Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections




Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet
on Leaders and Elections

Updated March 8, 2021
Congressional Research Service
https://crsreports.congress.gov
98-684




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This report provides the results of recent presidential elections in Latin America and the
Caribbean. Below are three tables organized by region, that include the date of each country’s
independence, the name of the most recently elected president or prime minister, and the
projected date of the next presidential election. Information in this report was gathered from
numerous sources, including the U.S. State Department, Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA’s)
World Fact Book, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) Election Guide,
Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and other news sources.
Table 1. South America: Heads of State and Election Schedules
Last
Independence
Head of
Election/
Next
Country
Date
Government
Runoff
Election/Runoff
Argentina
July 9, 1816
FERNÁNDEZ, Alberto
Oct. 27, 2019
Oct. 2023
Bolivia
Aug. 6, 1825
ARCE, Luisa
Oct. 18, 2020b
2025
Oct. 7, 2018/
Brazil
Sept. 7, 1822
BOLSONARO, Jair
Oct. 2022
Oct. 28, 2018
Nov. 19, 2017/
Chile
Sept. 18, 1810
PIÑERA, Sebastián
Nov. 2021
Dec. 17, 2017
May 27, 2018/
Colombia
July 20, 1810
DUQUE, Iván
May 2022
June 17, 2018
Feb. 7, 2021/
Ecuador
May 24, 1822
MORENO, Lenín
Feb. 2025
Apr. 11, 2021c
Paraguay
May 14, 1811
ABDO BENITEZ, Mario
Apr. 22, 2018
Apr. 2023
Apr. 10, 2016
Peru
July 28, 1821
SAGASTI, Franciscod
Apr. 2021
/June 5, 2016
Oct. 27,
Uruguay
Aug. 25, 1825
LACALLE POU, Luis
2019/Nov.24,
Oct. 2024
2019
Venezuela
July 5, 1811
MADURO, Nicolás
May 20, 2018e
May 2024
Source: Compiled by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
a. Evo Morales stepped down from office on November 10, 2019, due to concerns of fraud in his October
2019 reelection bid. Second Vice President of the Senate, Jeanine Áñez, became interim president on
November 12, 2019. Following elections on October 18, 2020 with the victory for the political party MAS,
Luis Arce became President on November 8, 2020.
b. Elections were held on October 18, after the November 2019 results were annulled, and then delayed in
March 2020 due to the spread of COVID-19. See CRS In Focus IF11325, Bolivia: An Overview, by Clare
Ribando Seelke.
c. In the first round of elections in February, no candidate received enough votes to win outright. The runoff
election will be a contest between the top two vote getters, Andrés Arauz and Guillermo Lasso.
d. Martín Vizcarra was impeached by the Peruvian Congress on November 9, 2020 and constitutionally
succeeded by the head of Congress, Manuel Merino, who resigned under pressure after six days. On
November 17, the legislature elected Francisco Sagasti to be president of the legislature and, in turn, interim
president until July 2021.
e. In a controversial move, Venezuela’s presidential election was moved earlier from December 2018 to May
20, 2018. Most Venezuelans and much of the international community considered the May 2018 election, in
which then-President Nicolás Maduro won reelection, as illegitimate (CRS In Focus IF10230, Venezuela:
Political Crisis and U.S. Policy
, by Clare Ribando Seelke). The United States and over 50 other countries have
recognized Juan Guaidó, elected president of Venezuela’s National Assembly in January 2019, as Interim
President of Venezuela, yet Maduro remains in power.
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Table 2. Mexico and Central America: Heads of State and Election Schedules
Last
Independence
Head of
Election/
Next
Country
Date
Government
Runoff
Election/Runoff
Mexico
Sept. 16, 1810
LÓPEZ OBRADOR, Andrés Manuel
July 1, 2018
July 1, 2024
Costa Rica
Sept. 15, 1821
ALVARADO, Carlos
Feb. 4, 2018/
Feb. 2022
Apr. 1, 2018
El Salvador
Sept. 15, 1821
BUKELE, Nayib
Feb. 3, 2019
Feb. 2024
Guatemala
Sept. 15, 1821
GIAMMATTEI, Alejandro
June 16, 2019/
2023
Aug. 11, 2019
Honduras
Sept. 15, 1821
HERNÁNDEZ, Juan Orlando
Nov. 26, 2017
Nov. 2021
Nicaragua
Sept. 15, 1821
ORTEGA, Daniel
Nov. 6, 2016
Nov. 7, 2021a
Panama
Nov. 3, 1903
CORTIZO, Laurentino
May 5, 2019
May 2024
Source: Compiled by CRS.
a. In July 2020, the Nicaraguan government announced a date for the next presidential election. Critics
contend the electoral council’s resolution is invalid because it contains changes in voting rules that the
national legislature is supposed to approve. See Associated Press, “Nicaraguan government sets date for
presidential election,” July 14, 2020, at https://apnews.com/264f780a50f86ee438a187b093f5d755.
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Table 3. Caribbean: Heads of State and Election Schedules
Last
Next
Independence
Head of
Election/
Election/
Country
Date
Government
Runoff
Runoff
Antigua and Barbuda
Nov. 1, 1981
BROWNE, Gaston
Mar. 21, 2018
by Mar. 2023
Bahamas
July 10, 1973
MINNIS, Hubert
May 10, 2017
by May 2022
Barbados
Nov. 30, 1966
MOTTLEY, Mia
May 25, 2018
by May 2023
Belize
Sept. 21, 1981
BRICEŇO, Johnny
Nov. 11, 2020
by 2025
Cubaa
May 20, 1902
DÍAZ-CANEL, Miguel
Apr. 2018
Apr. 2023
Dominica
Nov. 3, 1978
SKERRIT, Roosevelt
Dec. 6, 2019
by March 2025
Dominican Republica
Feb. 27, 1844
ABINADER, Luis
July 5, 2020
May 2024
Grenada
Feb. 7, 1974
MITCHELL, Keith
Mar. 13, 2018
by Mar. 2023
Guyana
May 26, 1966
ALI, Irfaan
Mar. 2, 2020b
by 2025
Sept. 19,
Haiti
Jan. 1, 1804
MOÏSE, Jovenel
Nov. 20, 2016c
2021/Nov. 21,
2021d
Jamaica
Aug. 6, 1962
HOLNESS, Andrew
Sept. 3, 2020
by 2024
St. Kitts and Nevis
Sept. 19, 1983
HARRIS, Timothy
June 5, 2020
by 2025
St. Lucia
Feb. 22, 1979
CHASTANET, Allen
June 6, 2016
by June 2021
St. Vincent and the
Oct. 27, 1979
GONSALVES, Ralph E.
Nov. 5, 2020
by 2025
Grenadines
SANTOKHI,
Suriname
Nov. 25, 1975
May 25, 2020
2025
Chandrikapersade
Trinidad and Tobago
Aug. 31, 1962
ROWLEY, Keith
August 10, 2020 by 2025
Source: Compiled by CRS.
Note: Although Belize is located in Central America and Guyana and Suriname are located in South America, all
three are members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
a. Cuba does not have direct elections for its head of government. Instead, Cuba’s legislature selects the
members of the 31-member Council of State, with the president of that body serving as Cuba’s head of
government and head of state. In April 2019, Cuba’s legislature selected Miguel Diaz-Canel for a five-year
term. In October 2019, Cuba’s legislature appointed Diaz-Canel as president of the republic under Cuba’s
new constitution. The Dominican Republic moved elections from May to July 2020 due to the COVID-19
pandemic.
b. Irfaan Ali was sworn into office on August 2, 2020, 5 months after elections were held on March, 2, 2020.
Allegations of fraud and vote tampering delayed the election results as legal challenges were pursued by
supporters of the ruling government led by President David Granger. See CRS In Focus IF11381, Guyana: An
Overview
, by Mark P. Sullivan.
c. Haiti held controversial national elections on October 25, 2015. After postponing runoff elections several
times, the Provisional Electoral Council announced new presidential elections would take place instead in
October 2016; these were delayed for a month due to Hurricane Matthew.
d. There is a dispute over whether Moïse’s five-year term began in February of the year he was elected (2016),
or upon his own inauguration in 2017, and would end, respectively, on either February 7, 2021, or February
7, 2022. As of January 13, 2020, Moïse is ruling by decree. Most of the national legislature’s terms expired
on that date without the body having passed an elections law to elect new legislators. Moïse appointed a
new CEP by decree, which has scheduled a constitutional referendum for April 25, 2021, which may change
electoral laws, and parliamentary and presidential elections as indicated. Opponents call the moves
unconstitutional. See CRS Report R45034, Haiti’s Political and Economic Conditions, by Maureen Taft-Morales.
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Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections

e. A coalition of four opposition parties won the most legislative seats in May 2020, On July 13, 2020, the
newly elected National Assembly elected Chandrikapersad “Chan” Santokhi as president, who was sworn in
on July 16, 2020, succeeding Dési Bouterse who served as president since 2010.


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Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections


Author Information

Carla Y. Davis-Castro

Research Librarian


Acknowledgments
Nese F. DeBruyne, CRS Senior Research Librarian, was the former author of this report.


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Congressional Research Service
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