January 15, 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.

Calderas Church in Barinas, Venezuela. The opposition won a surprise victory in the Barinas gubernatorial election. Barinas state is the birthplace of former leader Hugo Chavez. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Diosesan (CC BY 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. 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.

Robert Goddard, London School of Economics (January 13, 2022): Why does Barbados symbolic transition to a republic matter

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.

AFP (January 14, 2022): Costa Rica Presidential debate ends without a winner, analysts say

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 protests beginning in April 2021. The proximate cause was a tax bill, but the protests grew violent, leading to dozens of deaths.

Mariana Palau, Americas Quarterly (January 10, 2022): Is Gustavo Petro Leaving Behind Colombian Progressives? The left-wing candidate for Colombia’s presidency is building new alliances, and straining old ones.

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 (January 14, 2022): Brazil polls show Lula gaining over Bolsonaro, third candidate ’embryonic’

DW (January 12, 2022): Brazil: Bolsonaro attacks Supreme Court ahead of election

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).

Evens Sanon, AP (January 10, 2022): Haiti’s Senate reconvenes after 1 year amid instability

Reuters (January 10, 2022): Haiti’s outgoing senate chief to continue holding sessions as term expires

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.

On January 9, opposition candidate Sergio Garrido won a surprise victory in Barinas state, the birthplace of none other than Hugo Chavez. The vote took place because the original opposition candidate was disqualified retroactively.

Albinson Linares, Noticias Telemundo, NBC News January 12, 2022): ‘It pays to vote’: Behind the Venezuelan opposition’s victory in Chavismo’s cradle: For the first time in over 20 years, the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez’s home state will be ruled by the opposition. Experts explain the why behind the votes.

Deisy Buitrago and Mayela Armas, Reuters (January 11, 2022): Analysis: Venezuela opposition gains hope from win in ruling party stronghold

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 – happened 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.

Argentina is due to hold presidential and another round of legislative elections in fall 2023.

Diana Roy, Council on Foreign Relations (January 13, 2022): Argentina: A South American Power Struggles for Stability

Lucinda Elliott, Financial Times (January 11, 2022): Argentina heads towards latest IMF deadline with little sign of progress: Peronist government caught between Washington lender and its own fractious congress as economy sputters

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).

Following the election, Nicaragua switched its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China.

Global Americans (January 14, 2022): Daniel Ortega Begins His Fourth Consecutive Term

Wilfredo Miranda, El País (January 14, 2022): El Chipote, the dungeon for Nicaragua’s political prisoners

Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald (January 12, 2022) Argentina, Mexico deserve slams for attending Ortega’s inauguration — alongside Iranian terror suspect

AFP (January 11, 2022): EU, US widen Nicaragua sanctions as Ortega begins new term

AP (January 9, 2022): Nicaragua congress takes office after questionable elections


Reuters (January 8, 2022): Record number of Nicaraguans sought asylum in Costa Rica in 2021

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

Mary Anastasia O’Grady, Wall Street Journal (January 9, 2022): China’s New Friends in Central America: Salvadoran President Bukele is courting Beijing and playing footsie with thugs.

Regional Analysis

Clarisa Demattei, Buenos Aires Times (January 14, 2022): Will 2022 be a year of consolidation for Latin America’s left?

Human Rights Watch (January 13, 2022): Latin America: Alarming Reversal of Basic Freedoms

Will Freeman and Paul J. Angelo, Washington Post (January 12, 2022): Millennial politicians are shaking up Latin America. Here’s how they differ from the old guard.

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

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