Americas This Week: May 22, 2021

May 22, 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.

The town square in Granada, one of the most visited cities in Nicaragua. Nicaragua holds elections in November as the political space shrinks. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Shawn Millin (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Upcoming Americas Elections

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

Al Jazeera (May 24, 2021): At least 14 killed in Peru attack before presidential election

Anatoly Kurmanaev and Mitra Taj, New York Times (May 24, 2021): Peru Massacre Revives Trauma of Maoist Violence Ahead of Polarized Vote

Will Freeman, World Politics Review (May 20, 2021): Either Way, Peru’s Election Is Bad News for Anti-Graft Efforts

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

Jude Webber, Financial Times (May 22, 2021): Mexico’s political murders put focus on rising violence

Cyntia Aurora Barrera Diaz, Bloomberg (May 22, 2021): Candidates Shot, Kidnapped, Tied With Noose as Mexico Vote Nears

Manuel Suarez-Mier, Asia Times (May 22, 2021): Mexico’s demolition derby: AMLO breaks all the laws

León Krauze, Washington Post (May 19, 2021): Opinion: Mexico’s president decries U.S. ‘interventionism’ as part of his ongoing fight against oversight

Chase Harrison and Carin Zissis, AS/COA (May 18, 2021): Explainer: Making Sense of Mexico’s Massive Midterms

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

Monique Clesca, Americas Quarterly (May 20, 2021): Haiti’s Critical Weeks Ahead

Sarah Marsh, Reuters (May 19, 2021): Colombia’s police advises Haiti on tackling kidnapping crisis

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

Eduardo Levy Yeyati, Americas Quarterly (May 18, 2021): Teach Your Children: Behind Argentina’s Quiet Rebellion

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.

Reuters (May 20, 2021): Nicaragua opens probe into presidential hopeful Chamorro

Carrie Kahn, NPR (May 20, 2021): Ortega Targets Opposition Figures As Nicaraguan Elections Approach

AP (May 20, 2021): Nicaragua police raid NGO and news outlet offices

Chile Presidential and Legislative Elections: November 21, 2021

Chile holds presidential and legislative elections in November (with presidential primaries on July 4). These elections follow the May 2021 local elections, and importantly, elections to the Constitutional Assembly.

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). Moreover, the conservatives failed to secure even one third of the Constitutional Assembly. 

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. More

Robert Funk, Global Americans (May 21, 2021): Chile’s Constitutional Convention elections: institutional uncertainty and the long shadow of October 2019

Jennifer M. Piscopo and Peter M. Siavelis, Americas Quarterly (May 20, 2021): Chile’s Constitution Writers Are Very New to Politics

AFP (May 20, 2021): Women fall victim to their own success in Chile vote

Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald (May 19, 2021): Leftists scored big victory in Chile, but Venezuela’s Maduro is celebrating too soon

BNAmericas (May 19, 2021): Chile constitution rewrite: What Moody’s will be monitoring

Venezuela Regional and Local Elections: November 21, 2021

Venezuela has scheduled regional and local elections for November 21, 2021. 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.

Honduras General Elections: November 28, 2021

Honduras holds presidential and legislative elections on November 28, 2021, following the March 14 primaries. These elections are taking place in the context of polarization and a crisis of legitimacy sparked in part by increasing authoritarianism. The 2017 elections were turbulent, with at least 30 people dying in protests over allegations of fraud, and many believe that there is potential for fraud in the upcoming elections. More

Michael Stott, Kathrin Hille, and Demetri Sevastopulo, Financial Times (May 19, 2021): US to send vaccines to Latin America after Taiwan ally warns of pivot to China

Laura Gottesdiener and Drazen Jorgic, Reuters (May 19, 2021): Partisan politics in Honduras fuels exodus, migrants say

The Rio Times (May 20, 2021): Maduro calls for elections as the only way to solve Venezuela’s crisis

Frida Ghitis, World Politics Review (May 20, 2021): Venezuela’s Opposition Shifts Gears on Talks With Maduro

Inés Santaeulalia and Florantonia Singer, El País (May 19, 2021): Apathy, sanctions, Biden: the stakes creating momentum in Venezuela’s long-running crisis

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 constitutionally barred from running for re-election. One of the frontrunners to replace him is former left-wing guerilla Gustavo Petro, who placed second in 2018. The country has been rocked by riots in recent weeks. The proximate cause was a tax bill, but the protests have grown – and grown violent – and dozens have died. 

Kiron K. Skinner, Ph.D., David R. Shedd, and James Jay Carafano, Heritage Foundation (May 21, 2021): Why Is Joe Biden Ignoring Colombia?

City Paper Bogota (May 20, 2021): President Duque names Marta Lucía Ramírez as Colombia’s Foreign Minister

Erika Moreno, Washington Post (May 19, 2021): Colombia’s protesters want human rights reforms. The country’s human rights agency may not be much help.

Nelson Bocanegra, Reuters (May 19, 2021): Colombia protests stretch into fourth week, demonstrators vow to carry on

Santiago Torrado, El País (May 19, 2021 – in Spanish): Gustavo Petro joins the protesters in Colombia

Brazil Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2, 2022

Brazil holds general elections in October 2022. Jair Bolsonaro, the right-wing populist firebrand president, is up for re-election. Former president Lula da Silva, himself a populist firebrand of the left-wing variety, will run against him. The country remains deeply polarized between right and left, although some are searching for a third candidate to challenge both Bolsonaro and Lula. More

Tom Phillips, The Guardian (May 21, 2021): ‘Brazil is a global pariah’: Lula on his plot to end reign of ‘psychopath’ Bolsonaro

Lisandra Paraguassu, Reuters (May 21, 2021): Brazil’s Lula meets centrist Cardoso in anti-Bolsonaro move

Gustavo Ribeiro, The Brazilian Report (May 19, 2021 – podcast): Explaining Brazil #152: A president without a party

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. His authoritarianism has grown since the legislative elections, and he has taken a number of actions that some have described as a “self-coup.” More

AP (May 21, 2021): U.S. steers El Salvador funding away from government

Manuel Meléndez-Sánchez and Steven Levitsky, Washington Post (May 20, 2021): El Salvador’s president launched a ‘self-coup.’ Watch for creeping corruption and authoritarianism.

Al Jazeera (May 18, 2021): Five of Salvadoran president’s allies accused of corruption: US

Americas Elections in 2021 and 2022

Mexico Midterm Legislative Elections and Some Gubernatorial Elections: June 6, 2021

Peru Presidential Runoff: June 6, 2021

Aruba Parliamentary Elections: June 25, 2021

Haiti Constitutional Referendum: June 27, 2021

Saint Lucia Parliamentary Elections: June 2021 (due – delays possible)

Haiti Presidential and Legislative Elections: September 19, 2021

Paraguay Municipal Elections: October 10, 2021

Argentina Midterm Legislative Elections: October 24, 2021 (could be delayed to November 14, 2021)

Nicaragua Presidential and Legislative Elections: November 7, 2021

Chile Presidential and Legislative Elections: November 21, 2021

Venezuela Regional and Local Elections: November 21, 2021

Honduras Presidential and Legislative Elections: November 28, 2021

Guyana Local Elections: Due in 2021

Colombia Legislative Elections: March 13, 2022

Colombia Presidential Election: May 29, 2022

Bahamas Parliamentary Elections: May 2022 (due – snap elections possible)

Brazil Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2, 2022

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content. That is to say, their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here.

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