Independents’ victory in Chilean constituency celebrates reformism, sends message to parties – 17/05/2021 – Worldwide

In addition to representing a defeat for the traditional parties and for the administration of President Sebastián Piñera, the election of the new Chilean Constituent Assembly, which was held on Saturday (15) and Sunday (16), marked the rise of independent and left and right. the names of the center-left wing, which should set the tone for the body that will reformulate the country’s Charter.

The harsh setback imposed on right-wing legends was not limited to the composition of the assembly and also extended to disputes over governors, mayors and councilors – even in important places they had dominated for decades. decades. The ruling alliance, which competed on a single list, won only 37 of the 155 seats (24%) in the constituent body. The left, divided into two relations, won a total of 53 seats (34%), while the independents elected 65 deputies (42%).

The performance of the Conservatives will have a direct effect on the wording of the Constitution, because, in order to approve the inclusion of an agenda in the document, the support of two-thirds of the plenary is needed. Thus, the 37 seats obtained in the body do not offer enough strength to, without alliances, stop the proposals they do not want, such as the dilution of the private pension system, the approval of abortion, the gratification of higher education and greater autonomy for indigenous peoples.

“Cross-cutting agendas are winning, which already belong to those who want reforms. And there they meet, regardless of the center and the left, indigenous peoples and even certain sectors of the right. This is why the division between left and right does not work. explain the process so well. The winner of this election is the desire for reform, ”said Folha Macarena Venegas, who ran independently. However, she was not elected.

For social science researcher Octavio Avendaño, of the University of Chile, the approval mechanism through the support of two-thirds of the assembly offers a dynamic of great agreements and negotiations. “Whoever proposes such a process is the one who wants to reform, not the one who wants to block ideas. Although consensus is difficult, it was a victory for the reformists.” Andrés Velazco, of the London School of Economics, corroborates Avendaño’s position, because “those who have gained space are those who have strong convictions in change”.

Drafting of the new charter begins in June and will take up to a year. Then there will be a new plebiscite, during which the population will decide whether or not to approve the reformulation. In the meantime, the country will experience a presidential succession that will choose Sebastián Piñera’s replacement, today with 9% popular approval.

The dissatisfaction with the current Chilean leader determined the poor performance of the parties aligned with the government, since the Piñera administration was marked by the repression of the demonstrations which, among other demands, called for the drafting of a new Constitution. The president is also criticized for fiscal adjustment policies, opposition to retirement withdrawal plans and mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic when the virus arrived in the country. Today, on the other hand, Chile is one of the world leaders in immunization.

Thus, the Vamos Chile coalition lost space in important places, such as Santiago, Maipú, Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. The pre-candidate for the presidency of the Communist Party and current mayor of Recoleta, Daniel Jadue, was re-elected with over 60% of the vote, giving a good start in the November race. Piñera’s rejection also appeared in statements by another leftist candidate, Pamela Jiles of the Humanist Party, who, accompanying her husband in Sunday’s vote, cursed the president.

Although the proposal to draft a new charter was raised during the intense street protests that swept across several cities across the country in October 2019, the street fury was not reflected in this weekend’s election. The low turnout, of 42.5%, lower than the plebiscite which authorized the choice of the composition of the Constituent (50.95%) is perceived by the experts as the difference between the anger of those who ask for changes and the commitment in a formal political process.

Social scientist Claudia Heiss Bendersky, for example, argues that today in Chile “there is no direct association between the street and the ballot box”. “Those who no longer wanted the current state of affairs took to the streets. It doesn’t necessarily mean they wanted to go and vote,” she said. “On the other hand, despite a low turnout, [a votação] it took a lot of information. The votes reflect information, people who read and thought about the candidates, because they were not easy choices to make among so many offers. “

Among the novelties of this election, gender parity, a mechanism instituted to guarantee the participation of men and women in the same proportion, ended up generating a curious effect. Traditionally less voted in other elections, women received in some districts more support, and the electorate had to make 17 results corrections to ensure equality – in 13 of them it was necessary to revoke a candidate elected to put a man, according to data from Servel, the Chilean electoral service.

The same thing happened with regard to the original peoples’ quota of 17 seats, which favored four men. Mapuche leader Adán Cheuquepil called Folha the presence of indigenous peoples in the historic assembly and celebrated the attrition of right-wing parties which “have always denied our rights”.

“We don’t believe that a quota of indigenous people can change anything on its own, but we entered with the determination to use all the spaces possible, thinking of long-term change in our country. We won’t have two-thirds alone to approve anything. . But we will be present and we will be ears. “

At the end of Sunday night, Piñera made a statement. At the Palacio de La Moneda, the president said the country had sent “a clear and strong message to the government and to all traditional political forces”. At that time, already faced with figures which clearly indicated the rejection of his alliances, the Chilean leader admitted that the administration “is not properly listening to the demands and desires of the population”. “Your voice will be heard, because that is what democracy is for.”

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