Chile: who could be Michelle Bachelet's successor?

Polls have shown that the coming presidential elections might be a close call between Piñera and Guillier 

Chile: who could be Michelle Bachelet's successor?

On Sunday November 19, the presidential elections will be held in Chile, in addition to the regional parliamentarians and councilors, thus debuting the new proportional electoral system that "replaces the Binominal Electoral System with one of an inclusive proportional nature and strengthens the representativeness of the National Congress". There is a total of 8 candidates, 6 of them left center, that will face to govern Chile as of March 11, 2018.

New proportional and inclusive system

Among the most important features of this new way of voting is: the increase in the number of deputies and decrease of 60 to 28 districts where they act. Similarly in the Upper House where they go from 32 to 50. In Chile, the vote is automatic and voluntary. It should be noted that to win in the first round, this Sunday one of the candidates for the presidency must have 50% of the vote.

Among the reforms carried out by President Michelle Bachelet are: the education of a progressive system of free higher education, the approval of same sex civil union and, the most controversial, abortion in 3 causes.

Michelle Bachelet will deliver on March 11 a country with a stable economy and rising, largely due to the rise in copper.

The candidates

Sebastián Piñera: the 67 year old former president (2010-2014) who, according to opinion polls, ranks first. The right-wing candidate seeks to "transform Chile in eight years in a developed country". Piñera has a net worth of 2,700 million dollars, according to Forbes magazine.

Alejandro Guillier: (64 years old) follows Piñera in the official polls. The journalist is running independently from the political parties and has never been in politics. He is known for debate programs and is currently the one who, they say, would face Piñera in a second round. His political speech has not been controversial, he has preferred to stay outside of the controversy, unlike Piñera, and his goal is to defend the reforms of the current government, the center left and the New Majority.

Beatriz Sánchez: (48) he is a journalist from Frente Amplio, and is currently the 3rd favorite amongst the candidates.

Marco Enríquez - Ominami: (45) he is a candidate of the Progressive party, also a leftist, and this is his third time running for presidency, currently favored by 6% of the population. After him is Carolina Goic center-left Christian Democrat, who is currently preferred by 3%, Alejandro Navarro of the country party, and finally Eduardo Artés, member of the Union Patriotic Party.

A one of a kind and controversial case

The lawyer José Antonio Kast (51) is a very conservative rightist and he has made declarations like: "If Pinochet were alive, he would vote for me". In addition he has been very critical of the abortion law approved a few months ago, besides being against migration and, among other controversies, favorable to the pardon of the repressors of the dictatorship, Kast is presented as a representative of the most privileged Chilean sector and of the conservatives.

Will Chileans abroad vote?

The primaries held a couple of months ago did not encourage Chileans abroad to vote: there was a significant abstention of voters, 60% did not participate.

According to official figures from the Foreign Ministry, almost 40 thousand people are authorized to vote outside of Chile. But, unlike what happens in Chile, the registration outside is not automatic, if not absolutely voluntary. The Frente Amplio (Broad Front) is a new force composed of energetic university sectors, with leaders who go out to the streets to protest, but who have not achieved enough support. A few days before the presidential elections, the vote abroad will be a new figure that is impossible to predict.

 

Latin American Post | Daniella Páez Otey

Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda

 

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