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A Guide to 2018 Latin American Elections



In 2018, the three biggest countries in Latin America—Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico—will elect new presidents. But those aren’t the only ones where voters head to the ballot box in a year that could see sweeping political changes across the region. Here’s who’s voting and when:

  • Brazil: October 7 presidential and legislative elections, October 28 runoff
  • Colombia: March 11 legislative elections, May 27 presidential; June 17 runoff
  • Costa Rica: February 4 presidential and legislative elections; April 1 runoff
  • Cuba: April 19 presidential transition of power
  • El Salvador: March 4 legislative elections
  • Mexico: July 1 presidential and legislative elections
  • Paraguay: April 22 presidential and legislative elections
  • United States: November 6 legislative elections
  • Venezuela: April 22 presidential election

AS/COA is tracking the votes through articles, poll updates, podcasts, and programs. Check back regularly for new updates.

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Voter turnout in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay, and Venezuela since 2000

Chart: A Deep Dive into Voter Turnout in Latin America

February 15, 2018

More people will vote in Brazil in 2018 than in all other Latin American countries combined.

Poll tracker graphic

Poll Tracker: Mexico's 2018 Presidential Election

February 13, 2018

We monitor the findings of some of Mexico's main pollsters to see how candidates are faring ahead of the July 1 vote.

Video: 2018 Elections in Latin America - Americas Quarterly Launch Event

February 13, 2018

AQ brought together an expert panel to discuss issues ranging from Russian meddling to fake news to the market's effects on Latin America's 2018 elections.

2018 Latin American elections flags

A Timeline of 2017 and 2018 Elections in Latin America

November 16, 2017

Latin Americans will vote for nine new presidents in two years, along with more than 2,900 legislators.

Carlos Alvarado, Fabricio Alvarado, Costa Rica (AP)

Update: Two Alvarados Make It to Costa Rican Runoff

February 05, 2018

In an election marked by social conservatism, ticos will choose between Carlos and Fabricio Alvarado on Easter Sunday, April 1.

Poll update graphic

Poll Update: Costa Rica's 2018 Presidential Election

February 01, 2018

Fabricio Alvarado maintains his lead in the final poll before the February 4 vote, while Carlos Alvarado makes big gains, and Juan Diego Castro tumbles.

Costa Rican presidential candidates at January 30 debate

LatAm in Focus: Costa Rican Voters Are "Blowing in the Wind"

January 31, 2018

After decades of steady bipartisan politics, in 2018, Tico voters keep changing their minds about who they’re going to vote for on February 4, say two University of Costa Rica pollsters.

Poll Update: An Early Look at Mexico's 2018 Presidential Race

Poll Update: An Early Look at Mexico's 2018 Presidential Race

February 01, 2018

We’ve got some time until the July 1 election, but the race is heating up for the next occupant of Los Pinos.

Latin America's Angry Outsiders

January 22, 2018

In this new issue of AQ, we preview the region’s 2018 elections – and explain why anti-establishment nationalists are rising in the polls.

Meet the Candidates

January 22, 2018

A closer look at the leading candidates in this year’s presidential elections.

System Failure: Behind the Rise of Jair Bolsonaro

January 22, 2018

How a retired Army captain rose from a marginal apologist for torture and dictatorship to a serious contender for Brazil’s presidency.

A voter in Chihuahua, Mexico. (AP)

LatAm in Focus: From Elections to Trade, Latin America's Big 2018 Stories

January 11, 2018

If 2017 was the year that changed Washington, 2018 will redefine Latin America. AS/COA experts explain how in our first podcast of the year.

A Costa Rican voter. (Image: Ingmar Zahorsky)

Explainer: Costa Rica's 2018 Elections

January 18, 2018

Just before the February 4 first round, court rulings have stirred the social order in the traditionally conservative country.

Election Update: What Piñera's Win Means for Chile

December 18, 2017

As business mogul Sebastián Piñera gets a second stab at the presidency, we look at the implications for legislation, markets, and trade.

Evo Morales and Daniel Ortega. (AP)

Explainer: A Look at Reelection in the Americas

December 07, 2017

As Bolivia’s Evo Morales eyes a fourth consecutive term, we look at other places in the Americas where the topic of reelection has made waves in recent years.

Honduras election

Honduras' Troubled 2017 Presidential Election

December 01, 2017

After days of delays and technical glitches, updated tallies put the president ahead as the country slides into its biggest political crisis since 2009.

Elections the Polls Got Wrong.

Weekly Chart: Polls Gone Awry in the Americas

December 01, 2017

If there’s one lesson to be learned from recent polling debacles, it’s that voters should never base their decision to head to the ballot box on them.

Meade and Peña. (AP)

Mexico Update: The 2018 Presidential Race Comes into Focus

November 30, 2017

On November 27, José Antonio Meade threw his hat into the ring. Can he beat Andrés Manuel López Obrador—and a whole host of other contenders?

Honduran election worker holds up ballot marked for Salvador Nasralla

Honduras Update: A Surprise (Partial) Result in the Presidential Vote

November 27, 2017

Polls indicated incumbent Juan Orlando Hernández’s reelection, but corruption concerns appear to have given a leg up to former sportscaster Salvador Nasralla.

Juan Orlando Hernández

Explainer: The 2017 Honduran Presidential Election

November 21, 2017

Polls show President Juan Orlando Hernández could win a second term on November 26 in a country where the issue of reelection sparked turmoil eight years ago.

Alejandro Guillier and Sebastián Piñera in Chile

Chile Election Update: Four Takeaways from the First Round

November 20, 2017

Polls got it wrong and all eyes are on which way losing candidates’ votes will go when Alejandro Guillier and Sebastian Piñera compete in a December 17 runoff.  

Chilean presidential candidates Piñera, Guillier, and Sánchez

LatAm in Focus: What to Look for in Chile's Presidential Elections

November 15, 2017

Sebastián Piñera will likely win the November 19 vote, but turnout will be key for his rival to stand a chance in the runoff, says political scientist Patricio Navia.

The Trouble Facing Colombia's Moderates

October 30, 2017

Without conflict to bring them together, Colombians are confronting their differences, and engaging in the messy business of democracy.

Making Sense of Colombia's Crowded Presidential Field

October 30, 2017

With more than two dozen potential candidates, Colombia’s 2018 race is up for grabs. Is there room for surprise among so many familiar faces?

Four Takeaways From Argentina’s Game-Changing Mid-Term Elections

October 23, 2017

The president's center-right coalition swept Argentina's biggest provinces in mid-term elections, opening his path to reelection in 2019.

Voting Center in Venezuela

Populism Is Coming for Latin America in 2018

October 23, 2017

Investors and policymakers need to watch the region's election wave, write AS/COA’s Brian Winter and Igarapé Institute’s Robert Muggah for

An Mexican election worker marks a voter's thumb with ink.

LatAm in Focus: Mexico's Big Year Ahead

October 12, 2017

Victor Herrera, former Mexico City office head for S&P’s Global Ratings, spells out what’s in store for Mexico—from elections to NAFTA talks.

A voter steps on election flyers in Brazil 2017

Explainer: Brazil's Political Parties to Watch in 2018

October 06, 2017

Given voter disillusionment with traditional politics, the country’s parties are rebranding to rebuild their influence. A year before general elections, we profile the parties. 

Weekly Chart: Argentina's Legislative Elections by the Numbers

September 28, 2017

The October 22 vote will determine how much sway President Maurico Macri’s coalition will have in Congress, as well as Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s return to politics.

Gigante de Cobre, copper statue in Chile

LatAm in Focus: Economic Realities Facing Chile's Next President

September 27, 2017

Listen: Now heading candidate Sebastián Piñera’s economic platform, former Finance Minister Felipe Larraín talks tax reform, copper, and more.

presidential candidates in chile

Explainer: Chile's Top Election Issues and Candidates

August 23, 2017

Get background on the issues dominating the 2017 campaign trail and the presidential candidates leading the polls.

A polling station in Cali, Colombia. (AP)

Explainer: Colombia's 2018 Elections

June 28, 2017

The race to replace outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos is on, with candidates from across the spectrum.