Americas This Week: January 22, 2022

January 22, 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.

The Parliament of Barbados. Barbados held snap elections on January 19 which delivered a landslide for the incumbent prime minister, Mia Mottley. Photo credit: Wikimedia/giggel (CC BY 3.0)

Upcoming Americas Elections

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.

Holly K. Sonneland, AS/COA (January 20, 2022): A Look at Costa Rica’s 2022 General Elections

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 current frontrunners to replace him is former left-wing guerilla Gustavo Petro, who placed second in 2018. Ingrid Betancourt, a former FARC hostage who was kidnapped while running for president in 2002, is also running, on a platform of national reconciliation.

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.

BBC (January 19, 2022): Ingrid Betancourt: Former Farc captive announces presidential bid

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 20, 2022): Brazil electoral court could ban Telegram app for not fighting fake news

Louis Emanuel, The Telegraph (January 15, 2022): Lula: There will be no coup in Brazil when I defeat Jair Bolsonaro: Former president dismisses fears that Jair Bolsonaro will try to cling to power, claiming voters will ‘reject authoritarianism’

Simone Preissler Iglesias, Bloomberg (January 19, 2022): Brazil Real Gains as Lula Woos Centrist to Join Ticket

Naiara Galarraga Gortázar, El País (January 15, 2022): Bolsonaro and his supporters turn to Telegram to avoid being silenced for spreading fake news

Ecuador Regional Elections: March 2023 (due)

Ecuador is due to hold regional elections in March 2023. In the 2021 general elections, conservative Guillermo Lasso edged out indigenous activist Yaku Pérez for a spot in the runoff. He subsequently surprised many by decisively defeating left-wing economist Andrés Arauz, a protege of former president Rafael Correa (himself barred from running after being convicted of corruption).

Lasso has proposed holding a referendum on reforms to the justice system concurrently with the regional elections.

Alexandra Valencia, Reuters (January 18, 2022): Ecuador to ask citizens to vote on justice reform – president

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). Prime Minister Ariel Henry is now leading the country, and has said he will hold elections, but has not specified a date.

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).

Jim Wyss, Bloomberg (January 21, 2022): Haiti’s Henry Says He’ll Remain in Office Until New Elections

AP (January 20, 2022): Suspect in Haiti President’s assassination extradited to Miami

Gessika Thomas and Brian Ellsworth, Reuters (January 20, 2022): Analysis: As Haiti investigation stalls, U.S. probes president’s killing

Jihan Abdalla, Al Jazeera (January 18, 2022): ‘Citizens are not protected’: What does 2022 hold for Haiti? The situation in Haiti has reached a crisis point amid stalled elections, rising poverty and the growing power of gangs.

Past Americas Elections

Barbados Snap Parliamentary Elections: January 19, 2022

Barbados held snap parliamentary elections on January 19, a year early, following a decision made in September 2021 to remove the British monarch as head of state and become a republic. The incumbent center-left Barbados Labor Party (BLP, knicknamed the “Bees”) won in a landslide (after winning all 30 seats in the last elections). Prime Minister Mia Mottley will remain in office.

Previously, 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.

U.S. Embassy in Barbados (January 21, 2022): United States Congratulates Barbados on Successful Elections

Al Jazeera (January 20, 2022): Barbados PM hails governing party’s landslide election victory

AP (January 20, 2022): Barbados holds snap general election amid criticism

Honduras General Elections: November 28, 2021

Honduras held presidential and legislative elections on November 28, 2021, following the March 14 primaries. Leftist opposition candidate Xiomara Castro won the presidential race.

These elections took 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. Some feared post-election turmoil this year, but Nasry Asfura, the National Party’s candidate, conceded.

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 had said that it would switch its recognition to Beijing, but has not done so yet and could potentially change its mind. More

AFP (January 22, 2022): Brawl in Honduras Congress Ahead of New President’s Inauguration

Brian Hioe, The Diplomat (January 20, 2022): Did Honduras’ New President Change Her Mind About Dropping Taiwan?

Marlon González, AP (January 21, 2022): Honduras new leader sees ‘betrayal’ before taking office

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.

Regina Garcia Cano, AP (January 22, 2022): Despite key win, Venezuela’s opposition split over strategy

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).

Silk Road Briefing (January 16, 2022): Nicaragua Joins China’s Belt And Road Initiative

Russia in Latin America

Evan Ellis, Global Americans (January 19, 2022): Russia’s Latest Return to Latin America

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)

Ecuador Regional Elections: 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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