Americas This Week: January 8, 2022

January 8, 2022

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.

Bridgetown, Barbados. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Pgbk1987 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Upcoming Americas Elections

Barbados Snap Parliamentary Elections: January 19, 2022

Barbados will hold snap parliamentary elections on January 19, following a decision made in September 2021 to remove the British monarch as head of state and become a republic. The elections come one year early.

In the last elections, in 2018, the center-left Barbados Labor Party (BLP, knicknamed the “Bees”) won all 30 seats (and currently hold 29). Before that, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP, “Dems”) held power for 10 years. Following the 2018 elections, BLP leader Mia Mottley became Barbados’s first female prime minister. The DLP is seen as being to the left of the BLP, having been founded by a group that broke away in 1955 (the BLP was founded in 1938). However, politics in Barbados tends to be driven by personalities.

CMC (January 5, 2022): Barbados: More than 100 Candidates Nominated to Contest Jan. 19 Election

Emmanuel Joseph, Barbados Today (January 4, 2022): PM, Atherley say outcome of elections will determine how Barbados moves forward

DW (December 28, 2021): Barbados calls snap election after becoming republic

Bahamas, Local Elections on Grand Bahama: January 27, 2022

The Bahamas will hold local elections on Grand Bahama, the country’s third-largest island, on January 27. The Bahamas’ most recent elections were 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. In these elections, PLP ousted FNM.

Denise Maycock, The Tribune (January 5, 2022): Grand Bahama Set For Local Govt Elections On January 27

St. Martin and St. Barts Territorial Elections: March 20 and 27, 2022

Franceinfo (January 3, 2022): Territorial elections: St. Martin and St. Barts voters called to the polls March 20 and 27

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 Colombia Risk Analysis (January 6, 2022): Six Challenges Facing Colombia in 2022

George Lei and Andrea Jaramillo, Bloomberg (January 4, 2022): Colombian Peso Has Record Low in Sight as Election Risks Weigh

Chile Constitutional Referendum: Mid-2022

Chile holds a referendum on a new constitution in 2022. This follows last year’s presidential and legislative elections. Far-left socialist former student leader Gabriel Boric defeated Jose Antonio Kast, a far-right legislator, in the runoff. 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.

Craig Mellow, Barrons (January 7, 2022): A Leftist Firebrand Is Taking Power in Chile. It’s a Red Flag for the EV Revolution.

John Bartlett, New York Times (January 6, 2022): Mining of Lithium, Key to the Climate Fight, Faces New Scrutiny in Chile: Politicians have called for a pause in new mining contracts for lithium, which is in high demand for electric car batteries but is at the heart of a debate in Chile over mines, water rights and inequality.

Matthew Malinowski and Valentina Fuentes (January 5, 2022): Chile Assembly That’s Rewriting Constitution Taps New Leadership

Anders Beal, Global Americans (January 4, 2022): Social Democracy in Chile and Latin America’s New Millennial Left

Reuters (January 4, 2022): 10,000 bees join protest in Chile, 7 police officers stung

NPR (January 2, 2022): What Chile’s new president could mean for the country’s future

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

Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald (January 7, 2022): Leftists may win in Brazil, Colombia, but it’s unlikely a ‘pink tide’ will wash over the region

Oliver Stuenkel, Americas Quarterly (January 6, 2022): All Eyes on Brazil’s Military as Election Approaches

Leandro Manzoni, (January 6, 2022): Brazil’s 2022 Presidential Elections: What Investors Need to Know

Americas Quarterly (January 5, 2022): Meet the Candidates: Brazil

Marcos Moreno and Jack Guy, CNN (January 4, 2022): Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro hospitalized with intestinal obstruction

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).

Global Americans (January 7, 2022): Haiti’s Prime Minister Under Attack

Jim Wyss, Bloomberg (January 6, 2022): Haitian Groups to Meet in Louisiana to Seek Deal on Elections

Matt Rivers, Jamie Crawford, Florencia Trucco and Mitchell McCluskey, CNN (January 5, 2022): US charges Colombian man with conspiracy to kill Haiti’s President

Monique Beals, The Hill (January 3, 2022): Haitian prime minister flees northern city after shootout between security, armed group

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.

Deisy Buitrago and Vivian Sequera, Reuters (January 8, 2022): Cradle of Venezuelan ruling party prepares for election re-run

Gideon Long, Financial Times (January 7, 2022): Chávez’s home state in Venezuela becomes a political battleground: Election rerun puts ‘Chavistas’ on the defence in the symbolically important state of Barinas

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).

Confidencial (January 8, 2022): Opposition organizations in exile declare Ortega’s new term “illegitimate”

Reuters (January 7, 2022): Record number of Nicaraguans sought asylum in Costa Rica in 2021

The Guardian/AP (December 31, 2021): China opens embassy in Nicaragua for first time since 1990 after Taiwan ties cut: Nicaragua trumpets ‘ideological affinity’ with Beijing and seizes Taipei’s former embassy and diplomatic offices

Americas Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Barbados Snap Parliamentary Elections: January 19, 2022

Bahamas, Local Elections in Grand Bahama: January 27, 2022

Costa Rica Presidential and Legislative Elections: February 6, 2022

Colombia Legislative Elections: March 13, 2022

St. Martin and St. Barts Territorial Elections: March 20 and 27, 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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