Americas This Week: June 5, 2021

June 5, 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 bus in Aguas Calientes, Peru, the closest access point for Machu Picchu. Peru holds a crucial presidential election runoff on June 6. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Jennifrog (CC BY 2.0)

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 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

Camilo Gómez, BBC (June 5, 2021): Peru election: Country on edge ahead of unpredictable run-off

Ryan Dube, Wall Street Journal (June 5, 2021): Peru to Choose Far-Left Teacher or Right-Wing Politician as Next President

Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times (June 5, 2021): Charges, communism, COVID-19 and a controversial name in Peruvian politics define an 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

Rafael Romo, CNN (June 5, 2021): Mexico goes to the polls in elections marred by violence against candidates

Vanda Felbab-Brown, Brookings Institution (June 4, 2021): The profound issues at stake in Mexico’s midterms

Maria Elena Little Endara, Voice of America (June 4, 2021): The Risky Job of Covering Local Elections in Mexico

Francesco Manetto, El País (June 1, 2021): The battle for northern Mexico: border states check president’s electoral power

Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times (May 31, 2021): AMLO wants to transform Mexico. An election may stop him

Argentina Provincial Elections in Misiones: June 6, 2021 and Jujuy: June 27, 2021, followed by Midterm Legislative Elections: November 14, 2021 (postponed from October)

Argentina’s Misiones Province in the far north of the country holds provincial elections on June 6, and nearby Jujuy on June 27. Although most of the country’s 23 provinces hold their elections at the same time as presidential elections (which last took place in 2019 and are due again in 2023), a few are due to hold elections this year, ahead of midterm legislative elections due this fall.

Argentina’s 2021 elections – both provincial and legislative – are happening in the context of an economic crisis, which the leftist government and COVID-19 have exacerbated.

The Economist (June 5, 2021): Covid-19 is inspiring separatism in Argentina’s winelands

MercoPress (June 3, 2021): Argentine Senate passes bill to postpone primary, mid-term 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. The opposition has called for protests against the referendum, which it deems unconstitutional, and a boycott. More

Vatican News (June 2, 2021): Haiti bishops oppose proposed changes to Constitution

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.

José de Córdoba, Wall Street Journal (June 6, 2021): Nicaragua Detains Second Opposition Presidential Candidate: Arturo Cruz’s detention comes days after Nicaraguan police placed a leading Ortega opponent under house arrest

Tiziano Breda, World Politics Review (June 4, 2021): As Ortega Tightens His Grip, Nicaragua Braces for Volatile Elections

Arzu Daniel, Axios (June 4, 2021): Nicaragua: Us State Department Urges Daniel Ortega Regime To Release Opposition Leader Christiana Chamorro

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

Fitch Ratings (June 2, 2021): Chile Constituent Assembly Highlights Political Fragmentation

Al Jazeera (June 1, 2021): Chile president urges open dialogue in drafting new 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; however, opposition parties appear willing to participate in the elections this year.

Alex Vasquez, Bloomberg (June 6, 2021): Why Maduro Rival Now Wants to Talk to, Not Topple Him: QuickTake

Cody Weddle and Andrea Torres, WPLG Local 10 (June 4, 2021): Venezuelan opposition gears up for regional elections in November

The Economist (June 5, 2021): Venezuela’s strongman wants better relations with the United States: Nicolás Maduro might even go easier on the opposition in exchange

Colombia Legislative Elections: March 13, 2022 and Presidential Election: May 29, 2022

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. 

Cody Weddle and Andrea Torres, WPLG Local 10 (June 3, 2021): Colombian protests continue: Leftist politician accused of turning mob against ambulances

Stefano Pozzebon, CNN (June 1, 2021): Amid escalating violence, Colombia sends in troops

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

Anthony Boadle, Reuters (June 2, 2021): Analysis: Politicking general puts Bolsonaro at odds with army leaders

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

Argentina Misiones Provincial Elections: June 6, 2021

Aruba Parliamentary Elections: June 25, 2021

Argentina Jujuy Provincial Elections: June 27, 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

Nicaragua Presidential and Legislative Elections: November 7, 2021

Argentina Midterm Legislative Elections: November 14, 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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