Chile 2009

Chile voted yesterday to elect its new President, renew the entirety of the Chamber of Deputies and 18 out of 38 Senators. The results were tallied very quickly, so I’m able to post the results:

No major surprises in the race for President, where the centre-right candidate Sebastián Piñera is far ahead of former centre-left President Eduardo Frei and the centre-left Independent Marco Enríquez-Ominami. Piñera faces Frei in a runoff in which he is the early favourite.

Sebastián Piñera (RN-CC) 44.05%
Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle (PDC-CPD) 29.60%
Marco Enríquez-Ominami (Ind) 20.13%
Jorge Arrate (PC-JPM) 6.21%

Piñera’s strong showing is not unexpected, and with nearly 45% he goes into the runoff with a non-negligible advantage over Frei. He only needs around 6% more votes, and he wins, while Frei would need the support of the quasi-entirety of Marco and Arrate’s voters to win.  The right’s strong showing shows a definite swing to the right, but the left or Concertación isn’t worth only Frei’s votes, as there has been a split in the left’s votes between Marco and Frei. One of the results of this split is that Piñera came out on top in all regions – in some, such as the traditional left-leaning regions of the Atacama in northern Chile (the 30% regions), it’s the result of the split on the left.

While Piñera goes into the runoff with a definite advantage, it would be foolish and premature for the right to start the celebrations, given that there’s over a month of campaigning left (though some falls during Christmas/New Year’s, where nobody cares for politics) and that Frei’s ability to capture a lot of Marco voters hasn’t been tested yet. However, I’m still predicting a Piñera victory in the end, though the margin between him and Frei will be much smaller than it was yesterday.

If Piñera is elected President, he will face a tougher time in Congress, where the right and left are roughly tied.

The results of the lower house elections. As a reminder, the CPD has won 65 seats in 2005 against 54 for the right and one regional-independent, now a member of the heterogeneous Chile Limpio Vote Feliz, which includes the centrist/centre-right Regionalist Party of Independents and the hard-left Broad Social Movement (MAS).

Concertación and Juntos Podemos 44.36% winning 57 seats
Coalition for Change 43.44% winning 58 seats
Chile Limpio Vote Feliz 5.40% winning 3 seats
New Majority for Chile 4.56% winning 0 seats
Independents 2.21% winning 2 seats

Within coalitions, the PDC remains the largest party of the CPD with 19 seats (-1) followed by the centrist PPD with 18 seats (-3), the Socialists with 11 seats (-4), the Radicals with 5 seats (-2) and CPD-Independents with 1 seat (-1). The Communists, affiliated with the CPD, has won 3 seats. On the right, the UDI is the largest group with 36 seats (+3) while Piñera’s RN has 19 seats (+1). There are 3 right-Independents, up 1 from 2005. The 3 members of the Chile Limpio etc outfit are members of the Regionalist Party of Independents, some of whose parliamentarians have in the past aligned with the right and will likely do so this time again.

In the Senate, where the right held 17 seats at dissolution against 18 for the left and 3 Independents, here are the results overall to begin with:

Coalition for Change 45.07% winning 9 seats > total 16 seats
Concertación and Juntos Podemos 43.37% winning 9 seats > total 19 seats
Chile Limpio Vote Feliz 6.40% winning 0 seats > total 0 seats
New Majority for Chile 4.91% winning 0 seats > total 0 seats
Independents 0.24% winning 0 seats > total 3 seats

Some of the most notable results:

In the 6th constituency, where UDI leader Joaquín Lavín was running for Senate against Ricardo Lagos Weber (PPD) and his ‘running mate’ Francisco Chahuán (RN); the results are quite interesting. While Lagos got in fine with 33.18% of the vote (with the left’s second candidate, a Christian Dem, winning only 6.02%), the tough race was on the divided right. In the end, Chahuán won 28.21% against Lavín’s 27.85% giving Chahuán the final seat. This is probably a local rejection of Lavín’s carpetbagging to the region.

In the 5th constituency, where the adoptive father of Marco was running for re-election as an Independent (New Majority coalition), he was surprisingly defeated by a large margin. He comes in fifth, with 16.74%, behind the right’s Lily Pérez (RN) and Ignacio Walker of the PDC who surprisingly got the Concertación in.

In the 3rd constituency, the notable result is the predictable election of Salvador Allende’s daughter, Isabel Allende (PS), who was previously a deputy. She won 26.79%, but the RN’s candidate came first with around 33% of the vote.

Overall, the right will have some troubles in the Senate but the support of the PRI in the Chamber should provide the right with a theoretical majority, but in the Senate, the left controls exactly 50% of the seats. More analysis and possibly maps should be posted, depending on time and other elections.

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Posted on December 15, 2009, in Chile. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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