Chile gears up for presidential elections

With Primaries out of the way, the Latin American country takes a step toward choosing its next president on November 19th

Chile gears up for presidential elections

Two of the country’s main coalitions, the center-right ‘Chile Vamos' and the left-leaning ‘Frente Amplio”, held primaries to choose their candidate for the 2017 presidential election. There were no big surprises in the outcome of either primary. El Mercurio reported that former president (2010-2014) and current presidential candidate Sebastián Piñera took the top place in the ‘Chile Vamos’ race with 58.4 percent of the vote, handily defeating right-wing populist Manuel José Ossandón (26.2 percent) and engineer Felipe Kast (15.4 percent). El Mercurio also noted Beatriz Sánchez sealed her place on the ballot to represent the ‘Frente Amplio’ coalition in the presidential election after defeating sociologist Alberto Mayol with 67.6 percent of the vote.

The two winners of Chile’s primaries will join the ranks of other presidential candidates already slated to participate in the November elections and attempt to win the honor to lead Chile for a four-year term from 2018 to 2022. The Christian Democratic Party (CDP) opted out of primaries this year, but will be represented by Senator Carolina Goic. Chilean President Michele Bachelet’s coalition, ‘Nueva Mayoría’, also chose not to run primaries this year and have instead selected journalist Alejandro Guillier to represent the center-left bloc in November. Several other candidates will also take part in this year’s election but are currently polling at 2 percent or below.

The latest Adimark poll has shown Piñera to be in the lead with 34 percent of voters citing their preference for him to return to office as president of Chile. In the same survey, Guillier and Sánchez received 16 and 15 percent, respectively, while CDP candidate Carolina Goic had just 5 percent of respondents’ preference. The poll also signaled that 22 percent of voters remain uncertain on who they would like to see in office next year. If no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote in November, a run-off will be held between the top two candidates in December to determine the winner.

According to Radio BioBio, Chile’s National Election Service (Servel) announced 14.3 million citizens in Chile will be eligible to vote in November and revealed an additional 39,129 Chileans living abroad would be allowed to cast ballots.


Latin American Post | Eric Smoley

Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda


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