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Author Topic: Chilean Municipal Elections, October 2012.  (Read 3312 times)
Velasco
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« on: November 01, 2012, 07:38:57 pm »
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Municipal elections (mayors and councillors) were held in Chile last Sunday (October 28). The outcome was an unexpected success for the oposition and a setback for the ruling right-wing coalition. The parties previously in the Concertación (Concert of Parties for the Democracy) ran in two separated lists but there was a sort of "omission pact" and only in very few places competed against each other. Turnout was very low (around 45%) and by the first time voters were registered automatically and suffrage was voluntary. Previously registration was voluntary and suffrage compulsory.

Brief summary of results for the mayoral elections.

Coalición: The same Coalition for Change that won the last Presidential election. The main parties are UDI (Independent Democratic Union) and RN (National Renewal, the party of the incumbent Sebastián Piñera) alongside with several independent candidates. It got 37.5% of the vote and 121 mayors.
Concertación Democrática: For this election a coalition between the Christian Democrat (PDC) and Socialist (PS) parties. 29.4% of the vote and 106 mayors.
Por un Chile Justo (For a Fair Chile): this coalition includes the socialdemocrat PPD (Party for the Democracy), the social liberal PRSD (Radical Party), the Communist Party of Chile (PCC) and the Christian Left (IC).The two first parties were members of the Concertación while the Communists and the Christian Left (a group splitted from DC in 1971 and member of the Allende's Popular Unity) were in Juntos Podemos Más, a leftist coalition that got 6% of the vote in the last Presidential. The list got 13.7% of the vote and 62 mayors.
El Cambio Por Tí (Change for You): This coalition gathers the Ominami's Progressive Party (PRO), the Green Ecologist Party (PEV) and other small groups and independents. Marco Enríquez-Ominami was a former PS militant who led an independent candidature an was the great surprise in the 2010 Presidential, he came third gathering 20% of the vote in the 1st Round. This list got 3% of the vote and won 7 mayoralties.
Regionalistas e Independientes: Independent Regionalist Party (PRI, centrist) and independents. 2.4% of the vote and 5 mayors.
Mas Humanos: Coalition between the left-wing Broad Social Movement (MAS), founded by the former PS Senator Alejandro Navarro, and the Humanist Party (PH). 1.6% of the vote and 3 elected mayors.
Independientes fuera de pacto: Independent candidates without adscription got 11% of the vote and won 40 mayoralties nation-wide.
Por el Desarrollo del Norte: Northern regionalists. 0.6% of the vote and the mayoralty of Iquique.

The Coalition for Chage lost important municipalities (comunas) such as Santiago de Chile and Concepción. The good news for me was the defeat of the Pinochetista Cristián Labbe in the municipality of Remedios (Metropolitan Santiago). I think this election is important because the next Presidential and Parliamentary Elections will be at the end of 2013. In this moment the Chilean government is quite unpopular, perhaps with the sole exception of Laurence Golborne, Minister of Mining. The main headaches for Piñera in recent times were the 2011-2012 student protests and the environmental conflicts around HydroAysén and some projects of thermoelectric power plants. Concertación is not in the best moment but polls favour a return of Michelle Bachelet, however the last point is not confirmed.  If anyone is interested I could go into more details.

EDIT: The map is updated. Now Antarctica and Cabo de Hornos are in the same colour. Click on the right button if you want to see the file in the original size, etc.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2012, 02:16:33 pm by Velasco »Logged
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2012, 08:21:34 pm »
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That map you posted looks like a Jackson Pollock to me. Hard to make out any regional trends as an outsider except for smaller groups winning more in the north it looks like?

A couple random questions:

The Chilean left seems very divided. Why is that? Is it mostly real ideological differences or just personal/factional stuff? And does this hurt them electorally?

What does "Humanist" mean in the Chilean political context? I'm assuming it's not the same as that word is most commonly used in the US ("secular humanism", atheism or non-religion).

The Chilean Antarctic has a mayor? How weird :p
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2012, 08:42:18 pm »
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My questions:

is the Concertacion broken?

will Bachelet run? (if she does, I'm sure the Concertación isn't broken)

Beautiful map, BTW!
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2012, 10:36:52 pm »
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I'm sorry to interrupt, but I think it's quite interesting (and surprising) to see chilean politics discussed here...  While the Coalition for Change did have a serious defeat (mostly because of turnout, otherwise they would have won a few more municipalities), I feel that having the same levels of voting than previous elections (with the key exception of 2008) with the goverment having so low approval ratings is still a good sign for them.

I doubt Bachelet will run (even though she's even more likely to win here in 2013 than Hillary Clinton in 2016), so the field should be quite competitve in the first round (I expect Jocelyn-Holt of ChilePrimero and the independent Franco Parisi to garner a few votes and the PRO to hit double digits again) and the exact opposite of the 2000 election, were the "alternative" candidates couldn't get past 5% together.

On a last note, I will have to disagree about Labbe, even with him being a supporter of Augusto Pinochet he was efficent as a mayor, and that should be the important thing about Municipal Elections.

PS: Magnificent map! I'm not used to see political maps in national politics...
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Velasco
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2012, 09:55:24 am »
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That map you posted looks like a Jackson Pollock to me. Hard to make out any regional trends as an outsider except for smaller groups winning more in the north it looks like?

Thanks to everybody for your appreciations about my Jackson Pollock Number Five Wink Now seriously, that's the problem with municipal elections. There are a lot of independent and regionalist candidatures that may muddle or distort the picture. However I like local election maps because they're colorful and diverse.

We could compare the results of this election with the 2008 Municipals, first at national level and then at regional and local ones.

As for the 2008 results nation-wide, the Alliance for Chile (UDI-RN) got 40.7% of the vote and 144 mayoralties. This time the ruling Coalition for Change lost 3.2% of the vote and 23 mayors.

The then ruling Concertación ran in two lists: Concertación Democrática (PDC-PS) got 28.7% and 101 mayors; Concertación Progresista (PPD-PRSD) 9.7% of the vote and 46 mayors. Together those lists gathered 38.4%, placing behind the Alliance. That result was considered a prelude of Piñera's victory the following year.

The left-wing Juntos Podemos Más (PCC-IC-PH) got 6.3% and won 7 mayoralties. PCC and IC ran in 2012 alongside with PPD and PRSD in Por Un Chile Justo.

A regionalist-green coalition (PRI-PEV) called Por Un Chile Limpio (For a Clean Chile) got 4% of the vote, independents 10.2%, etc.
A couple random questions:

The Chilean left seems very divided. Why is that? Is it mostly real ideological differences or just personal/factional stuff? And does this hurt them electorally?

What does "Humanist" mean in the Chilean political context? I'm assuming it's not the same as that word is most commonly used in the US ("secular humanism", atheism or non-religion).

The Chilean Antarctic has a mayor? How weird :p


I think that the division of the Chilean center-left is due to the great factionalism inside the different parties and also ideological differences play a role. For example, the Christian Democrats use to be reluctant about agreements with the Communist Party. Keep in mind that Concertación was a extremely diverse conglomerate that ruled Chile for 20 years. In that extended period the government ran out of steam, despite Bachelet's huge popularity, and the defeat in last Presidential was quite traumatic. For what I've read PPD and PRSD consider that the previous model of coalition is over and it's quite hard for me to foresee future realignments.

The ideology of the Humanist Party of Chile is leftist. It's member of the international Humanist Movement and of the Foro of Sao Paulo. According to Wikipedia they're Humanists, Pacifists, Ecologists and Libertarian Socialists. The last term is related with social anarchism: no hierarchies, no bureaucracy, no State machinery and no private property. The party was founded in 1984, during the Pinochet's regime.

As for Chilean Antarctica it's a province with two communes: Cabo de Hornos in the southern extreme of Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica. Anyways the Antarctica commune (pop. 130 in 2002) is peculiar because it isn't a municipality itself and there's no mayor. The territory is administratively dependent of Cabo de Hornos municipality. Maybe I'd have to fix the map putting the Antarctica in orange (Cabo de Hornos elected an independent mayor). For curiosity, the result in Antarctica was:  Alonso Carmona (UDI-Coalición) 9 votes; Pamela Tapia (Independent) and José Luis Ricardo Soto (PRI-IND) 7 votes; Luis Alejandro Llaipen (IND) 2 votes and Iván Fernando Almonacid (PRSD) 1 vote.
The independent Pamela Tapia won the mayoralty of Cabo de Hornos with 304 votes in a close contest with the independent regionalist Soto (300 votes).
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Velasco
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2012, 10:24:27 am »
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I'm sorry to interrupt...

You're not interrupting at all. I'd appreciate very much your insights. I'm Spaniard and I'm looking this election from the outside. I'd like to learn more about politics in Chile.

I think that you're right, the Chilean right was defeated but the outcome wasn't catastrophic. On the other hand polls show that Bachelet could win if she decides to run but Laurence Golborne is not too far. I have some doubts about the complex process of primaries inside the different parties/coalitions. Do you think that turnout was more harmful to the government coalition than it was for the oposition? For what the several Chileans that I've met told me, there's a great indifference and dissapointment towards the political system and politicians in general, especially among young people.

As for Labbe, I must concede that voters in Providencia thought in the same way of yours in previous elections. People voted for him regardless of his background. This time he was defeated by an independent candidate, Josefa Errazuriz. It was a contest with only two candidates because Errazuriz was backed by all the oposition parties after being elected in a primary.
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2012, 11:43:50 am »
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I'm sorry to interrupt, but I think it's quite interesting (and surprising) to see chilean politics discussed here...  While the Coalition for Change did have a serious defeat (mostly because of turnout, otherwise they would have won a few more municipalities), I feel that having the same levels of voting than previous elections (with the key exception of 2008) with the goverment having so low approval ratings is still a good sign for them.

I doubt Bachelet will run (even though she's even more likely to win here in 2013 than Hillary Clinton in 2016), so the field should be quite competitve in the first round (I expect Jocelyn-Holt of ChilePrimero and the independent Franco Parisi to garner a few votes and the PRO to hit double digits again) and the exact opposite of the 2000 election, were the "alternative" candidates couldn't get past 5% together.

On a last note, I will have to disagree about Labbe, even with him being a supporter of Augusto Pinochet he was efficent as a mayor, and that should be the important thing about Municipal Elections.

PS: Magnificent map! I'm not used to see political maps in national politics...

Hi, welcome! You're definitely not interrupting. I always like to see more non-American (and especially non-Anglosphere or Western European) voices on the Forum. I hope you keep contributing here.

Thanks to all of you for your information about Chilean politics. I have one more question, if you don't mind (sorry, but there's not all that much english language info on Chilean politics out there). From what you said (and from what wikipedia says) Bachelet was (is?) very popular (wiki says an approval rating in the 80% range when she left office). If she had that much support, why isn't she an overwhelming favorite to win the next election if she runs? Has something changed since she left office? Actually, given those levels of support it kind of surprises me that she didn't carry Frei to victory like Lula and Dilma Rousseff in Brazil. Of course this is me knowing pretty much nothing about Chile, honestly. :p

Also, what a cool coincidence that Google Street View was just released for parts of Chile. I can definitely see the differences between the areas that vote for the right and the left in Santiago, for example.
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2012, 06:46:30 pm »
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I'm sorry to interrupt...

You're not interrupting at all. I'd appreciate very much your insights. I'm Spaniard and I'm looking this election from the outside. I'd like to learn more about politics in Chile.

I think that you're right, the Chilean right was defeated but the outcome wasn't catastrophic. On the other hand polls show that Bachelet could win if she decides to run but Laurence Golborne is not too far. I have some doubts about the complex process of primaries inside the different parties/coalitions. Do you think that turnout was more harmful to the government coalition than it was for the oposition? For what the several Chileans that I've met told me, there's a great indifference and dissapointment towards the political system and politicians in general, especially among young people.

As for Labbe, I must concede that voters in Providencia thought in the same way of yours in previous elections. People voted for him regardless of his background. This time he was defeated by an independent candidate, Josefa Errazuriz. It was a contest with only two candidates because Errazuriz was backed by all the oposition parties after being elected in a primary.

Thank you very much, Velasco, it's fantastic to see interest in a country with weird politics as Chile (let's face it, they are quite unusual...). I think you're right about the turnout damaging the goverment, since the opposition has more motivation to vote for their candidates and ideals (Even though I support the Coalition for Change the opposition is absolutely leading in motivation and ideas right now), a factor which explains the defeat of three leading mayors in Santiago: Labbe (defeated because he couldn't inspire enthusiasm like Errazuriz), Zalaquett (beaten because Toha mas far more charismatic) and Sabat (he lost only because of low turnout).

Thanks for the welcome, drj101! I hope I can be of some help discusing chilean politics (and eventually world politics). My opinion about Eduardo Frei's defeat in 2009 is that everything that could go wrong in the Concertacion went absolutely wrong. A strong candidate splitting the left vote (Ominami, who had the same impact that Piñera and Lavin had in 2005 dividing the right), an unpopular candidate (people generally think he was ineffective during the asian crisis of 1997 and that he gave free land to Argentina), an effective campaign by Piñera and the Coalition, bad municipal results in 2008 and a disorganized campaign effort by Frei himself. In a certain way, Piñera was incredibly lucky in that election... (Hope that answers your question!)
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Velasco
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« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2012, 04:33:34 am »
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Carolina Tohá stated that her victory was a triumph of Bacheletismo, isn't it?. In the case that she won't finally run for the Presidence, and it seems that you consider that this is the most probable scenary, do you think that other candidate could be able of unite the opposition behind him/her? 
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« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2012, 06:19:34 am »
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I know this is ridiculous, but until I saw this map I really rather liked Las Condes. :p
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« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2012, 10:56:19 am »
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Carolina Tohá stated that her victory was a triumph of Bacheletismo, isn't it?. In the case that she won't finally run for the Presidence, and it seems that you consider that this is the most probable scenary, do you think that other candidate could be able of unite the opposition behind him/her? 

Well, while I think it's impossible to have just one opposition candidate in the first round, I can think of three candidates who can unite the opposition very easily (the rest of them also can, it will just take more time for them): Mayor Toha is the first option, ex-minister, charismatic, now a victor and very experienced with presidential politics (she managed Frei's campaign during the second round, and avoided some mistakes of the first). Next we have Andres Velasco, Bachelet's minister of finance, popular, independent (He's the Golborne of the Concertacion) and efficent. Mayor Claudio Orrego is young, charismatic and a successful mayor (plus he's from the Christian Democratic Party and more of a centrist), but he doesn't have support from the establishment.

I left Ominami out because I don't think he will get as many votes as 2009 (at least not enough votes to get to the second round, just like Senator Alejandro Navarro), and the rest of the Concertacion candidates are either wild cards (Senators Ignacio Walker and Jose Antonio Gomez), underdogs (Senator Ximena Rincon) or not really popular (Senator Girardi).

Anyway, the field is starting to look so crowded that any predictions won't have any credibility until March-April of 2013, when most candidatures to Primaries or First Round will be ready to go. The only things I would like to see are Bachelet not running (just to have a really exciting and unexpected race), strong independent candidates and a credible candidate from the Coalition for Change. If those things happen, excitement might be able to restore turnout...
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Velasco
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« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2012, 05:25:14 am »
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Also, what a cool coincidence that Google Street View was just released for parts of Chile. I can definitely see the differences between the areas that vote for the right and the left in Santiago, for example.

I think that it's possible to make some easy correlations between this map from Wikipedia and the election results. Map below shows the Human Development Index by commune in Santiago de Chile. The dark green areas are the most developed, especially Las Condes, Vitacura and Providencia in the NE of the city, with HDI's above 0.950. The areas in ochre are the poorer, with the lowest record in the commune of Lo Espejo (HDI around 0.600). Santiago itself, where Tohá won the mayoralty to Pablo Zalaquett, is in the center-north, in the upper-middle HDI's levels. In the SE is Puente Alto, in light green, where the Coalition for Change won. The municipality of Peñaloén, ruled by the Christian Democrat Claudio Orrego is in the East too, south of Las Condes.

Carlos Larrain, who is senator and President of National Renewal, was of mayor of Las Condes between 1999 and 2006. He's not exactly my cup of tea, and that's not only because I feel certain sympathy towards Bachelet.




Anyway, the field is starting to look so crowded that any predictions won't have any credibility until March-April of 2013, when most candidatures to Primaries or First Round will be ready to go. The only things I would like to see are Bachelet not running (just to have a really exciting and unexpected race), strong independent candidates and a credible candidate from the Coalition for Change. If those things happen, excitement might be able to restore turnout...

It seems that the stronger pre-candidates in the Coalition for Change are Laurence Golborne (Ind.) now minister of Public Works (previously he had the Mining and Energy posts), the Minister of Defence Andrés Allamand (RN), the minister of Economy Pablo Longueira (UDI) and the minister of Labor Evelyn Matthei (UDI). From those or other unmentioned candidates, whose are the more credible?


« Last Edit: November 14, 2012, 01:17:40 am by Velasco »Logged
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« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2012, 09:37:47 pm »
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I spent the vast majority of my time (now about 2.5 months total) within the downtown area through to Providencia, but I did see a bit of the rest of Santiago, and it really is very close to being a first-world city. Certainly the northeast of the city is very developed, but I was particularly aware of the income disparity when I was there.

The metro system is also absolutely awesome, and I'm jealous of it. I rode most of the lines to the end to sort of gaze upon the city, and generally the only area I properly disliked was the west around San Pablo.
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« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2012, 08:04:13 am »
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Sorry for the delay in answering, the Coalition for Change candidates could be counted as only two right now: Golborne and Allamand. Matthei doesn't seem to want the job (even if she was a candidate in 1993 and she had to withdraw her candidacy due to a scandal involving the actual President), and Longueira is one of the most unpopular politicians en Chile (mostly due to close links with the deceased Senator Jaime Guzman, the most influential right-wing politician of the Pinochet years).

Joaquin Lavin (ex-mayor, presidential candidate in 1999-2000, 2005, failed senatorial candidate, former minister of education and actual minister of mideplan) lost his remaning popularity with the protests of 2011, so we can count him out. Ironically, Lavin, Longueira, Allamand and Matthei have been with the Alliance/Coalition since the 1980', so Golborne is the real outsider.

If anything, Allamand has more establishment backing (the apparent support of the President and of National Renewal), pretty good ties to the right-wing businessmen, relative popularity and experience, while Golborne is more popular, anti-establishment and more likely lo get the support of the UDI and the independents. In a primary Golborne would destroy Allamand, but in a party convention Allamand might pull it out.

I expect the field to look pretty much like this:

First Round:

Concertacion:
-Ex-President Michelle Bachelet (45-55%)
-Mayor Carolina Toha/Mayor Claudio Orrego (40-45%)
-Other candidates (35-45%)

Coalition:
-Minister Andres Allamand (20-30%)
-Minister Laurence Golborne (25-35%)

Independent:

-Businessman Franco Parisi (5-15%) - Parisi reminds me of Francisco Javier Errazuriz, a fascinating center-right populist businessman (who later got to be a Senator) who got 15% of the vote in 1989.

Independent:
-Activist Marcel Claude (0-2%)

PC/Together we can do more/Humanist/Equality Party:
-Tomas Hirsch?/Jorge Arrate?/Guillermo Teiller? (2-5%)

Chile Primero:
-Ex-Deputy Tomás Jocelyn-Holt (0-2%)

PRO:
-Ex-Deputy Marco Enriquez-Ominami (5-20%) - He will only stand a chance taking votes from a establishment non-bacheletist Concertacion candidate.

PRI:
-Ambassador Adolfo Zaldivar? (0-4%)

No more than eight candidates, five or six likely.

Second Round:

Concertacion vs Coalition: 55-45% or 65-35%, the first being a generic candidate and a optimistic scenario for the Coalition and the second being Bachelet.
Concertacion vs PRO: 70-30% or 55-45% depending on whom the Coalition supports.
Concertacion vs Parisi: 60-40% or 55-45% should Parisi get lucky.

It's hard to see a Coalition path to victory, but I suppose I can dream a little... However, this presidential election (I believe I'm quite off topic right now) can go three ways:

1989: Strong Concertacion candidate, weak Coalition/Alliance, strong independent (Parisi)
1993: Strong Concertacion candidate, weak Coalition/Alliance, weak alternative candidates.
2013: A whole new election, with strong candidates for Coalition, Concertacion, Independent and PRO.
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« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2012, 08:18:29 am »
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I'm sure that public transportation is far better in Santiago than in Buenos Aires (those crappy trains...). As for income disparity is common in Latin America. Probably Rio de Janeiro or other places in the continent are worse. The point is that Chilean economy went pretty good at macro economic figures in the last years, but the Concertación governments failed in fixing the inequality and also in reforming the education system (see student protests in recent times). That's one of the differences with Brazil, where the PT's governments can show a good record, although the inequality is far away from being solved. I figure out that this could be a reason for dissapointment among the voter base of the center-left in Chile, that showed signals of fatigue in the last years.

There's a list of countries classified by income equality:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_income_inequality

PS: Thank you very much, Lumine.
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Velasco
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« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2012, 01:38:17 am »
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One of the highlights of this election was the tight contest between the socialist Maya Fernández, granddaughter of Salvador Allende, and the incumbent mayor Pedro Sabat (RN) in the commune of Ñuñoa (Santiago de Chile). According to the provisional results (Servel, Chilean Electoral Service), Maya Fernández won the mayoralty with a margin of only 18 votes. Apparently there were problems with the scrutiny in a men's polling station in the National Stadium. Now the Electoral Court has pronounced that Sabat is the winner with a margin of 30 votes. Maya Fernández didn't concede defeat and announced that she will appeal to a higher court, as Sabat did before to the Electoral Court.

Some details about some facts of the life of Maya Fernández in this article:

http://elpais.com/elpais/2012/11/09/inenglish/1352467763_199142.html
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« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2012, 11:25:53 pm »
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Apparently there were problems with the scrutiny in a men's polling station in the National Stadium.

Polling stations are gender segregated?
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« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2012, 02:26:26 am »
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Apparently there are men's and women's ballot boxes. I have no idea why, it must be a Chilean peculiarity.  The fact is that you can consult the results of elections in Chile perfectly segregated by sex, a great thing for sociologists but not sure if good for gender equality.
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« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2012, 02:52:57 am »
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Apparently there are men's and women's ballot boxes. I have no idea why, it must be a Chilean peculiarity.  The fact is that you can consult the results of elections in Chile perfectly segregated by sex, a great thing for sociologists but not sure if good for gender equality.

It was made like that when women got the right to vote in 1949, for the official reason than they would more free to vote if their husband wasn't voting with them.
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