Americas This Week: April 23, 2022

April 23, 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.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Mexico’s president, “AMLO,” has survived a recall election widely dismissed as a political stunt. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Adrián Cerón (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Americas 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.

Matthew Bristow, Bloomberg (April 22, 2022): Colombia’s Petro Extends Lead One Month From Presidential Election

Manuel Rueda, AP (April 18, 2022): Colombian candidate says he won’t nationalize property

Samuel Arnold-Parra, Global Risk Insights (April 14, 2022): A Major Shift? The Significance of Colombia’s Upcoming Presidential Election

UN Security Council (April 12, 2022): Recent Elections in Colombia Saw Most Women Voted into Office, Special Representative Tells Security Council, Highlighting Value of Peace

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

Six Mexican states hold gubernatorial elections on June 5: Aguascalientes, Durango (also holding local elections), Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, and Tamaulipas.

These follow Mexico’s first-ever presidential recall election, which took place on April 10. Voters (very few of them – turnout was less than 18 percent) decided not 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 was organized by AMLO’s supporters, and many viewed it as a stunt.

Mexico’s high-stakes elections last June (midterm legislative elections, as well as gubernatorial elections in 15 of Mexico’s 31 states, and local elections) had more than 21,000 offices 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

Editorial Board, Washington Post (April 20, 2022): Mexico’s Congress stands up for common sense on energy

Marina E. Franco, Axios (April 11, 2022): Mexican president ramps up criticism of election body after recall referendum

AP (April 10, 2022): Few Mexicans vote on whether president stays or goes

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.

Robert L. Funk, Americas Quarterly (April 21, 2022): A Challenging Start for Gabriel Boric

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

Clara Ferreira Marques, Bloomberg (April 24, 2022): Brazil’s Messiest Election Yet Puts Democracy on the Line

Daniel Carvalho, Bloomberg (April 13, 2022): Cash Handouts are Saving Brazil’s Poorest — and Bolsonaro’s Campaign

Eduardo Campos Lima, Crux (April 12, 2022): Brazilian cardinal’s appearance alongside Bolsonaro causes controversy

Anthony Boadle and Ricardo Brito, Reuters (April 11, 2022): Brazil invites EU for the first time to observe its national election

Bryan Harris, Financial Times (April 10, 2022): Adviser to Lula’s party urges overhaul of fiscal rules to raise spending in Brazil: Investors see spending cap as a safeguard against rampant debt in Latin America’s biggest economy

Argentina Presidential and Legislative Elections: October or November 2023 (due)

Argentina is due to hold presidential and legislative elections in October or November 2023.

Argentina held midterm legislative elections in November 2021, 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.

Buenos Aires Times (April 19, 2022): Argentina’s call to ‘re-establish ties’ with Maduro’s government draws fire from critics

David Feliba, Washington Post (April 18, 2022): He raffles off his salary. He could be Argentina’s next president.

Nick Burns, Americas Quarterly (April 11, 2022): Javier Milei’s Unexpected Rise: A brash libertarian is disrupting Argentina’s political duopoly

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.

Renata Segura, Foreign Affairs (April 20, 2022): Haiti’s State of Paralysis: How to Break the Deadly Relationship Between Politics and Crime

Editorial Board, Washington Post (April 10, 2022): Haiti needs Washington’s help to exit its quagmire

Past Americas Elections

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).

Ryan C. Berg, The Hill (April 18, 2022): We can do more to confront Nicaragua’s authoritarian government

David Agren, Crux (April 13, 2022): Exiled bishop says he’s sure pope is working to help Nicaraguan prisoners

Carlos F. Chamorro, Confidencial (April 9, 2022): The political prisoners are the hope of Nicaragua


Georges A. Fauriol and Scott B. MacDonald, Global Americans (April 21, 2022): Geopolitical Realignments and the Southern Caribbean Energy Matrix

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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