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CHILE Nov 2013 Expanded electorate votes for president, legislature
Presidents in Chile are banned from running for consecutive terms, so the race won’t see President Sebastian Pinera. Any protégé of

November 1, 2013 - NULL

CHILE Nov 2013 Expanded electorate votes for president, legislature
Presidents in Chile are banned from running for consecutive terms, so the race won't see President Sebastian Pinera. Any protégé of center-right Pinera is likely to find himself facing center-left former president Michelle Bachalet - if she decides to run. Two protégés reported to be considering a run at the top job could benefit from distancing themselves from Pinera, who is flagging in the polls. No one appears ready to speculate on whether a new law that expands the electorate while making voting voluntary in the mainly thriving South American

CHILE Nov 2013 Expanded electorate votes for president, legislature
Presidents in Chile are banned from running for consecutive terms, so the race won't see President Sebastian Pinera. Any protégé of center-right Pinera is likely to find himself facing center-left former president Michelle Bachalet - if she decides to run. Two protégés reported to be considering a run at the top job could benefit from distancing themselves from Pinera, who is flagging in the polls. No one appears ready to speculate on whether a new law that expands the electorate while making voting voluntary in the mainly thriving South American country will influence the results, or whether the law explains the stronger showing of left-leaning parties in the Oct 2012 municipal elections.

Half of the 38 Senate seats in the bicameral National Congress will be up for popular vote and all of the 120 seat Chamber of Deputies. The presidential and legislative terms are four years.

Bachalet, president from 2006-2010, was tortured and exiled during the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, and her father died under torture. She became the country's first woman president after Pinochet was ousted and won admiration for her handling of the country's 2008 financial crisis. She is now the first Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of United Nations Women, a post established in 2010 by the UN General Assembly, and might choose to decline a return to politics.

The Pinera aides are Public Works Minister Laurence Golborne, a businessman; and Defence Minister Andres Allamand, a lawyer.

Reuters notes that the governing conservative Alianza coalition's poor showing in Oct 2012 municipal election could herald a comeback for the leftist Concertacion in the Nov 2013 election. The newswire also reported that voter turnout in Sunday's election, the first in decades when voting was not compulsory, was an unexpectedly low 41 per cent. Reuters attributed the low figure to Chilean disenchantment with politics. The other change in the electoral law automatically enrolled every Chilean of 18 and up, expanding the electorate from some million to 13.4 million, according to other newswire reports.

The handicap for the ruling party lies in income inequality which has barely budged since 1990, according to Reuters, despite a 5 per cent economic growth rate in 2012.

Months of huge street protests for free and improved education, tougher environmental laws and expanded indigenous rights have battered the image of billionaire airline magnate Pinera. (WRITTEN NOV 2012)

RELATED READING:

Chile local polls see low turnout with voting voluntary (BBC 29 Nov 2012)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-20121338

Chile's right suffers in local election, presidency eyed (Reuters 29 Oct 2012)
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/29/us-chile-elections-idUSBRE89S0YO20121029

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Date written/update: 2013-11-01