Americas This Week: November 13, 2021

November 13, 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 Buenos Aires skyline from the Río de la Plata (River of Silver). Argentina holds bellwether midterm elections on November 14. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Roberto Fiadone (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Americas Elections

Argentina Midterm Legislative Elections: November 14, 2021 (pos tponed 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.

Lucinda Elliott, Financial Times (November 14, 2021): Argentina’s Peronists face uphill battle in midterm elections

Buenos Aires Times (November 13, 2021): Argentina prepares to vote in bellwether election

Mar Centenera, El País (November 9, 2021): Far right gains ground in Argentina with attacks on the ‘political class’

Hernan Nessi, Reuters (November 9, 2021): Analysis: Valuing Argentina’s peso: It could cost the Peronists an election

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

Valentina Fuentes, Bloomberg (November 12, 2021): Chile’s Boric at Loggerheads With Communist Allies On Nicaragua

AP (November 10, 2021): Chile’s president has been impeached over the Pandora Papers allegations

Valentina Fuentes and Eduardo Thomson, Bloomberg (November 8, 2021): Conservative’s Rise in Polls is Giving a Boost to Chile’s Ailing Bond Market

Reuters (November 6, 2021): Chile conservative Kast maintains lead in final pre-election opinion polls

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 are participating in the November 21 elections.

MercoPress (November 10, 2021): Prominent Venezuelan politician warns EU’s mission: The will of the people must be respected

The Economist (November 9, 2021): Six ways Nicolás Maduro stays in power in Venezuela: With an approval rating of around 15%, he could not possibly win a fair election

Anthony Faiola, Washington Post (November 8, 2021): The European Union makes a policy play in Venezuela. Washington is not amused.

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. The 2017 elections, which saw the controversial re-election of President Juan Orlando Hernández from the conservative National Party, were turbulent, with at least 30 people dying in protests over allegations of fraud. Hernández defeated Xiomara Castro, the wife of leftist former president Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in 2009. Castro is running again this year, after winning the LIBRE party primary.

On the geopolitical front, Honduras is one of the few countries that maintains formal diplomatic relations Taiwan, but Beijing has been pressuring politicians to change that. LIBRE has said that it will switch its recognition to Beijing if it wins these elections. More

Shannon Tiezzi, The Diplomat (November 13, 2021): Honduras’ President Is in Taiwan for a Surprise State Visit: Taiwan, afraid of losing yet another ally, is eager to shore up support ahead of Honduras’ election.

AFP (November 13, 2021): Honduras president backs Taiwan on visit to island

Kelvin Chen, Taiwan News (November 9, 2021): Taiwan warns Honduras of China’s empty promises ahead of presidential election: Honduran opposition candidate pledges to establish relations with Beijing if elected

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 will be 27 presidential candidates from various parties.

Americas Quarterly (November 10, 2021): Meet the Candidates: Costa Rica: For the second election in a row, Costa Rica’s traditional parties look vulnerable — but so do their challengers

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 third-way candidates plan to challenge both Bolsonaro and Lula. 

As Latin America’s biggest economy, Brazil’s politics have an impact on the entire region and – increasingly – on the world stage. More

DW (November 11, 2021): Brazil: Bolsonaro joins Liberal Party ahead of 2022 election: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is required to join a political party to run for reelection. His decision to join the establishment Liberal Party suggests a shift in political strategy for the far-right leader.

Past Americas Elections

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, sought and won another term after jailing his strongest opponents. Under Ortega’s rule, Nicaragua has become increasingly authoritarian, with rule of law and fundamental freedoms under assault.

Several opposition candidates were arrested before the election, including Cristiana Chamorro, who was 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).

AP (November 12, 2021): OAS assembly condemns Nicaragua’s election as ‘not free’

Leila Miller, Los Angeles Times (November 10, 2021): The secret-poll watchers of Nicaragua. How they monitored a questionable presidential election

David Luhnow and José de Córdoba, Wall Street Journal (November 9, 2021): Nicaragua’s Shift Toward Dictatorship Is Part of a Latin American Backslide: President Daniel Ortega’s victory is the latest evidence that democracy in the region is unraveling amid waning U.S. influence, political analysts say

Oliver Stuenkel, Carnegie Endowment (November 8, 2021): Nicaragua’s Farcical Election Marks Consolidation of Ortega’s Autocracy

AP (November 8, 2021): Nicaragua’s Ortega decries foes who question his re-election

The White House (November 7, 2021): Statement by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on Nicaragua’s Sham Elections

Americas Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

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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