Americas This Week: June 12, 2021

June 12, 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 street in San Francisco de Tilcara, in Argentina’s Jujuy Province, which holds provincial elections later this month. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Juan (CC BY 2.0)

Upcoming Americas Elections

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.

Federico Sturzenegger, Americas Quarterly (June 9, 2021): Kirchnerism’s Paradoxical Staying Power

MercoPress (June 8, 2021): Argentina: Kirchnerites barely surpass 14% of votes in Misiones provincial mid-term elections

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

Rio Times (June 11, 2021): Chile faces regional elections that could shape November presidential race

Carlos Escaffi, Worldcrunch (June 10, 2021): In Chile, Between Healthy Change And Outright Chaos

Eduardo Thomson, Matthew Malinowski, and Valentina Fuentes, Bloomberg (June 9, 2021): Chile’s Communist Contender for President Seeks Economic Overhaul

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 had planned 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 Moïse consolidate power. The opposition has called for protests against the referendum, which it deems unconstitutional, and a boycott. Ultimately, Moïse decided to postpone the referendum indefinitely. More

Editorial Board, Washington Post (June 13, 2021): Opinion: Haiti’s ‘descent into hell’ will only accelerate without proper elections

Al Jazeera (June 8, 2021): Haiti postpones June 27 constitutional referendum: No new date was announced for the vote in the latest twist in the Caribbean nation’s political crisis as President Jovenel Moise continues to rule by decree.

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.

Several opposition candidates have been arrested, including Cristiana Chamorro, seen by many as the opposition’s best chance of ousting Ortega (in fact, her mother, Violeta Chamorro, beat Ortega in the 1990 election, becoming Nicaragua’s first – and currently only – female president and ending 11 years of Sandinista rule).

Jude Webber, Financial Times (June 12, 2021): Daniel Ortega tightens his grip as Nicaragua prepares for election

The Economist (June 12, 2021): President Daniel Ortega clamps down on Nicaragua’s opposition

AFP (June 11, 2021): Nicaragua tests Biden’s democracy agenda in Latin America

Guyana Local Elections: Due in 2021

Guyana is on the cusp of potentially seismic economic changes due to the discovery of oil, which is creating political turmoil. The country held snap legislative elections in 2020, and local elections are due in 2021.

Evan Ellis, Ryan C. Berg, and Kristie Pellecchia, The Hill (June 12, 2021): China reminds us why the Caribbean is vital to US strategic interests

Past 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 pitted 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.

It appears that Castillo won the runoff (by a margin of less than one percent). Fujimori is alleging fraud, but international observers largely dismissed that allegation. Nonetheless, an official winner won’t be declared until the courts rule on Fujimori’s claims. More

BBC (June 12, 2021): Peru: No serious irregularities in presidential run-off, say observers

Simeon Tegel, The Telegraph (June 11, 2021): Peru election: ‘Humble’ Pedro Castillo prepares to raid big business as nation swings Left: Village schoolteacher who cites Lenin has rattled investors with scattergun promises to rewrite the constitution and ban imports

Claudia Rebaza, Abel Alvarado and Jimena de la Quintana, CNN (June 11, 2021): Peru’s presidential election is just too close to call

Oliver Stuenkel, Carnegie Endowment (June 10, 2021): Peru’s Polarized Election Reflects Democratic Malaise

Mitra Taj and Julie Turkewitz, New York Times (June 10, 2021): Peruvian Election, Still Undecided, Pushes a Democracy to Its Brink

Will Freeman and Cynthia McClintock, Washington Post (June 10, 2021): Why Peru’s next leader was elected by a less than 1 percent margin

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

Mexico held 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 were a key test for left-wing populist firebrand Andrés Manuel López Obrador (frequently called AMLO) ahead of the 2024 presidential election, and he largely lost – his MORENA party did not get its majority in the legislature, and although MORENA won most of the state governorships, it lost control of most areas of Mexico City. AMLO, who has been governing in an increasingly authoritarian manner, wants to transform Mexico by jettisoning the market economy, but these election results will make it harder for him to do that.

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

David Agren, Global Americans (June 11, 2021): Mexico’s inept opposition

The Economist (June 10, 2021): Clipped wings: Mid-term elections have weakened Mexico’s president

Dermot Murnaghan, Sky News (June 9, 2021 – podcast): The Mexican elections: Murdered for running for mayor

Luis Gómez Romero, The Conversation (June 8, 2021): Mexican president suffers setback in country’s deadliest election in decades

Karol Suarez, Rafael Romo and Joshua Berlinger, CNN (June 7, 2021): Mexico’s President loses grip on power in midterm elections marred by violence

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

Sebastian Hurtado and Roisin O’Donohue, Global Americans (June 8, 2021): Where does correísmo go from here?

Curaçao Parliamentary Elections: March 19, 2021

Curaçao held parliamentary elections on March 19, 2021. Curaçao is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It has full autonomy over internal affairs, while the Dutch government handles foreign and defense policy, although the Netherlands periodically intervenes in Curaçao’s politics. More

Curacao Chronicle (June 11, 2021): Pisas cabinet sworn in on Monday

Americas Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

Aruba Parliamentary Elections: June 25, 2021

Argentina Jujuy Provincial Elections: 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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