Americas This Week: October 2, 2021

October 2, 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.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Haiti’s elections have been delayed amid several crises. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Yoni Rubin (CC BY 3.0)

Upcoming Americas Elections

Paraguay Municipal Elections: October 10, 2021

Paraguay holds local elections on October 10, 2021. On June 20, many of the political parties held primary elections. The federal government is led by President Mario Abdo Benítez from the conservative Colorado Party, which also won a majority in the lower house of the legislature in the 2018 elections (no party holds a majority in the Senate). Colorado has been in power most of the time since the 1950s.

Paraguay returned to democracy in 1989, following the collapse of the 35-year dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner, but a number of issues remain. As a result, it is rated Partly Free by Freedom House.

AP (September 29, 2021): Indigenous protest in Paraguay’s capital erupts in violence

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).

Christopher Sherman, AP (September 30, 2021): US pulls defense attaché out of Nicaragua after comments

José Zepeda, openDemocracy (September 26, 2021): Nicaragua: The revolution betrayed

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.

Scott Squires, Bloomberg (October 4, 2021): Argentina Investors Got Election Wish, Then Got Hammered Anyway

Hector R. Torres, Project Syndicate (October 4, 2021): Argentina’s Confidence Game

James Neilson, Buenos Aires Times (October 2, 2021): Argentina now in the danger zone: In a country in which parliament calls all the shots, the fall of an unpopular government would not present any constitutional difficulties, but here things are done differently.

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

The Economist (October 2, 2021): Can Chile’s constitutional convention defuse people’s discontent? The reasons for massive protests in 2019 have not entirely gone away

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.

Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald (October 1, 2021): Venezuelan exodus reaches record 6 million people — and will likely soar in 2022

Reuters (September 29, 2021): EU to deploy election observation mission to Venezuela

Al Bawaba (September 29, 2021): Mexico to Host 3rd Round of Talks Between Venezuelan Government and Opposition

Nicolle Yapur, Bloomberg (September 28, 2021): Venezuela Opposition to Explore Engaging Creditors Over Citgo

AFP (September 27, 2021): Venezuela rivals report more progress at political talks

Lexi Lonas, The Hill (September 25, 2021): Iran and Venezuela strike oil deal amid US sanctions

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. 

Andrea Jaramillo, Bloomberg (October 1, 2021): Colombia’s Center-Left Is Seen Winning 2022’s Presidential Race

Mauricio Cárdenas, Americas Quarterly (September 29, 2021): How to Avoid a Caudillo in Colombia (and Elsewhere)

Haiti Parliamentary and Presidential Elections: Delayed

Haiti had planned to hold presidential and parliamentary elections this year in the midst of political and humanitarian crises, but the elections have now been delayed.

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).

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).

Emmanuela Douyon, Americas Quarterly (September 30, 2021): Haiti’s Ariel Henry Makes a Play for Power

AP (September 28, 2021): Haiti’s prime minister tells AP that he plans to organize presidential and legislative elections for early next year

AFP (September 28, 2021): Haiti elections postponed indefinitely amid political crisis

Past Americas Elections

Canada Snap Parliamentary Elections: September 20, 2021

Canada held snap elections on September 20, 2021, two years early. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hoped to win a majority for his Liberals. He ended up remaining in power, but once again helming a minority government. His gamble did not pay off.

Bill Greenwalt, Breaking Defense (October 4, 2021): O No Canada: Is A Three-Eyed AUKUS An Augury For Change?

David Cochrane, CBC News (October 3, 2021): Trudeau’s got a cabinet to build — and this time, it’ll be harder

Paul Wells, Maclean’s (September 29, 2021): The broken triumph of Justin Trudeau

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press (September 28, 2021): Only 1 in 10 Canadians happy with outcome of federal election: poll

Americas Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

Paraguay Local 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 (delays possible)

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

Haiti Presidential and Legislative Elections: Delayed from November 7, 2021, no new date set

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