Americas This Week: April 9, 2022

April 9, 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.

Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) with then-American president Donald Trump. Although AMLO is left-wing, his goals surrounding the dismantling of institutions have been compared to those of Donald Trump. Photo credit: Flickr/Trump White House Archives (public domain)

Upcoming Americas Elections

Mexico Presidential Recall Referendum: April 10, 2022, followed by State Elections in Some States: June 5, 2022

Mexico will hold a referendum on April 10 in which voters will decide whether to recall President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (frequently called AMLO). AMLO, a leftist firebrand, was elected in 2018. Mexican presidents serve a single, non-renewable six-year term. However, AMLO promised voters that he would give them a chance to recall him halfway through his term. Therefore, ironically, the recall referendum is being organized by AMLO’s supporters.

After that, in June 2022, six states hold gubernatorial elections: Aguascalientes, Durango (also holding local elections), Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, and Tamaulipas.

Mexico’s 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 were at stake – the biggest elections in Mexico’s history. AMLO’s 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.

Meanwhile, political violence is on the rise, with at least 88 politicians killed and hundreds of candidates targeted during the 2021 elections. More

Recall Vote

Carrie Kahn, NPR (April 9, 2022): Here’s why Mexico’s president is launching a vote to recall himself

León Krauze, Washington Post (April 7, 2022): Opinion: Mexico’s recall vote is not only absurd — it’s dangerous

Pamela Starr, Wilson Center (April 4, 2022): Extending Morena’s Dominance of Mexican Politics: The 2022 Recall Referendum

Mary Anastasia O’Grady, Wall Street Journal (April 3, 2022): Mexico’s Democracy on Trial: On Tuesday the independence of the Supreme Court faces its biggest test.

Gubernatorial Elections

Cristina Sada Segovia, Wilson Center (April 8, 2022): Infographic | Mexico’s 2022 Gubernatorial Elections

Colombia Presidential Election: May 29, 2022

Colombia holds a presidential election on May 29, following legislative elections and presidential primaries on March 13. Leftist former guerrilla Gustavo Petro won his primary in a landslide. For a while, he was seen as the favorite to win in May, but more recent polls show a statistical dead heat between Petro and conservative Federico Gutiérrez.

No party won a majority in the legislative elections and centrists did not perform well, exacerbating the country’s polarization.

If Petro wins in May, he will be Colombia’s first leftist president. This election follows recent leftist victories in Honduras, Chile, Peru, and Bolivia and comes ahead of Brazil’s highly polarized election, which leftist former president Lula da Silva is the favorite to win.

BN Americas (April 9, 2022): LatAm mining sector facing persistent uncertainty due to upcoming elections

Theresa Bachmann, Global Risk Insights (April 8, 2022): Opinion: Colombia’s Violent Start to 2022: A Key Electoral Cycle

Richard Emblin, The City Paper Bogota (April 4, 2022): Petro and Gutiérrez in run-off tiebreaker predict pollsters

Ezra Fieser, Bloomberg (April 2, 2022): Two Colombian Polls Show No Clear Winner in Presidential Runoff

Christopher Sabatini, Chatham House (April 1, 2022): Colombia: a party system in free fall: As elections loom, the fragmentation of the country’s politics may produce a new consensus – or more polarization, says Christopher Sabatini

Cynthia Perez, Catholic News Agency (March 31, 2022): Colombian Priest Urges Conscientious Voting Ahead of Presidential Election

Jorge Engels and Stefano Pozzebon, CNN (March 30, 2022): Violence in eastern Colombia has left 130 dead this year, UN and Catholic Church say

Fitch Ratings (March 30, 2022): Colombia Banks Well Positioned for Heightened Macro Risk

Nelson Bocanegra, Reuters (March 29, 2022): Analysis: Colombia presidential candidate Petro’s oil, pension proposals give investors pause

Will Freeman, Americas Quarterly (March 28, 2022): Wildcard: The 76-Year-Old Newcomer Shaking Up Colombia’s Election – Win or lose, Rodolfo Hernández’s rise reflects the deep discontent in Colombian politics.

Canada, Ontario Provincial Elections: June 2, 2022, followed by other provincial and local elections this year

Canada holds several sets of provincial and local elections this year. Next up: Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, holds provincial elections on June 2, 2022. Ontario last held provincial elections on June 17, 2018, and will hold the next elections on or before June 22, 2022. The Progressive Conservatives, under populist leader Doug Ford, won in a landslide, ending 15 years of Liberal rule. In addition, Ontario’s local elections are due by October 2022.

These follow last September’s snap federal elections, which took place 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. However, Trudeau subsequently reached a confidence-and-supply deal with the leftist New Democratic Party (NDP), which could bring stability until 2025, when the next elections are due.

Nick Taylor-Vaisey, Andy Blatchford, and Zi-Ann Lum, Politico (April 6, 2022): Decoding the freedom-loving firebrand who wants to be Canada’s next PM

J.J. McCullough, Washington Post (April 1, 2022): Opinion: Canada doesn’t need two left-wing parties that support Trudeau

Nick Taylor-Vaisey, Politico (March 30, 2022): Canada’s bombshell political deal is impossible to predict – but we’ll give you a shot at figuring it out

Chile Constitutional Referendum: September 4, 2022

Chile will hold a constitutional referendum on September 4, 2022, following over a year of meetings of the Constitutional Convention, which was elected in May 2021. The constitutional process began in response to a series of violent protests and riots in 2019.

The referendum 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 former 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 took 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. The Constitutional Convention consists overwhelmingly of left-wing members and could potentially be out of step with the broader Chilean electorate. Because voting in the referendum is mandatory, the new constitution may not be approved.

Buenos Aires Times (April 7, 2022): Chile’s Boric worried about drop in support for new constitution

AFP (April 5, 2022): Chileans to vote on new constitution on Sept 4: government

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 (April 9, 2022): Rising petrol prices fuel uncertainty at oil giant Petrobras

Giovana Fleck, Global Voices (April 8, 2022): What Bolsonaro’s ‘neutrality’ on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine means

AFP (April 6, 2022): Young voters blase on Brazil’s elections

Stratfor (April 4, 2022): To Rein in Fuel Prices, Brazil Taps a Pro-Subsidy Petrobras CEO

Manuella Libardi, openDemocracy (April 3, 2022): Why Bolsonaro may want to think twice about Putin’s support

Cedê Silva, Americas Quarterly (March 31, 2022): A Music Festival Reveals the Generation Gap in Brazil’s Politics

Reuters (March 31, 2022): Sao Paulo Governor Doria to drop out of Brazil presidential race, papers say

Al Jazeera (March 31, 2022): Brazilian officials resign en masse to boost President Bolsonaro: Shake-up is an important step before October elections expected to pit Jair Bolsonaro against Lula da Silva.

Bryan Harris and Michael Pooler, Financial Times (March 29, 2022): Bolsonaro and Lula eye running mates for Brazil election: Rightwing president appeals to voter base while leftwing ex-leader aims to broaden support

Mauricio Savarese, AP (March 28, 2022): Brazil’s Bolsonaro shakes up administration, eying election

Ecuador Regional Elections: March 2023 (due) and Possible Referendums (tbd)

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). However, Lasso does not have a majority in the country’s congress, and gridlock has inhibited many of his plans.

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

Chase Harrison, AS/COA (April 8, 2022): LatAm in Focus: Guillermo Lasso’s Tricky Year – One year after winning the election, Ecuador’s president faces congressional gridlock and security problems, says political scientist Paolo Moncagatta. Can Lasso find a way forward?

BN Americas (March 29, 2022): The risky bet of Ecuador’s Guillermo Lasso

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.

Widlore Mérancourt, Amanda Coletta, Claire Parker and Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post (April 8, 2022): Haiti’s assassination probe has stalled. The U.S. one is advancing.

Jim Wyss, Bloomberg (March 31, 2022): Kidnappings in Haiti Are Up 58% So Far This Year

Past Americas Elections

Costa Rica Presidential Runoff: April 3, 2022

Costa Rica held general elections on February 6, 2022, followed by a presidential runoff on April 3, 2022. Economist Rodrigo Chaves won, promising to “shake things up” in Central America’s most stable democracy.

In total, there were 25 presidential candidates from various parties, and turnout was a historic low. Incumbent presidents are not allowed to run for a second consecutive term, so President Carlos Alvarado from the center-left Citizen Action (PAC) did not run for another term. PAC nominated former prime minister Welmer Ramos as its presidential candidate. However, PAC won less than 1 percent of the vote and no seats in the legislature, and Ramos will not advance to the runoff. Instead, center-right economist Rodrigo Chaves, who won the first round, will face off against center-left former president José María Figueres.

Rated Free by Freedom House, Costa Rica has been a stable democracy since 1949.

Javier Córdoba, AP (April 5, 2022): Women watch Costa Rica’s president-elect warily

Al Jazeera (April 4, 2022): Economist Rodrigo Chaves elected Costa Rica’s president

Anatoly Kurmanaev and David Bolaños, New York Times (April 3, 2022): Economist Accused of Harassment Appears Set to Become Costa Rica’s President

Simone Bunse, London School of Economics (April 1, 2022): Messy 2022 elections boost Costa Rica’s defences against organised disinformation 

Regional Analysis

Emanuele Ottolenghi, The Dispatch (April 4, 2022): The Kremlin’s Latin American Echo Chamber: A trio of Spanish language media networks controlled by Iran, Russia, and Venezuela push out propaganda and disinformation to demonize the West.

Andrea Moncada, Americas Quarterly (March 30, 2022): Will Russian Influence in Latin America Grow in 2022?

Americas Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

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: September 4, 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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