December 25, 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 Museum of Natural History in Santiago, Chile. Leftist Gabriel Boric won Chile’s recent presidential runoff. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Romigraphy (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Mexico State and Local Elections: June 5, 2022, followed by Presidential Election: July 2024 (due)
Mexico’s next presidential election is due on July 2024. However, each year has some state and local elections. In June 2022, six states hold gubernatorial elections: Aguascalientes, Durango (also holding local elections), Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, and Tamaulipas.
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
Max De Haldevang, Bloomberg (December 20, 2021): Mexico’s AMLO Attacks Electoral Institute Over Referendum Delay
Brazil General Elections (Presidential, Legislative, State, and Local): 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 (December 14, 2021): Leftist Lula maintains dominant lead in Brazilian election, poll shows
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.
Rio Times (December 21, 2021): Leftist parties and social organizations to form coalition ahead of elections in Paraguay: Several leftist parties and social organizations held a meeting on Sunday at the Plaza de la Democracia in Paraguay’s capital Asunción to form a coalition for the 2023 elections.
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).
Georges Fauriol, Global Americans (December 21, 2021): Haiti’s Problematic Electoral Dynamics
Chile Presidential Runoff: December 19, 2021
Chile held a presidential runoff on December 19. Far-left socialist former student leader Gabriel Boric defeated Jose Antonio Kast, a far-right legislator. Although results of the July 18 presidential primaries seemed to indicate that voters seem to want a return to moderation, the center-right candidate from incumbent president Sebastián Pińera’s coalition did not even make the runoff. However, the legislative elections were a bit more complicated. Piñera’s Chile Podemos Más coalition will have the most seats in the Senate, and the Chamber of Deputies is split nearly evenly between right and left-leaning members. These results will potentially constrain Boric’s ability to pursue a far-left agenda. All newly-elected officials take office in March 2022.
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, and a referendum on the final draft will take place in late 2022. More
Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald (December 20, 2021): Chile’s new leftist president could make history by keeping Cuba, Venezuela at arm’s length
Patricia Luna and Joshua Goodman, AP (December 19, 2021): Leftist millennial wins election as Chile’s next president
Lucinda Elliott and Michael Stott, Financial Times (December 16, 2021): The fight for the future of Chile
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.
InSight Crime (December 20, 2021): A Seat at the Table: What New Governors in Venezuela Mean for Organized Crime
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.
Nick Burns, Americas Quarterly (December 20, 2021): In Argentina, Some See a Détente Among Leaders
Rosendo Fraga, Rio Times (December 13, 2021): Analysis: Is Peronism still the dominant political force in Argentina? Four consecutive defeats in mid-term elections raise the question of the true gravity of Peronism in today’s politics.
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).
Tiziano Breda and Ivan Briscoe, War on the Rocks (December 23, 2021: The Empire of the Anti-Imperialist: Dealing with Nicaragua’s Ortega
Lisa Schlein, Voice of America (December 15, 2021): UN Rights Chief Calls for Restoration of Democracy, Rule of Law in Nicaragua
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
Stephen G. McFarland, Americas Quarterly (December 15, 2021): From Bad to Worse: Nayib Bukele’s Split with Washington
Barbados Snap Elections: January 19, 2022
Costa Rica Presidential and Legislative Elections: February 6, 2022
Colombia Legislative Elections: March 13, 2022
Colombia Presidential Election: May 29, 2022
Canada, Ontario Provincial Elections: June 2, 2022
Mexico State and Local Elections in Some States: June 5, 2022
Canada, Resort Village Elections in Manitoba: July 22, 2022
Chile Constitutional Referendum: Third Quarter 2022
Brazil General Elections (Presidential, Legislative, State, and Local): October 2, 2022
Peru Local and Regional Elections: October 2, 2022
Canada: Local Elections in Ontario: October 24, 2022
Canada: Local Elections in Manitoba: October 26, 2022
Canada: Local Elections in Prince Edward Island: November 7, 2022
Canada: Local Elections in Saskatchewan: November 9, 2022 (Rural Municipalities – even number divisions)
Canada: Local Elections in Northwest Territories: December 12, 2022
Guyana Local Elections: Overdue (date not set yet – preparations being made)
Grenada General Elections: By March 2023 (due)
Paraguay Presidenital and Legislative Elections: April 2023
Guatemala General Elections: June 2023 (expected)
Guatemala General Election Runoffs: August 2023 (expected)
Argentina Presidential and Legislative Elections: October or November 2023 (due)
Antigua and Barbuda General Elections: By 2023
Haiti Presidential and Legislative Elections: Delayed from November 7, 2021, no new date set
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