The president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, affirmed that the regional elections, which are being disputed this weekend in their second round, they are a “historic” opportunity for the country that will elect its governors, previously handpicked, at the polls for the first time this year.
“This is a very important and historic election. Today, for the first time, Chileans from 13 regions will elect their governor “said the president, who decided not to speak for any candidate or make his vote transparent.
Before the position was appointed by the Executive, so it is an unprecedented vote and seen by many as a crucial step towards the decentralization of the country.
In this second round 13 of the 16 territorial divisions will be played of the country – the other three were already secured in the first round – for which more than 13 million Chileans are called to vote, almost six of them in the capital.
A woman sits on a bench in front of closed commercial premises during the total confinement decreed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus disease, in Santiago. Photo Xinhua
Despite the political relevance of the ballot, which could shake the presidential race, the election is expected to move fewer voters than the mega-elections of May, when 43% of the register participated, due to a drastic increase in covid-19 infections in recent weeks that forced the entire capital to be quarantined.
“It is very important that this and all elections are very participatory and safe.. We have to comply with personal care. The coronavirus has loosened in Europe and the United States, but it has been cruel to South America, “added Piñera.
The election comes at a difficult time in the pandemic, with a historical peak of active cases of covid-19 (more than 62,000) and with the entire Metropolitan Region, the most populated in the country and in which the capital is located, back in total quarantine, which could affect the number of people who go to the polls.
The new governors, who will take office on July 14 for a period of four yearsThey will become authorities with high visibility and, in many cases, territorial counterpowers to the centralized Santiago, where public power is concentrated, but also business power.
Two candidates from the left, Claudio Orrego and Karina Oliva, faces in the capital after managing to unseat the only government proposal in the first round, and they opt to become the most voted position in the country after the head of state.
His contest faces two polarized left sectors: Orrego belongs to the Christian Democracy and symbolizes the more traditional wing, while Oliva represents a renewed left, although with less experience, as he belongs to the Broad Front, a coalition that erupted in 2017.
The importance of the Santiago governorate also increases if one takes into account that the presidential elections are just around the corner, November 21, and the governor of the capital could become a speaker and the bastion of some candidate.
Olive would tilt the axis of the opposition towards the radical left, being able to promote the candidate of the Broad Front, Gabriel Boric, or that of the Communist Party, Daniel Jadue, who leads the polls. By contrast, Orrego could be the figure that moves a moderate aspirant.