Americas This Week: January 29, 2022

January 29, 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.

A beach in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Region. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Ineffable3000 (public domain)

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 25 presidential candidates from various parties.

Cindy Regidor, France24 (January 29, 2022 – in Spanish): With 25 candidates for the Presidency, Costa Rica begins the electoral year in Latin America

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. She had originally planned to run in the center coalition’s primary, but since withdrew from the coalition and announced that she would be an independent candidate.

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.

Santiago Torrado, El País (January 29, 2022): Ingrid Betancourt leaves the center coalition in Colombia

Ezra Fieser and Andrea Jaramillo, Bloomberg (January 28, 2022): Colombia Front-Runner Petro’s No-More-Oil Pledge Sinks Ecopetrol Bonds

Inés Santaeulalia, El País (January 27, 2022 – in Spanish): Ingrid Betancourt gives an ultimatum to the center coalition and threatens to withdraw

John Padilla and Sergio Guzmán, Foreign Policy (January 25, 2022): As China Eyes Colombia, the United States Is AWOL: The country is a test case for Beijing’s encroachment in Latin America.

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

Inés San Martin, Crux (January 25, 2022): Mexican cardinals found guilty of trying to influence federal elections

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

Catherine Osborne, Foreign Policy (January 28, 2022): What the Death of Two Cultural Giants Says About Brazil Today: Political opposites Olavo de Carvalho and Elza Soares garnered vast youth followings in the final years of their lives.

Chase Harrington, AS/COA (January 25, 2022): Poll Tracker: Brazil’s 2022 Presidential Election

Anthony Boadle, AP (January 24, 2022): China-Brazil ties to get boost if Lula wins, says ex foreign minister

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.

Judith Mwai and Lauren Ashmore, The Diplomat (January 27, 2022): Barbados’ New Republic: A Win for China? Centering Barbados’ decision to end ties with the British monarchy around China only underscores the problem: The U.K.’s lack of interest in Barbados and similar countries.

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

AP (January 27, 2022): Honduras’ new president sworn in amid congressional impasse

Al Jazeera (January 25, 2022): Taiwan vice president heads to Honduras to work on shaky alliance: Honduran President-elect Xiomara Castro had floated the idea of re-establishing ties with China, before backtracking.

AFP (January 25, 2022): Honduras political crisis deepens ahead of president-elect’s swearing-in

Marlon Gonzalez, AP (January 23, 2022): Honduran Congress splits, threatens new president’s plans

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.

AP (January 27, 2022): In Venezuela, ‘impossible’ conditions for a presidential recall, critics said: A government-friendly electoral board imposed limits on recall petitions that backers said were impossible to meet.

Canada Snap Parliamentary Elections: September 20, 2021

Canada held snap elections on September 20, 2021, two years early. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hoped to win a majority for his Liberals. He ended up remaining in power, but once again helming a minority government. His gamble did not pay off.

Angus Reid Institute (January 27, 2022): Minority Management: Half of Canadians expect another federal election within two years

Americas Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

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)

Jamaica Local Elections: By February 2023

Grenada General Elections: By March 2023 (due)

Ecuador Regional Elections: March 2023 (due)

Paraguay Presidential 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.

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