NATIONAL POLITICS

Representatives Present Bill to Advance General Elections

VALPARAÍSO – A group of Chilean representatives has presented a bill to advance the general elections. According to the proposed bill, elections for the new president, representatives, and senators would be held Apr. 11, 2021, instead of Nov. 21, 2021. President Piñera responded to the proposal, saying the group must “respect the rules of the game of the Republic.”

A group of representatives, all part of the Chilean opposition and led by Jaime Mulet (FRVS) and Rodrigo González (PPD), has presented a bill that seeks to end the term of president Sebastián Piñera early. They want to advance the general elections seven months, from Nov. 21, 2021 to Apr. 11, 2021, when Chile votes on local and regional representatives, and on those who will write the new Constitution. They say they want to do this due to “the delegitimization of the government.”

According to BioBio, representatives from the Communist Party to the Socialist Party support the bill. The idea behind the bill originated after the victory of Apruebo at the referendum on a new Constitution on Oct. 25. “The citizens are fed up with the president and with Congress, and I believe that the president has not had the capacity to lead this process …. The government is delegitimized,” Mulet said at the presentation of the bill.

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“The results of the plebiscite express a deep distrust from citizens in their political institutions, in particular, in the president of the Republic,” the bill reads according to Biobio. “Together with the adoption of a new Political Constitution for our country, it is necessary to restore citizen trust by replacing political actors, in accordance with the will expressed by citizens in the plebiscite.” The way the government handled the pandemic, the economic crisis, and the social uprising also shows the lack of leadership needed in current times, the bill says.

The bill seeks a constitutional reform, as under the current Constitution no article exists that can call for early elections. Under the current Constitution, the Senate can only force a president to resign if a president is not able to rule because of mental or physical conditions. Without a constitutional reform, early elections would be impossible. In the bill, the representatives propose a “great democratic agreement … to legitimize the democratic system.”

Confronted with the bill, Piñera responded stating that “in democracy you have to know how to respect … the rules of the game of the Republic. In 2017, Chileans democratically elected a president and a Congress for a period of four years,” he said. “Next year, we Chileans will have the opportunity to elect a new president and a new Congress, and therefore I ask everyone (to) respect our democracy.

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