The battle for govern in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, where more than a third of Chile’s population lives, was the great struggle of the second round of the regional elections in which two left-wing parties faced each other, one centrist and the other more radical. The winning candidate was Claudio Orrego, of the Christian Democracy (DC) in alliance with other center-left parties, which represents a more traditional wing within the Chilean opposition.
He prevailed by 52.3 percent compared to 47.7 of his rival Karina Oliva, of Frente Amplio (FA), a coalition that was born in 2017 as a renewed and more modern left.
Both parties, however, are opponents of the government of Sebastián Piñera, whose coalition, Chile Vamos, it was only imposed in the La Araucaria regionThe 2,387 polling stations enabled this Sunday in Chile for the elections to governor in 13 of the 16 regions of the country closed their doors with complete peace of mind before starting the vote count that will complete the day.
More than 13 million citizens were called to vote, for which 40,382 polling stations were set up.
Chile’s Electoral Service (Servel) has not yet provided data on participation, but it is expected that is lower than the 43% registered in the first round of these elections, in which the governor of three regions was already defined, and which were held together with the municipal and constituent elections.
Concern about a low participation marked the day, which took place at the height of the pandemic in the country, which for the third consecutive day registered more of 7,000 infections, and with the entire Metropolitan Region, the most populated in the country and where the capital is located, in total quarantine.
During the day, various authorities and political actors they called the population to go to the polls and they valued the importance of this election of governors, which is held for the first time in history to replace the current mayors, who are elected by the Executive.
“We have no experience (in electing governors) so whatever we do to estimate at this time about turnout is a lucubration without much basis“, the president of the Electoral Service, Andrés Tagle, told the press.
Since in 2012 the vote began to be voluntary no election in Chile has exceeded 50% participation, with the exception of the plebiscite on a new Constitution last October (51%).
Given the images that were seen during the day in the voting centers, with little attendance of people except for specific moments, some political voices began to ask the return of the mandatory vote, iEven for the next presidential elections that will take place at the end of the year.
The election of governors is seen as a step towards the decentralization of the country, although their attributions will be limited and will be limited to territorial ordering, public goods, social and cultural development or entrepreneurship, among others, and it will not be until March 2022 that they will be able to request more powers.
Likewise, and with the proximity of the presidential elections, analysts make a national reading of these elections, for the support that the political forces in each region will gather and the bulwark that the new governors can suppose to sustain the campaign to be head of the Executive.
The main focus of the elections is in the Metropolitan Region, which is home to 7 of the 19 million inhabitants of Chile, so the elected candidate will become the most voted authority in the country after the president.
Source: EFE and Clarín