In a week the chilean they will have two days to go to the polls to elect the 155 constituents who will draft the new Constitution with which the country hopes to build a new social pact after a long and complex period of protests.
After a five-week delay due to a rise in coronavirus infections, what is considered the most important election in 31 years will take place, when the country regained democracy after the end of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990) .
On Saturday 15 and Sunday 16, Chileans will elect the 155 members of the Constitutional Convention that will draft the new Magna Carta.
A Constitution that will replace the one inherited from the dictatorship, considered the main obstacle to achieving greater social equality, the great clamor that summoned millions in the Chilean streets during the protests that began on October 18, 2019.
With squares and avenues lit up after weeks of mostly peaceful protests – and some very violent – the political forces reached an agreement in November of that same year to call a plebiscite in which the electorate of more than 14 million people would decide whether or not a new Constitution for Chile was drafted.
Scheduled for April 2020 but also postponed due to the pandemic, the referendum was held on October 25 of last year: an overwhelming 80% approved the drafting of a new Constitution by a body made up of 100% elected members.
Seven months later, more than 1,300 candidates compete to become constituents, in an election that for the first time in the world will be held under gender parity criteria and includes 17 places reserved for indigenous peoples.
“It is a symbolically tremendously important election,” in terms of the hope it opens to build a new social pact, said Carmen Le Foulon, coordinator of the Public Opinion Area of the Center for Public Studies (CEP), in a press conference with correspondents foreign.
Regional governors, mayors and councilors will also be elected, in votes that traditionally anticipate the results of the presidential one, which this time will be only months later, on November 21, in a calendar altered by the outbreaks of covid.
– Less epic than the plebiscite –
There are no surveys that anticipate the result of the Constituent Assembly due to its unprecedented nature, the large number of candidates and the difficulties in taking samples.
In addition, the electoral campaign has been interrupted by the harsh restrictions on mobility imposed due to the increase in coronavirus infections in Chile, which since March 2020 has added more than 1.2 million cases and exceeds 27,000 deaths among 19 million of population.
Although this electoral appointment is held with more than 46% of the target population already vaccinated against the covid.
Health authorities estimate that a slight drop in infections in recent weeks and more than seven million immunized with two doses – including table members – will stimulate participation equal to or greater than that of the plebiscite (51%).
Some experts believe that turnout would be below the October milestone, as this election is perceived as “less epic.”
– Projections –
Regarding the results, the consultants estimate that the independent candidates will not get a large vote, except for the exceptions of well-known figures – television or media figures – and that it will be the traditional parties that will concentrate the votes.
The left opposition to the government of the conservative Sebastián Piñera would rise as the winner in terms of the number of constituents.
But “that in no case could translate into that opposition going to pass the steamroller over the right-wing parties, because that opposition has programmatic differences that are practically irreconcilable,” Mauricio Morales, a political scientist and academic from the University of Talca, told AFP. .
The opposing views of the opposition – which includes from the Communist Party, the Christian Democrats to different factions of the radical left – prevented them from being grouped into a single large list, as did the ruling party, which reached an electoral pact with the extreme right .
This division would end up benefiting the government pact, which would be overrepresented due to the proportional electoral system that rewards coalitions that present themselves together, Morales added.
Although Kenneth Bunker, political scientist and director of the political studies company tresquintos.cl, considered that the mistakes made in recent weeks by the Piñera government in handling the pandemic and the late delivery of social aid, would lead to the right to lose vote.
“I am not so sure that the right will manage to get a third. Something is going to lose with what happened, “he said.
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