Constitutional Process NATIONAL

Chile Rejects Coalition and Former Ruling Class in Surprising Election Result

SANTIAGO – With the first results in, Chile’s right and center-right have suffered a major defeat in the constitutional, regional and municipal elections. Candidates linked to the new left and independent candidates won surprising results. The outcome has major implications for the Constitutional Convention.

 The preliminary results of the elections in Chile, marked by low turnout, are in. In the most important of the four elections this weekend, for the Constitutional Convention, voters opted for independent candidates and candidates belonging to leftwing parties. Candidates tied to the ruling coalition, Chile Vamos, which includes UDI, Evópoli and National Renewal parties, received some 38 of the seats, while they hoped for at least 52 seats, or one third in the convention, which would have meant power to obstruct a two-thirds majority necessary to pass articles.

Candidates from Lista del Apruebo, formed by parties of the post-dictatorship Concertación coalition (Socialist Party, Party for Democracy, Radical Party and Christian Democrats), also won less than they hoped, with 25 of the seats. A big winner is the list of Apruebo Dignidad, by candidates from leftwing parties like the Broad Front and Communist Party, with 27 seats. Independent candidates, with various ideologies, but most not being linked to traditional politics, won 48 seats. With over two-thirds of the seats in the convention going to non-traditional representatives, Chile will most likely get a progressive Constitution.

Also, on regional and municipal level, rightwing and center-right parties lost important strongholds. In Metropolitan region, the rightwing lost as leftwing candidate Karina Oliva and Christian Democrat Claudio Orrego will head to a second, decisive round. In Valparaíso region, leftwing Broad Front candidate Rodrigo Mundaca won an overwhelming 43 percent of the votes, making him winner in the first round. And in Bíobío region, usually a rightwing stronghold, independent candidate Rodrigo Diaz won 27 percent of the votes to go to the second round with rightwing candidate Flor Weisse.

The biggest changes on municipal level took place in Santiago’s Maipú district, with Tomás Vodanovic taking over, and in Viña del Mar, with leftwing Macarena Ripamonti winning the mayorship. In rightwing strongholds such as Santiago’s Las Condes, Lo Barnechea and Vitacura districts, the right remains strong, while leftwing candidates won decisive victories in Recoleta and Renca districts, and in Valparaíso. At the moment of writing, Communist Party candidate Iraci Hassler is close to defeating current Santiago mayor Felipe Alessandri from coalition party National Renewal.

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