On the eve of the presidential election, Sunday, November 17, the issue in Chile is not who will win, but if the Socialist Michelle Bachelet, heavily favored in the polls, will win or not in the first turn.
The candidate of the New Majority, center left, why should meet more than 50% of the vote, which was not produced in the country since 1993. Polls give him between 47% and 53.5% of the vote, far ahead of its main rival, the candidate of the right, Evelyn Matthei (between 14% to 21%). A total of nine candidates are running.
Chileans are also called to renew the entire House of Representatives and half the Senate. Since 2011, voting is not compulsory registration of 13 million voters on the electoral roll is automatic. In the municipal elections of October 2012, abstention reached 60%.
A enduring popularity
At 62, Michelle Bachelet is seeking a new presidential term. She was the first female head of state in the history of Chile, between 2006 and 2010. Charismatic and warm, his popularity has never been denied, although it has not kept its promises of a “fairer country, without exclusion or discrimination” when she was in power.
The New Majority coalition is the successor of the Consultation, which ruled for twenty years after Chile’s return to democracy in 1990, for the first time, the historic rally of the Communist Party (PC).
For forty years that it did not participate in any government since that of former Socialist President Salvador Allende, overthrown by General Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990). The PC controls the main trade union, the Single Confederation of Workers, and is influential in the student federations.
In an ultraconservative country campaign Michelle Bachelet is characterized by promises that question the legacy of Pinochet : new constitution – to replace the 1980, imposed by the dictatorship – tax reform and the education.
MORALE AMONG CONSERVATIVES
Pediatrician training, divorced and agnostic in a country where the Catholic Church is powerful, the Socialist candidate proposes opening a debate on marriage between persons of the same sex and the decriminalization of abortion.
Where unease among its allies of the Christian Democratic Party (PDC). The conservative party, which supported the 1973 coup, has reluctantly accepted the electoral alliance with the PC.
At 60, Evelyn Matthei is the first woman to run right to the presidency. The right, which historically has nearly 40% of the electorate, is weakened by deep divisions. She suffered a crushing defeat in the 2012 municipal elections.
Energetic woman, claiming the figure of Pinochet, Ms. Matthei harshly criticized his rival : “Our model is Germany’s Angela Merkel and Ms. Bachelet Germany Berlin Wall.”
In the establishment, traditionally right, many businesses hire their concern that proposed by the Socialist candidate reforms “hinder employment and growth.” According to a recent study by the Organization for European Economic Cooperation, the Chilean economy, with growth of 4.2% this year, remains strong.
This duel women illustrates the feminization of Chilean politics while at the same time, a youth wind blowing Santiago. Twenty legislative candidates are less than 35 years.
YOUTH OF ELECTORAL BODY
Among them, Camila Vallejo, 25, and Giorgio Jackson, 26, the iconic faces of the student revolt that shook the country in 2011, but Karol Cariola which, 26, is the new president of the youth organization the Communist Party. More than 32 % of the electorate is composed of young people between 18 and 34 years, a significant rejuvenation compared to 6.5% during the last presidential election in 2010.
For the first time since the return of democracy, voters brought to power the right, with the businessman Sebastian Piñera.
Michelle Bachelet ended his campaign on Thursday with a big party, with thousands of supporters in the Quinta Normal Santiago park. Evelyn Matthei did the same day, more discreetly, in the city of Chillan, 400 kilometers from the capital.