An election is a decision-making process used in modern democracies where citizens vote for their preferred candidates or political parties to act as representatives in the government.
Elections are part of Tropico's gameplay. When an election happens, a citizen with a high leadership attribute will choose to run against the presidente. Who they are, what education and skills they have, and what factions they support doesn't seem to affect who votes for them. Citizens will vote based on their personal happiness and the relations of their factions; unhappy people and those whose factions have bad relations with the current presidente will vote for the opposition. If the number of votes against the presidente is higher than the votes for them, the presidente will be ousted from the government and the game will be lost.
In Tropico, elections happen based on the state of democracy in the country; the more stable democracy is, the more often elections will be scheduled. Scheduled elections can be canceled by the presidente and elections as a whole can be eliminated completely by establishing martial law, but this can cause uprisings. The presidente can also promote elections by scheduling them earlier.
Regardless of how happy or respectful citizens are, they will sometimes demand elections in order to further promote democracy.
When an election begins, the presidente is given the choice to write and give an election speech. This allows them to discuss recent problems, blame or praise factions, and make promises for what they'll accomplish if re-elected.
- Talk about recent problems: If the presidente talks about a recent problem, Tropicans who feel angry about the problem won't take the issue into account when voting. For example, if housing is a problem and the presidente discusses it in a speech, Tropicans upset about the housing issue won't vote against the presidente because of it.
- Blame: If relations with any faction except the Loyalists are extremely low or there's a significant threat such as rebels, the presidente will automatically blame members of the faction or the threat for the problem they discuss. This cannot be controlled by the player and won't lower relations with the group any further; it's simply a cosmetic feature.
- Praise: The presidente can choose to praise someone in their speech, improving relations with the group they praise by 10. The group chosen can be an internal faction, the US, or the USSR. The presidente can also praise themselves in a speech, improving relations with the Loyalists. Pompous presidentes are unable to praise anyone besides themselves.
- Promises: The presidente can make a promise to voters on something they wish to accomplish if re-elected. Examples of promises the presidente can make include building a church, lowering crime, and raising housing satisfaction. Note that if a promise is made in a speech but not accomplished by the next election, voters will be angry at the presidente and will likely vote against them.
If the presidente is losing an election, the Tropican electoral tribunal will give them an option to rig the votes. This means that a number of citizens who vote against the presidente will have their votes counted as being for the presidente. This is a highly corrupt and illegal activitiy which will lower relations with the Intellectuals until the next election and lower democratic expectations.