Chileans go to Polls on the Second Day of Elections

On Sunday, May 16, voting process continued on the second day of elections in Chile, after 20% of the registered voters cast their votes on Saturday.

Sunday was the last day of the so-called “mega-elections” in Chile, in which 14.9 million voters were eligible to elect 155 members of the Constitutional Convention that will draft the new Constitution, and also 16 governors, 345 mayors, and 2,252 councilors. 1,278 candidates belonging to more than 70 lists contested for the posts of the Constitutional Convention; 60% of them being independent candidates.

According to international news agencies, the first city to open the polling stations on Sunday was Punta Arenas, due to the time difference in the Magallanes region, located at the southern tip of the South American continent, in the southern part of Patagonia.

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After polling stations closed on Saturday evening, the ballot boxes had been sealed and guarded in the same voting centers by more than 23,000 military personnel and delegates of the Electoral Service (Servel). There were no reports of any type of irregularities apart from some voters complaining about the lack of seals in the ballot boxes.

On Saturday, polling was characterized by the slowness in the process of opening the polling stations, and low voter turnout. The Electoral Service (Servel) of Chile reported that 3,055,352 voters participated on the first day, representing 20.4% of the electorate. Although the turnout increased on Sunday, candidates and members of the voting stations said that the attendance did not reach the levels of the referendum of October 2020.

 

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According to Servel, once the voting centers are closed in the evening, the vote count will begin on Sunday night itself, starting with the posts of the Constitutional Convention, followed by the regional governors and finally mayors and city councilors. While the electoral authority would start publishing the results during the course of the night, the announcement of definitive results may take a week, as four different elections with over 16 thousand candidates have been conducted together, and the entire process of casting ballots and counting votes is manual.

The present electoral process emerged as a consequence of the “social outbreak” of October 2019 against the neoliberal state inherited from the Pinochet dictatorship.

In the Constitutional Convention, 17 seats have been reserved for indigenous people, and 50% of the elected members will be women. This is the first time in 200 years of the republic that representatives elected by popular vote will draft the constitution of the country.

 

 

Featured image: A ballot box with all its seals to protect the vote; however, voters at many polling stations complained about the lack of seals like those in the image above. Photo courtesy of Servel Chile (@servelchile).

(RedRadioVE) by José Manuel Blanco Díaz, with Orinoco Tribune content

Translation: Orinoco Tribune

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