election in the shadow of COVID-19
Past Americas Elections
El Salvador Legislative and Local Elections: February 28, 2021
El Salvador held legislative and local elections on February 28, 2021. Allies of populist president Nayib Bukele won in a landslide, allowing him to consolidate his hold on the country with a legislative majority. Critics note growing authoritarianism. More
Marcela García, Boston Globe (May 8, 2021): Nayib Bukele’s creeping authoritarianism in El Salvador
Frida Ghitis, World Politics Review (May 6, 2021): Bukele’s Power Grab Is Alarming Everyone but Salvadorans
León Krauze, Washington Post (May 6, 2021): Opinion: Democratic backsliding and unrest add to U.S. challenges in Latin America
Andrés Velasco, Project Syndicate (May 3, 2021): Twisted Democracies
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