With 43% of eligible citizens participating, according to the Chilean Electoral Service (Servel), the election turnout was not high, but it was high enough to begin to trace the outlines of a new political map of Chile. Undoubtedly, one of the major issues that mobilized a large part of the turnout was the vote for the constituent members of the Constitutional Convention, the body of citizens that as of June will have the mission of drafting a new Constitution for Chile.
The 155-member body comprises 88 independent candidates, which is to say 64% of the Convention’s total seats are occupied by independents. Moreover, setting aside the 17 seats reserved for indigenous peoples, only 50 of the elected constituents belong to a political party, which is less than one third. This clearly demonstrates the independents’ huge triumph in the latest elections.
An important fact, which perhaps underscores the independents’ great success in this process, is the severe crisis of representation suffered by the political parties. According to the latest CEP survey — published last April 29 — only 2% of Chileans trust any of the coalitions that have governed Chile in recent years (the conglomerates led by Michelle Bachelet and Sebastián Piñera), with all of them being questioned for their inability to introduce new and attractive political figures.
With respect to the elections for the newly created position of Regional Governor, only three candidates managed to win the office outright by securing the required 40% of the votes, with the regions of Valparaíso, Aysén and Magallanes now having an elected authority. The winners of the 13 remaining regions will not be known until June 13, which is the date set for the runoff election. Neither did the municipal elections (mayors and council people) lend themselves to triumphant acts, as the candidates from the political parties, especially those from the right-wing coalition, were heavily defeated. The trend was that generally unknown candidates with strong roots in community activism were able to catapult themselves into power.
Below are some of the key trends and data from the elections.
a) Overall results by ticket
Independents and people new to the world of traditional politics have become the leading group at the Constitutional Convention.
b) Distribution of political forces by seats
The Lista del Pueblo and the Independientes por una Constitución were the big surprise.
c) The vote and seats for the Indigenous Peoples
The new Constitution will also be written by the 17 representatives of Chile’s indigenous groups.
- The independents consolidated their position as the leading power, winning 88 of the 155 seats in the Palacio Pereira when drafting of the new Constitution begins.
- This is the first Constitutional Convention in the world having gender parity.
- The candidates for the 17 seats reserved for representatives of indigenous peoples were markedly linked to the conflict in the Southern Macrozone.
- The first session of the Constitutional Convention will be held in June, though a date has not yet been set.