And the Winner is…

image from

Many Chileans exercised their right to vote for the first time in Sunday’s presidential election thanks to a revamped voting system that came into effect last year.

Hold your horses, though.  That doesn’t mean we have a new president yet.  This is Chile we’re talking about… these things take time.  Anyhow…

Here are some of the changes implemented in this year’s election:

  • Voting is no longer mandatory: Before 2012, if you chose to sign up to vote, you were obligated to vote for the rest of your life.  If you didn’t vote, you were fined between 18,500 and 120,000 Chilean pesos (37.00 – 240.00 USD).
  • Inscription is automatic: If you are a Chilean citizen, you can vote as soon as you turn 18.  Just enter your identification number at the Servicio Electoral page, and they’ll tell you where you’re registered to vote.  For those of us who are foreigners, five years of residence is sufficient to have your vote counted in these direct elections.
  • Men and women can now vote in the same place: Elections take place in schools and other public buildings, and each voter has a designated place to vote.  But previously, women and men had different designated voting centers.
  • Presidential elections now happen on the third Sunday of November, whereas before they occurred on the Sunday closest to December 11.  This allows a little more time for the second round of voting before the new president is sworn in to office.  And since Chile requires an absolute majority, meaning that the winning candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, a second round is usually pretty likely.

The Results

Pie Chart Chilean Presidential Elections 2013

With about 46 percent of the vote, Michelle Bachelet pulled ahead of the other candidates.  Bachelet is running for her second term and representing the Nueva Mayoría (check out point number 5 in this post).  Presidents cannot serve consecutive terms, which is why Bachelet is running for her second term now, four years after her first term ended.

Behind her was Evelyn Matthei, economist and experienced politician.  Matthei is representing the Alianza, a rightist coalition that incorporates the Independent Democratic Union and the National Renewal party, with 25 percent of the vote.

Chile has a multiparty state, but it is mostly split between two huge coalitions: the left versus the right, represented by the candidates above.  There were seven other candidates running for the presidency, as you can see in the charts, but the coalitions, as usual, took the bulk of the votes.

Chilean Presidential Election 2013 Results

We’ll see what happens after the next round on December 15.  In the meantime, I’m interested in what y’all think about this type of multiparty system?  What are its benefits?  What are its shortcomings?


2 thoughts on “And the Winner is…

  1. This is the same effect (though magnified) in the US system when a third party candidate runs for office. Their typically not exactly centrists and have more leanings either left (Ralph Nadar) or right (Ross Perot) than actually being a third party choice.

    I actually think it’s quite telling that Batchelet received such a large vote total as I’m sure some of the more leftist candidates pulled some of her votes on November 17th. However, with a run off election in December we will see how the votes of the other eliminated candidates fall.

    I was most surprised to learn that there was an actual “penalty” in the past when a Chilean didn’t vote. I have an office mate choose to not do so this year for the first time. It’s ironic that at times in the US some politicians try to suppress the votes of some citizens and Chile seemed to have tried to force the vote of citizens in the past. This is such and interesting Spiral Dynamic paradigm shift for Chile. I think there are some very interesting times ahead for both Americas. ;)

    • Yes, the things that are mandatory here in Chile have surprised me at times… there’s also a fine if you don’t have a flag flying at your house on September 18!

      Thanks for commenting :)

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