Americas This Week: May 29, 2021

May 29, 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.

A market in Oaxaca, Mexico. Mexico holds high-stakes midterms on June 6, with over 21,000 offices – plus AMLO’s plans to transform the country – on the ballot. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Reforma.imufomot (public domain)

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 self-described Marxist 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

Gonzalo Torrico, Worldcrunch (May 31, 2021): China’s Future Gateway To Latin America Is A Mega-Port In Peru

Marco Aquino, Reuters (May 30, 2021): Peru election race tightens a week before polarized vote

Paul J. Angelo and Chloé Mauvais, Council on Foreign Relations (May 28, 2021): Will Peru’s Polarized Election Bring More Instability?

Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald (May 26, 2021): Party of Peru’s leading presidential candidate is Marxist — and wants to nationalize everything

BBC News (May 25, 2021): Peru’s Shining Path kills 16, including children, ahead of polls

Ana Maria Cervantes and Matthew Bristow, Bloomberg (May 25, 2021): Slaughter of Peru Villagers Stirs Dark Memories, Roils Election

Mexico Legislative, Gubernatorial, and Local Elections: June 6, 2021

Mexico holds high-stakes midterm legislative elections, as well as gubernatorial elections in 15 of Mexico’s 31 states, and local elections, on June 6, 2021. In total, more than 21,000 offices are at stake – the biggest elections in Mexico’s history.

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. AMLO, who has been governing in an increasingly authoritarian manner, wants to transform Mexico by jettisoning the market economy. If he is to succeed, his MORENA party will need to win a super-majority in the legislature.

Meanwhile, political violence is on the rise, with at least 88 politicians killed and hundreds of candidates targeted. More

David Agren, The Guardian (May 31, 2021): ‘Huge incentives to kill’: Mexico crime groups target election candidates

Natalie Gallón and Matt Rivers, CNN (May 30, 2021): At least 88 politicians have been killed in Mexico since September

The Economist (May 29, 2021): Mexico’s false messiah: Voters should curb Mexico’s power-hungry president

Reuters (May 26, 2021): Mexican president seen holding on to lower house in election – poll

Saint Lucia Parliamentary Elections: July 5, 2021 (tentative)

Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia, a democracy with competitive elections and regular transfers of power, is constitutionally required to hold parliamentary elections by October 12, 2021. Traditionally, elections are held on the fifth anniversary of the previous elections, which in this case would have been June 6, 2021. However, the elections are delayed a bit due to concerns about COVID-19. July 5 has been proposed as the date, but it could change. More

MENAFN – Caribbean News Global (May 28, 2021): St Lucia adjusts COVID-19 protocols in anticipation of general elections early July

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. The opposition has called for protests against the referendum, which it deems unconstitutional, and a boycott. More

Editorial Board, Miami Herald (May 29, 2021): Stop pushing for elections in Haiti, President Biden. They will only make things worse

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald (May 26, 2021): Can the OAS help break the political impasse in Haiti? A mission will soon visit

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.

Dánae Vílchez, Washington Post (May 31, 2021 – in Spanish): The hunt against opponents and journalists grows in Nicaragua. The international community must act.

Lisa Schlein, Voice of America (May 29, 2021): UN: Nicaraguan Election Law Undermines Election Fairness

Chase Harrison, AS/COA (May 26, 2021): Nicaragua’s Opposition Faces a Stacked Electoral Deck

David Agren, Crux Now (May 25, 2021): Nicaragua Catholic leaders decry increasing government repression

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

Andrés Velasco, Project Syndicate (May 31, 2021): Chile’s Constitutional Revolution

The Economist (May 29, 2021): An electoral surprise in Chile may produce a left-wing constitution

Benedict Mander, Financial Times (May 25, 2021): Chile’s ‘social explosion’ lights a fuse under its constitution

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.

The Economist (May 31, 2021): Venezuela’s strongman wants to improve relations with the United States: Nicolás Maduro might even go easier on the opposition in exchange

Naky Soto, Caracas Chronicles (May 26, 2021): 40 Political Parties With A Common Goal: Free Elections

Aritz Parra, AP (May 25, 2021): Venezuela asks Spain to extradite leading opposition figure

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. 

AFP (May 29, 2021): Colombia’s Duque Says He’s Deploying Military to Protest-hit Cali

Dave Lawler, Axios (May 27, 2021): Colombia’s protests rumble on into their second month

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

Al Jazeera (May 29, 2021): Brazil protesters denounce Bolsonaro over COVID crisis

Alex Hochuli, The Brazilian Report (May 28, 2021): Anti-Bolsonaro struggle reshapes political arrangements for 2022 Brazil

GZERO (May 26, 2021 – video): Can ‘Lula,’ the hero of Brazil’s left, unseat Bolsonaro?

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. Meanwhile, a number of provinces are holding elections this year.

Janet E Silver, iPolitiics (May 25, 2021): All parties support motion against holding a pandemic election

Past Americas Elections

Ecuador Presidential Runoff: April 11, 2021

Ecuador held a presidential runoff on April 11, 2021. Conservative Guillermo Lasso, who edged out indigenous activist Yaku Pérez for a spot in the runoff, surprised many by decisively defeating left-wing economist Andrés Arauz, a protege of former president Rafael Correa (himself barred from running after being convicted of corruption). More

Global Americans (April 28, 2021): Guillermo Lasso inaugurated as President of Ecuador

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

BNAmericas (May 26, 2021): Will cutting aid stop Bukele?

Regional Analysis

Alvaro Marañon, Lawfare (May 28, 2021): How Have Information Operations Affected the Integrity of Democratic Elections in Latin America?

Americas Elections Coming Up 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: July 5, 2021 (tentative)

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

Costa Rica Presidential and Legislative Elections: February 6, 2022

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

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