Thirteen regions of the country go to the polls this weekend for the second round of regional governors. Election day is marked by an escalating pandemic, although authorities have stressed the message that the vote is safe, and the unknown about turnout.
From the Electoral Service, the slogan is only one: “Predicting the turnout for this Sunday is very difficult because of the pandemic situation, but we want to emphasize that the polling places have an extremely low risk of contagion,” servel president Raul Garcia said this morning on Radio Cooperativa.
In the body in charge of the process, they have focused on calling on voters to vote, under the premise that “Sunday’s elections will be held with the same health standards as last elections and that they help mitigate possible contagions.”
The turnout to vote has very low risks, said Raul Garcia, given that the premises “are very open and very ventilated places, where there is a functioning of tables that extends from 8:00 to 18:00 hours (…) While one might think that having decreed quarantine there is a situation of greater probability of contagion, that is not the case in the polling places,” he insisted.
What servel does focus on is the fluidity of the process. “On Sunday we are going to have a simpler election than may. Each voter will face only one ballot, so it is estimated that 100% results are estimated for 8-9 p.m.,” Garcia added.
Doubts about participation
In the previous election, 6,468,750 people voted for governors, including Valparaíso, Aysén and Magallanes, the 3 regions where the elections were resolved in the first round.
But the forecasts are now more pessimistic. “It is assumed that we should have a participation below” 43% of the megaelections, and the specter of a structural abstentionism reappears, “said this week the director of Political Science and Public Administration of the Central University, Marco Moreno, in El Mostrador in La Clave.
In terms of participation, the expectations of other experts are also down. “We all expect the turnout to be lower than on 15-16 May (…) inevitably it will go down because it is a second-order election in relation to the conventional one,” Mauricio Morales, a political scientist at the University of Talca, told Radio Universo.
“We know that young people participated more in the plebiscite than in the 2017 election and that they were subtracted from participating in the last elections and now the same could happen,” he added.
After the declaration of total quarantine in the Metropolitan Region, Deputy Tomas Fuentes brought up another element, and maintained that “it is clear that with this measure we will have the election with the lowest participation in the history of Chile.”
However, the government also called for calm. Minister Spokesman Jaime Bellolio lowered the profile of these apprehensions, and emphasized that “voting is safe, all measures are in place to ensure that there is a high turnout.”
Regarding the elections in the RM, Bellolio insisted that 10 communes in the region were already in phase 2 and therefore were in weekend quarantine, and “therefore there is no substantive modification” to what will happen this Sunday.
In the Servel prefer not to marry any figures. “With regard to participation, the election of governors is a new election, we have no previous experience and we have no precedent that would allow us to make a projection of participation and that would be elucidate,” the president of the Servel Board of Directors, Andres Tagle, said during the week.
Tagle chose to focus on the safety of the process. “There are several elections that have been held under pandemic and have had good turnout, the plebiscite was record, the vote in May was good and the health protocol procedure gives guarantees for everyone. In addition, in this case it is a very fast election we are talking about a single vote with two options so the person should take less than a minute in the chamber of secrets to mark their preference,” Tagle said.
In practical terms, the same members who served in the recently passed elections must present themselves and for these elections it was decided that the tables can be constituted with only two members.
Regions going to the polls
This Sunday, registerelections will be held in the following regions of the country. These are the candidates and in the first round these were the results.
Arica and Parinacota: Enrique Lee Flores (31.52%) of Chile Vamos and Jorge Díaz Ibarra (27,25) DC Unidad Constituyente.
Tarapacá: José Carvajal of the Frente Amplio Comunes (28.56%) and Marco Antonio Barra of Unidad Constituyente (25.53%).
Antofagasta: Marco Antonio Díaz of Chile Vamos-RN (21.58%) and Ricardo Díaz Cortés, independent Constituent Unit (39%)
Atacama: Carlo Pezo (30.19%) independent Constituent Unit and Miguel Vargas (23.71%) independent.
Coquimbo: Marco Antonio Sulantay (26.06%) from Chile Vamos UDI and Krist Naranjo (27.34%) belonging to the list of Ecologists and Independents.
Metropolitan: Claudio Orrego (25.45%) of Constituent Unit- DC and Karina Oliva (23.35%) of the Broad Common Front.
O’Higgins: Eduardo Cornejo (22.22%) from Chile Vamos-UDI and Pablo Silva (24.29%) PS -Constituent Unity.
Maule: Cristina Bravo (28.30%) DC-Unidad Constituyente and Francisco Pulgar (23.93%) who is independent.
Ñuble: Jezer Sepúlveda (27.04%) Chile Vamos-UDI and Óscar Crisóstomo (31.23%) PS-Constituent Unity
Biobío: Flor Weisse (19.37%) UDI-Chile Vamos and Rodrigo Díaz (27.50%) independent ex DC.
Araucanía: Luciano Rivas (19.96%) from Chile Vamos and Eugenio Tuma (30.29%) PPD-Constituent Unity.
Los Ríos: María José Gatica (36.84%) RN-Chile Vamos and Luis Cuvertino (32.53%) PS-Constituent Unity.
Los Lagos: Ricardo Kuschel (25.77%) RN-Chile Vamos and Patricio Vallespín (36.43%) DC-Constituent Unity.