Americas This Week: March 5, 2022

March 5, 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.

Plaza de Armas in Vallenar, Chile. Chile holds a constitutional referendum this year. Photo credit:
Wikimedia/Larrymox (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Upcoming Americas 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. 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.

OAS (March 4, 2022): OAS Electoral Observation Mission for the Legislative Elections in Colombia Begins Deployment

Luis Jaime Acosta, Reuters (March 4, 2022): Colombia’s ELN rebels to hold ceasefire for March 13 legislative vote

Nathalie Gouillou, Dialogo (March 4, 2022): Risks of Russian Interference Ahead of Colombian Elections

Oscar Medina, Bloomberg (March 1, 2022): Colombia Front-Runner Says He’d Declare Emergency if Elected

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

AFP (March 4, 2022): Brazil exits recession, but faces tough year

Sabrina Fernandes, Jacobin (March 4, 2022): Lula’s Road Back to the Presidency Will Be a Bumpy One

Fabio Teixeira, Thompson Reuters Foundation (March 4, 2022): Could ex-president Lula’s return mean a Green New Deal for Brazil?

Rio Times (March 4, 2022): Analysis: Why are evangelicals in Brazil so crucial for the October presidential election?

Bryan Harris and Carolina Ingizza, Financial Times (February 27, 2022): Bolsonaro and Lula leave little space for Brazil’s ‘third way’ candidates: A handful of centrists are struggling to break the front-runners’ dominant grip on voters

Chile Constitutional Referendum: Third Quarter 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.

The 2021 elections took 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.

César Muñoz and Tamara Taraciuk Broner, Human Rights Watch (March 4, 2022): Chile Needs More Free Speech, Not Less

BN Americas (March 4, 2022): Chile’s constitutional convention switches focus to energy

Patricio Navia, Americas Quarterly (March 2, 2022): The Dangerous Hubris of Chile’s Constitutional Convention

Al Jazeera (March 2, 2022): How will rewriting Chile’s constitution change the country?

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.

The next presidential election is due in 2024, but some opposition figures hope it will happen early.

Matt Spetalnick, Reuters (March 5, 2022): U.S. officials travel to Venezuela, a Russian ally, for talks – source

Regina Garcia Cano, AP (March 2, 2022): Venezuelan opposition faces fading enthusiasm

Phil Gunson, World Politics Review (March 1, 2022): Venezuela’s Crisis Could Be Another Casualty of Russia’s Ukraine Invasion

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).

Al Jazeera (March 4, 2022): Nicaragua continues to prosecute, jail Ortega opponents

Octavio Enríquez, Confidencial (March 1, 2022): Ortega, the “anti-imperialist”, surrenders to Russian interests

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Reverberates Around the World

Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald (March 2, 2022): The leaders of Mexico and Brazil are shamefully soft on Putin. It will haunt them

Jessie Degollado and William Caldera, KSAT (February 28, 2022): Authoritarian Latin American countries stand with Putin after Ukraine invasion: Other South American leaders condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Americas Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Colombia Legislative Elections: March 13, 2022

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

Costa Rica Presidential Runoff: April 3, 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)

Ecuador Regional Elections: February 5, 2023

Jamaica Local Elections: By February 2023

Grenada General Elections: By 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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