Americas This Week: July 10, 2021

July 10, 2021

Your weekly review 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.

Tires on fire during a protest in Haiti in 2019. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Voice of America (public domain)

Upcoming Americas Elections

Saint Lucia Parliamentary Elections: July 26, 2021

Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia, a democracy with competitive elections and regular transfers of power, has scheduled general elections for July 26, after a slight delay due to COVID-19. The two main parties are the center-right United Workers Party, led by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, and the main opposition social democratic Saint Lucia Labour Party. More

CMC (July 6, 2021): St Lucia elections scheduled for July 26

Haiti Parliamentary and Presidential Elections: September 26, 2021 (delays possible)

Haiti’s political crisis went into overdrive on July 7 with the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Moïse had been governing by decree for over a year and stood accused by many of attempting to consolidate power through a controversial constitutional change (Moïse ultimately postponed the referendum.

Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph says Haiti still plans to hold long-overdue legislative elections on September 26, 2021, along with a a presidential election. Allegations of fraud followed Haiti’s presidential 2015 election, sparking a political crisis that remains ongoing. Some have called for the upcoming elections to be delayed.

Natalie Kitroeff and Catherine Porter, New York Time (July 10, 2021): Haiti’s Power Vacuum Escalates Kingmakers’ Battle for Control

Widlore Merancourt and Anthony Faiola, Washington Post (July 10, 2021): In Haiti, rivals claw for power as crisis escalates after assassination

UN News (July 8, 2021): Top UN Haiti envoy hails commitment to hold new elections

Jacobo García, El País (July 8, 2021): Jovenel Moïse, a president surrounded by too many enemies: The Haitian leader, who was assassinated on Wednesday at his home in Port-au-Prince, had gone up against senators, powerful businesses and Venezuela during his time in office

Paul J. Angelo and David Gevarter, Council on Foreign Relations (July 8, 2021): The Assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise: What to Know

James Rothwell, Jean-Claude Louis, and Jamie Johnson, The Telegraph (July 7, 2021): Haiti’s president Jovenel Moise assassinated at his home in night-time attack

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 is due to hold midterm legislative elections this fall, along with a few sets of provincial elections. 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.

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. In the 2019 presidential election, Peronist Alberto Fernández defeated center-right incumbent Mauricio Macri (the first defeat for an Argentine incumbent president), running on a ticket with populist firebrand Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who served as president from 2007 to 2015. Kirchner herself did not run for president because she was facing criminal charges related to misconduct during her time in office. Frente de Todos, the party formed by Kirchner and Fernández, currently holds a majority in the Senate and is the biggest party in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house.

Buenos Aires Times (July 9, 2021): Unions seek places on Frente de Todos lists as PASO deadline nears: With the deadline for defining candidates drawing near, union leaders are once again seeking representation on the Peronist coalition’s slates.

MercoPress (July 7, 2021): Argentina wants to deepen ties with China, President Fernández says

Rio Times (July 4, 2021): Argentina’s former president Macri accuses current government of targeting his children

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

Eva Ontiveros, BBC (July 10, 2021): Elisa Loncón: From poverty to PhD to writing Chile’s constitution

Aislinn Laing, Reuters (July 10, 2021): Chile fatal shooting sparks tensions with indigenous Mapuche

Farah Bahgar, DW (July 10, 2021): Chile: Indigenous leader denies son was killed by police

Reuters (July 9, 2021): Son of Chile indigenous leader killed by police in restive province -media

Liam Miller, NBC (July 8, 2021): Making history: Chileans start work on first constitution equally drafted by women, men

Al Jazeera (July 4, 2021): Mapuche woman to lead body drafting Chile’s new constitution

Eduardo Thomson, Bloomberg (July 4, 2021): Chile’s Constitution Rewrite Underway After Chaotic Start

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 to date only – female president and ending 11 years of Sandinista rule).

Mario Medrano, Natalie Gallón, Tatiana Arias and Samantha Beech, CNN (July 7, 2021): Sixth Nicaraguan presidential candidate detained in ‘night of terror’ roundup

Gioconda Belli, New York Times (July 4, 2021): Daniel Ortega and the Crushing of the Nicaraguan Dream

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.

Benjamin Wilhelm, World Politics Review (July 9, 2021): Venezuela’s Opposition Could Become Relevant Again

Vivian Sequera and Mayela Armas, Reuters (July 8, 2021): Talks between Venezuelan gov’t, opposition set for August – sources

Alex Vasquez and Fabiola Zerpa, Bloomberg (July 8, 2021): EU Mission Arrives in Venezuela to Assess Election Guarantees

Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations (July 5, 2021): Democratic Socialists of America Embraces Maduro Dictatorship

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

Diane Jeantet and Debora Alvares, AP/Reuters (July 10, 2021): Following Trump’s cue, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro clouds vote with fraud claims

Maria Marcello, Reuters (July 9, 2021): Brazil 2022 election will take place; ‘It’s that simple,’ says Senate president

Diane Jeantet, AP (July 8, 2021): Brazil’s Bolsonaro warns 2022 vote will be clean or canceled

Reuters (July 8, 2021): Brazil’s Bolsonaro disapproval rating rises to all-time high -poll

Thomas Traumann, Americas Quarterly (July 7, 2021): Lula Is Back. But Which Lula?

Donald Padgett, Out (July 6, 2021): This Gay Governor Is Running Against Brazil’s Homophobic President

Al Jazeera/Reuters (July 5, 2021): Brazil’s Bolsonaro faces more corruption accusations: President Jair Bolsonaro is accused of involvement in scheme to skim his aides’ salaries, news website UOL reported.

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.

Zi-Ann Lum, Politico (July 9, 2021): Trudeau denies it, but signs point to early election in Canada

Sean Boynton, Global News Canada (July 7, 2021): Trudeau stays silent on possible summer election, says government is focused on its work

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.

Castillo won the runoff by a margin of less than one percent. Fujimori is alleging fraud, but international observers largely dismissed that allegation. More

Nicholas Allen, Jacobin (July 9, 2021): Peru’s Pedro Castillo Can Break With Neoliberalism for Good

Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald (July 7, 2021): Peru could become the next Venezuela, but there are some reasons to hope that it won’t | Opinion

Mitra Taj and Julie Turkewitz, New York Times (July 4, 2021): Fraud Claims, Unproved, Delay Peru’s Election Result and Energize the Right

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

Jorge Castañeda, Foreign Policy (July 9, 2021): Mexico’s López Obrador Is Pulling an Erdogan on Biden

Reuters (July 9, 2021): New video surfaces of Mexican president’s brother taking stacks of cash

Bolivia Local Elections: March 7 and April 11, 2021

Bolivia held regional and municipal elections on March 7, 2021, and some races, including four gubernatorial races, held runoffs on April 11.

These followed a rerun of the 2019 annulled general elections that took place on October 18, 2020 in which socialist Luis Arce won the presidency. Leftist firebrand Evo Morales has returned to the country to lead his party, although apparently not every member of his party loves him. Opposition candidates won the mayoral elections in 8 out of 10 of Bolivia’s biggest cities. These elections happened amid political tension over the arrest of former interim president Jeanine Anez. More

Simeon Tegel, World Politics Review (July 7, 2021): Arce Continues to Weaponize Bolivia’s Courts

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

Eddie Galdamez, Global Voices (July 7, 2021): US anti-corruption list will not bring down popular Salvadoran President Bukele: Corruption and authoritarianism claims fail to dampen the president’s popularity

Christopher Sherman, AP (July 5, 2021): Loved and decried, El Salvador’s populist leader is defiant

Americas Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

Saint Lucia Parliamentary Elections: July 26, 2021

Argentina Salta Provincial Elections: August 15, 2021 (postponed from July 4, 2021)

Haiti Presidential and Legislative Elections, plus delayed constitutional referendum: September 26, 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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