NATIONAL POLITICS

Chilean right defeated in regional elections

Chileans in 13 of the country’s 16 regions voted on Sunday, June 13, in the second round of the regional elections. It was yet another marked by low turnout, competing right-wing candidates lost the elections except for the Araucanía region. In the Metropolitan region, center left candidate Claudio Orrego won.

It was the first time Chileans could vote on their regional governors, whereas before the government appointed them, but enthusiasm was hard to find on Sunday, June 13. In the second round of the regional elections, nationwide less than 20 percent of the electorate cast their votes. The lowest turnout was seen in the Antofagasta region, with little over 12 percent, while more voters participated in the Metropolitan region with over 25 percent.

Low turnout or not, the results came in around 8 p.m. and, again, the Chilean right-wing suffered a defeat in nearly all regions where it competed. Only in the Araucanía region, a competing right-wing candidate won the elections, while the regional elections turned out in a victory for especially center-left parties.

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Orrego Wins the Metropolitan Region

Many watched the elections in the Metropolitan region, the most densely populated region in the country with the most economic activity. The second round there turned into a clash between Chiles “old” and “new” left, with Claudio Orrego from the Christian Democrat party as winner, obtaining 52.71 percent of the votes.

In the polls, the inexperienced Karina Oliva from the Broad Front alliance was projected as winner and in many of the lower income municipalities in the region she obtained the majority of the votes. However, Orrego managed to get more votes in uptown municipalities such as Las Condes, Vitacura, and Lo Barnechea, where turnout was two or three times higher than in poorer parts of the region.

Other Regions

In the Araucanía region, right-wing independent candidate Luciano Rivas beat his opponent Eugenio Tuma from the PPD, becoming the only right-wing candidate to obtain a victory this Sunday. In the Bíobío region, traditionally a right-wing stronghold, UDI-candidate Flor Weisse won only 28 percent of the votes, with Rodrigo Díaz becoming the new governor in the southern region.

Other regions where the right lost and candidates from traditional, center left parties won were:

  • the Antofagasta region, with Marco Antonio Díaz Muñoz (RN) – 27.96 percent vs. 72.04 for Ricardo Heriberto Díaz Cortés (IND)
  • the O’Higgins region, with Eduardo Cornejo Lagos (UDI) – 42.34 percent vs. 57.66 for Pablo Silva Amaya (PS)
  • the Ñuble region, with Jezer Sepúlveda Domínguez (UDI) – 47.05 percent vs. 52.95 for Óscar Crisóstomo Llanos (PS)
  • the Los Ríos region, with María José Gatica Bertín (RN) – 40.82 percent vs. 59.18 for Luis Cuvertino Gómez (PS)
  • the Los Lagos region, with Ricardo Kuschel Silva (RN) – 37.60 percent vs. 62.40 for Patricio Vallespín López (DC)

Also in the Arica region, the Atacama region, and the Maule region center-left parties won (Jorge Díaz Ibarra (DC) with 57.66 percent, Miguel Vargas Correa (IND) with 59.39, and Cristina Bravo Castro (DC) with 57.32, respectively), while further left alliance Broad Front won in the Tarapacá region and the Coquimbo region (José Miguel Carvajal Gallardo (Comunes) with 57.02 percent and Krist Naranjo Peñaloza (IND) with 61.96, respectively).

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