Americas This Week: November 27, 2021

November 27, 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 San Francisco Church in Comayagua, former capital of Honduras. The church was built in 1560. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Luis Alfredo Romero (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Americas 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. 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

Michael D McDonald, Bloomberg (November 27, 2021): Scandals, China Relations Loom Large as Hondurans Head to Polls

Conor Finnegan,Victoria Moll-Ramirez,Davi Merchan,Lindsey Griswold, andMaggie Rulli, ABC News (November 26, 2021): Honduras votes in elections critical to country’s future and Biden’s agenda

Chase Harrison, AS/COA (November 23, 2021): 10 Things to Watch in Honduras’ 2021 Election

Reuters (November 20, 2021): Senior U.S. official to visit Honduras to back fair elections

Chile Presidential Runoff: December 19, 2021

Chile held presidential and legislative elections on November 21, and will hold a presidential runoff on December 19. 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. 

Although results of the July 18 presidential primaries seemed to indicate that voters seem to want a return to moderation, the runoff will pit socialist former student leader Gabriel Boric against Jose Antonio Kast, a far-right legislator with ties to the Pinochet dictatorship.

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

Anthony Faiola, Washington Post (November 24, 2021): Chile’s election is a window into Latin America’s polarization

Eva Vergara and Joshua Goodman, AP (November 22, 2021): Ex-protester, far-right lawmaker to meet in Chilean runoff

The Economist (November 20, 2021): Chile’s voters are on the verge of a terrible mistake: Two extremists are leading in the polls for this week’s presidential election

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.

Oscar Medina, Bloomberg (November 22, 2021): Zuluaga Will Run for Colombian President After Ruling Party’s Nod

Juan Diego Ávila and Sergio Guzmán, Global Americans (November 22, 2021): Colombia election: Too early to call

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

Reuters (November 27, 2021): Governor Doria wins bid to run for Brazil’s presidency, polls show him far behind

Daniel Carvalho and Simone Preissler Iglesias, Bloomberg (November 18, 2021): Ex-Judge Seeks to Bridge Brazil’s Right-Left Rift in 2022 Vote

Paraguay Presidential and Legislative Elections: April 2023 (due)

Paraguay held 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. These elections took place in the context of political violence and attacks on candidates. As a result, it is rated Partly Free by Freedom House.

Greg Ross, Global Americans (November 17, 2021): Paraguay’s uneasy exterior

Mexico Presidential Election: July 2024 (due)

Mexico’s next presidential election is due on July 2024. The last elections were 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.

The 2021 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 have made 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

Leila Miller, Los Angeles Times (November 19, 2021): Mexican politicians spar over the ‘Claudia Card’

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).

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald (November 24, 2021): Haiti prime minister names new cabinet as armed gangs challenge his rule

Natalie Colarossi, Newsweek (November 16, 2021): Miami Resident Latest Suspect Detained in Haitian President Moïse’s Assassination

Past Americas Elections

Venezuela Regional and Local Elections: November 21, 2021

Venezuela held regional and local elections on 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 participated in the November 21 elections.

John Otis, NPR (November 25, 2021): Venezuelan opposition is regrouping after the ruling party dominated election

Samantha Schmidt and Ana Vanessa Herrero, Washington Post (November 23, 2021): E.U. observers say Venezuelan elections show major improvement, but uneven playing field remains

Julie Turkewitz and Adriana Loureiro Fernandez, New York Times (November 23, 2021 – photo essay): Bloodied Venezuelan Opposition Returns to Elections for First Time in Years: With little hope of a fair vote, opposition candidates take a desperate risk to gain any edge against Venezuela’s entrenched autocrat, Nicolás Maduro.

Argentina Midterm Legislative Elections: November 14, 2021

Argentina held midterm legislative elections on November 14, along with a few sets of provincial elections on various dates. The ruling Peronists took a major hit, losing control of the legislature for the first time in decades.

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.

Catherine Osborn, Foreign Policy (November 19, 2021): How Sputnik V Helped Bring Down Argentina’s Peronists

The Economist (November 18, 2021): Will electoral defeat favour moderation in Argentina?

Frida Ghitis, World Politics Review (November 18, 2021): Argentina’s Midterm Elections Shake Up the Political Landscape

Hugh Bronstein and Nicolás Misculin, Reuters (November 15, 2021): Argentina’s Peronists on the ropes after bruising midterm defeat

Al Jazeera (November 15, 2021): Argentina’s Peronists set to lose control of Congress: Initial results show President Albert Fernandez’s party on track to lose its majority in the Congress after almost 40 years.

Nicaragua General Elections: November 7, 2021

Nicaragua held 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).

DW (November 19, 2021): Nicaragua decides to leave OAS after election criticism

Brad Dress, The Hill (November 16, 2021): Biden places travel ban on Nicaraguan officials after ‘sham’ election

Regional Analysis

Will Freeman, World Politics Review (November 23, 2021): To Buck Global Pressure, Latin America’s Dictators Turn to ‘Isolation-Proofing’

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

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content. That is to say, their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here.

Share This