Constitutional Process

Chileans vote on future: “Today a political cycle comes to an end”

Chile will decide its constitutional future today: to continue with the Constitution of 1980 or to choose the new one written by the Constitutional Convention. Several voters agreed that this is a very important election for the country. On a sunny day, Santiago citizens move to exercise their right.

Citizens in Santiago de Chile are ready to vote. As voting is mandatory, long queues have formed outside polling stations in an environment full of expectations for either option: Apruebo, approving the proposal, or Rechazo, rejecting it.

Whatever their preferred option, voters agree that the choice carries monumental consequences for the country’s future. “Today a political cycle comes to an end. The transition years end with this voting,” a woman in her twenties told Chile Today while waiting in line outside Liceo Tajamar school in Providencia. In the same queue, an 83-year old woman added, “I have voted many times in my life, but this one feels like it has an extra weight.” 

The election is not just huge because of the stakes but also because of the numbers. Voting has become mandatory. Since 2012, it has been voluntary. Hence, polling places are preparing to receive a large influx of voters. “This place is for more than 16,000 people. Usually, 70 percent of eligible citizens vote, but today we are expecting 25 percent more. We have transport strategies and help for the elderly,” Daniel Beltrán, who oversees voting at Sagrados Corazones Manquehue school, told Chile Today.

Others seek to make a buck. Outside Julio Martínez Prádanos National Stadium street vendors are selling food and beverages to voters. “With the heat we expect a lot of sales,” an immigrant selling water said.

Polling places will close at 18.00h and first results are expected to come in some 30 minutes later. The winning option will be definitely known by 19.00h the latest. Chile Today will provide coverage throughout the day. Follow us on Twitter: @ChileTodayNews.

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