Americas

September 4, 2021

A 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.

The Atheneum, a cultural building in Valencia, Venezuela. Venezuela holds local elections in November and the opposition has announced that it will participate. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Periergeia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Upcoming Americas Elections

Bahamas Snap General Elections: September 16, 2021

Bahamas will hold snap elections on September 16, eight months early. The Bahamas is a democracy and the two main parties, the governing center-right Free National Movement (FNM) and the center-left main opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) have both done stints in power.

Oswald T. Brown, Washington Informer (September 1, 2021): Candidates Officially Nominated for Bahamas General Election on Sept. 16

Canada Snap Parliamentary Elections: September 20, 2021

Canada will hold snap elections on September 20, 2021, two years early. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who currently heads a minority government, is hoping to win a majority for his Liberals. However, many Canadians do not want elections at this time, making the decision a major gamble.

The Economist (September 4, 2021): Could Canada’s Conservative Party win back power?

Haiti Parliamentary and Presidential Elections: November 7, 2021 (additional delays possible)

Haiti plans to hold presidential and parliamentary elections this year in the midst of political and humanitarian crises. The 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).

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, but the interim government has said they will take place this year (although the date could be moved, especially in the wake of a deadly earthquake on August 14 that left over 1,000 people dead).

Jim Wyss, Bloomberg (September 2, 2021): Gangs Now Run Haiti, Filling a Vacuum Left by Years of Collapse

Jonathan Alpeyrie, Daily Beast (August 30, 2021): His Name Is Barbecue—and He’s Ready to Plunge Haiti Into War

Dave Sherwood, Reuters (August 30, 2021): Haiti former first lady calls for help in unraveling husband’s murder

Editorial Board, Washington Post (August 29, 2021): Opinion: Haiti is desperate. Americans can and should help.

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).

Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald (September 3, 2021): U.S., others can — and should — punish one of hemisphere’s worst dictators — Nicaragua’s Ortega

Daina Beth Solomon and Alvaro Murillo, Reuters (September 2, 2021): Lost hope: Ortega’s crackdown in Nicaragua stirs fast-growing exodus

AP (September 2, 2021): Nicaragua presidential aspirant charged, will face trial

Charles Lane, Washington Post (August 31, 2021): Opinion: Don’t forget Nicaragua’s political prisoners

Argentina Midterm Legislative Elections: November 14, 2021 (postponed from October)

Argentina is due to hold midterm legislative elections on November 14, along with a few sets of provincial elections on various dates. 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 (September 1, 2021): Argentina’s stocks rally as opposition gains ground on Fernández

Chile Presidential and Legislative Elections: November 21, 2021

Chile holds presidential and legislative elections in November, following presidential primaries on July 18 that produced surprise results ). 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. Moreover, the conservatives failed to secure even one-third of the Constitutional Assembly. 

The results of the July 18 presidential primaries indicate that voters seem to want a return to moderation. Center-right Sebastian Sichel prevailed over candidates who were both more established and more to the right. Similarly, on the left, communist Daniel Jadue, a darling of the international left-wing commentariat, lost to Gabriel Boric, a socialist former student leader. A number of other candidates could also enter the race, leaving the result far from clear.

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

Kate Marino, Axios (September 3, 2021): Latin America countries are worried about inflation

Robert Funk, Global Americans (August 31, 2021): The Chilean center-left in times of change

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.

AFP (September 5, 2021): Venezuelan Government Signals ‘Partial Agreements’ in Mexico Talks With Opposition

The Economist (September 4, 2021): Nicolás Maduro’s regime and the Venezuelan opposition meet in Mexico: The autocrat wants America to lift sanctions

Ana Vanessa Herrero and Anthony Faiola, Washington Post (September 1, 2021): Venezuelan opposition declares end to boycott, agrees to participate in local and state elections

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

Acadia Brooks, Foreign Brief (August 30, 2021): Honduran General Election Campaigns to Begin

Costa Rica Presidential and Legislative Elections: February 6, 2022

Costa Rica holds general elections on February 6, 2022. Rated Free by Freedom House, Costa Rica has been a stable democracy since 1949. Incumbent presidents are not allowed to run for a second consecutive term, so President Carlos Alvarado from the center-left Citizen Action (PAC) cannot run for another term. PAC has nominated former prime minister Welmer Ramos as its presidential candidate. In total, there could be around 20 candidates from various parties.

Reuters (August 31, 2021): Costa Rica ruling party picks former minister for presidential race

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 recently. The proximate cause was a tax bill, but the protests have grown – and grown violent – and dozens have died. 

Sergio Guzmán and Johan Marulanda, Global Americans (September 2, 2021): Colombia’s Balancing Act Among the Great Powers

Carlos Tejada and Julie Turkewitz, New York Times (August 30, 2021): Colombia’s Troubles Put a President’s Legacy on the Line: In an interview, Iván Duque defended his performance amid the pandemic and social strife, which could prompt a leftward shift in elections next year.

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. Critics note growing authoritarianism. More

Marcos Aleman, AP (September 4, 2021): El Salvador court drops ban on presidential reelection

Bolivia General Election Re-Run: October 18, 2020

Bolivia held 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.

Subsequently, Bolivia held local and regional elections in March and April, 2021. 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

AFP (September 1, 2021): Rights group presses Bolivia on jailed ex-leader’s health

Suriname General Elections: May 25, 2020

Suriname held elections on May 25, 2020. Dési Bouterse, a leftist who has been a major figure in Suriname politics since 1980, lost his bid for re-election. He initially came to power in 1980 by helping to lead a sergeant’s coup. In 1982, in response to increased calls for a return to civilian rule, the regime murdered 15 prominent opposition activists – the incident, dubbed the December murders, continues to reverberate, and and in November 2019, he was ultimately convicted and sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.

AFP (August 31, 2021): Military court upholds Suriname ex-president’s conviction

NL Times (August 30, 2021): Fmr. Suriname president Bouterse sentenced to 20 years over 1982 murders

Americas Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

Bahamas Snap Parliamentary Elections: September 16, 2021

Canada Snap Parliamentary Elections: September 20, 2021

Paraguay Local Elections: October 10, 2021

Nicaragua Presidential and Legislative Elections: November 7, 2021

Haiti Presidential and Legislative Elections: November 7, 2021 (additional delays possible following assassination of president and catastrophic earthquake)

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

Brazil Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2, 2022

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