Chile’s far-right won a landslide victory this week in elections for councilors who will try to draft a constitution to replace the text abandoned by Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. The far-right Republican Party, traditional conservative parties and the right-wing People’s Party combined won 62% of the vote, 99% counted, securing more than 30 council seats in 50 contested sessions, over the established threshold. shall meet with its own quorum.
The largest victory, with 35.4% of the vote, corresponded to the Republican Party led by José Antonio Casti, the presidential candidate who was defeated in the election. vote Against the current left-wing president, Gabriel Borich, in December 2021. Given that the caste agenda rested on police brutality, Mapuche repression and social protest and anti-immigration rhetoric, the voices of the ruling left made public their prevention that the categorical victory of the right-wing bloc – such as it actually happened – ends up introducing an aspect to the constitution that is even more retrograde, than the 1980 text published by Pinochet (1973-1990), but lacking much more. Open aspects of non-democratic concrete parliamentary reforms under Concertación (center-left) governments.
Chile’s Seguro Front, made up of two traditional right-wing formations that emerged from Pinochetism, Unión Democrata Independiente (UDI) and Renovación Nacional (RN), and the liberal Evolución Política (Evopol), garnered 21.1% of the vote. An acceptable result for their ambitions, while the People’s Party, 2021 presidential candidate Franco Parisi, preaching against traditional politics, gave a note in the conservative-liberal segment below expectations, with a meager 5.5% and no. elected councillors.
In the left-wing bloc, Unity for Chile, an alliance that unites the governing parties Democratic Revolution, Social Convergence (Borich), Communist, Humanist, Liberal, other formations that arose from the protests of recent years and the traditional socialist (PS). , reached 28.5%. It wasn’t a collapse, but compared to the progress of the Republican Party, the result left Borich with an unpleasant taste.
Aware of defeat, the president, before midnight on Sunday, called “not to increase differences, but to find common ground.”
The dissolution of the Christian-Democratic, Radical and Democracy parties, members of the historic coalition for democracy with the PS, which was the way out of Pinochetism, was ratified. All for Chile, the acronym that united the top three, barely received 8.9% of the vote, and none of them individually exceeded 4%.
The predictions for the allocation of seats in the Constituent Council gave 22 to the Republican Party, 11 to Todo por Chile (Traditional Right) and 17 to the ruling Front Unity for Chile. According to the radio cooperative, the other forces will not be represented.
Borich was in defense
The result reinforces the shift of the Chilean electorate to the right and exacerbates Borich’s weakness, a situation that further reduces his ability to implement a leftist reform agenda. The president set ambitious goals for wealth redistribution, which included an end to or deep reform of one of Pinochetism’s crown jewels, the private AFP pension system, which provides meager incomes or outright benefits to most elderly Chileans. Boric has also proposed substantial changes to the health and tax systems, which, with only 14 months in La Moneda, are unlikely.
Successive electoral and political missteps by the ruling front have bracketed Borich’s goals, while the focus of debate has shifted in recent months to demands for tougher penalties and procedures against crime and far more restrictive immigration policies after Chile took in some 500,000 Venezuelans. the last five years. In his speech, Borich acknowledged that the pre-election campaign to reform the constitution was “undoubtedly marked by the security crisis and the migration crisis, which deeply affected the minds of our compatriots.” From a defensive point of view, the president emphasized in his message that the repatriation flight of the Venezuelans departed from the city of Arica (North) over the weekend.
Caste has been ratified as the main challenger and is shaping up for the 2025 presidential election. He is a politician who came from the ranks of the UDI, the most orthodox Pinochetism, but in recent years he has led the far-right Trumpist wave. It is an anti-systemic influence that they are also raising Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Javier Millais in Argentina.
The added 62% between the Republican Party and other segments of the right matched the percentage rejecting the constitutional text in the September 4, 2022 referendum, which would have been a heavy blow to Borić.
In a message last night that tried not to sound defeated, the president tried to avoid the outcome as best he could. “When the pendulum of history swings for a short time, continuously, it is always the most vulnerable people who suffer from the rivalry between the elites,” he said.
“I call on the state parties to unite,” the 37-year-old president added. Borich admitted that in the previous constituent process, “we didn’t know how to listen to each other among those who thought differently,” and called on the Republican Party “not to make the same mistake.” This process cannot vendettas, But he will put Chile and its people first,” he said.
“The reasons for the discomfort that manifested in the social explosion of 2019 still exist,” the president warned. He mentioned “stopping inequality” as the main challenge.
The election of founding councilors in May 2021 backfired this week. Unconventional left forces won a large majority and the right had no chance to block the text by falling below two-fifths of the body. After months of debate, the proposed reform, with 388 articles and 54 transitional measures that included new advanced rights, the elimination of the Senate and the definition of Chile as a “plurinational state,” was roundly rejected in elections last September.
In this case, the reform project is less ambitious on paper. Last March, the Senate and Chamber of Deputies appointed 24 experts to prepare a draft that would not change the fundamentals of the institutional framework. The 50 advisers elected yesterday will work on a text from experts, and then another committee of 14 lawyers will review the outcome without changing the original parliamentary agreement. Finally, on December 17, Chileans will have to vote again to make their verdict.
In any case, surprises should not be excluded. A symptom that voting swings in Chile may be close came this week with 17% absent and 4.5% blank, out of 12.4 million voters, out of 14.8 million eligible citizens. In this case, voting was mandatory.
The last years of Chilean politics have been tumultuous. After a decade of massive protests led mainly by students, in October 2019 the country experienced what was perhaps the largest mobilization in its history, a stage known as “Chile Awakening”. Huge demonstrations and clashes with police that lasted for weeks accelerated a cycle that seemed to shake the foundations of the democratic system in place since 1990. The president at the time, Sebastian Pinera (National Renewal, Conservative), was clearly overwhelmed. The repressions, which resulted in dozens of deaths and eye injuries of up to 300 people, drew criticism from international human rights organizations.
Chile Desperto was followed by a plebiscite on the need for reforms, the election of constituent councilors in a historic triumph for unconventional left-wing parties, and the inauguration of Borich as president in December 2021.
A little more than a year later, the renewed spirit that fueled the student leader’s victory appears to have faded.
Source: El Diario